I mean Peter.
No, I don't mean Peter.
I mean Chip.
My brother's full name is Peter Richards Cannon II. But since Peter means "the rock", my parents always called him Chip. He's a chip off the old rock. The "old rock" being my dad, Peter.
But once he grew up and went on a mission and started real life, he has preferred to go by Peter. And I have been a stinker and still call him Chip. How rude of me. I am beginning to feel ashamed of myself, but not enough to call him Peter yet. Maybe in a few more years.
Bethany and I and the little boys were riding in the car today listening to a children's song about ducks hatching from an incubator in a school classroom. In the song some of the kids got to take the ducks home for the weekend. This jogged my memory about the time Chip got to bring his school pet home with him for the weekend. I tried to tell Bethany the story, but ended up having to call Chipper to get the facts.
Here is the tragic tale of Stinky the Rat.
In about the 3rd grade in Ft. Ord, California (near Monterey), after much waiting, Chip finally got his turn to bring home the classroom pets-- two rats. There was a black rat and a white rat. Stinky was the white rat. I do not recall the name of the black rat and it is not in any way pertinent to this story.
Nor do I know what the inspiration was for the incident that occurred that Friday afternoon when Stinky and his companion arrived at our home. But here's what happened.
Chip and a friend and possibly my other brother Matt-- who I should mention is older than Chip and really should have known better--- decided to let Stinky experience the thrill of flight. They held on to the four corners of a blanket and tossed Stinky into the air and then to catch him with the blanket when he came down, over and over again. Stinky might well have escaped unscathed if not for the throw in which Stinky did not land comfortably in the blanket, but hit the ground with his little furry body instead.
In the wordsof Chip today, "I knew something was wrong and I felt so bad."
Stinky was not dead but he was wounded-- mortally as it turned out. In a panic Chip somehow convinced my mother to take Stinky to the vet. Now you should know that my mother was not a lover of animals in general, much less a lover of small rodents. But I suppose the shame of her son murdering his classroom pet moved her to action.
The prognosis? Stinky had a broken back--or at least ruptured or fractured discs or something. Surgery would be needed.
My mother's shame only moved her so far into action. She was not going to pay hundreds of dollars for Stinky's back surgery. It was time for Stinky to pass on. I don't know how Chip could bear to face his 3rd grade class again. At least it was a school of military children who would all move on within 2 or 3 years so he wouldn't forever be branded "the kid who killed Stinky".
And in fairness to Chip, you should know that during the recent power outages in the D.C. area he has spent a great deal of energy changing the water in his aquariums to keep his fish and stingrays alive. I guess that is a hard thing to do when your filters have no power. So you see, he is an animal lover and I don't believe he has ever really gotten over the loss of Stinky.