Ornery Little Rascal

Midway through my morning walk today, I surprised a raccoon. He was in the act of climbing a fence and froze when he spotted me. We were just a few feet apart, staring each other down. Sensing a perfect photo opportunity, I grabbed my phone, fumbling for the camera in the hopes of capturing the moment for posterity.

raccoon fence

Unfortunately, the above photo is not mine. I’d love to take credit, but I wasn’t quick enough on the draw. Instead, I ended up with this shot.

2338Kinda pales in comparison, but that’s the fleeting nature of existence, right? Fortunately, getting up at 4:30 every morning for a three-mile walk around the neighborhood presents plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters. So long as those encounters do not involve bears, I’m okay. We see rabbits every day. Earlier this week, there was a deer. I hear there are coyotes around. Walk long enough, and you’re bound to be rewarded.

rascalRaccoons, though. When I was eight years old and living in Ohio, my family took up camping. In the evenings when the sun went down and we gathered around the campfire, raccoons would show up as if on cue, passing through our campsite. I quickly developed a fascination for the animals, and when I picked up a copy of Rascal, Sterling North’s memoir about growing up in Wisconsin and the raccoon he adopted as a pet, I decided that I, too, should have a pet raccoon. Oddly enough my parents did not agree, but gave me a stuffed animal, which I named Bandit, for Christmas instead. Which is probably just as well; North eventually had to release Rascal into the woods as the animal grew older and became more ornery. Still, every time I see a raccoon, even to this day – (and today, on this day) – I am transported back to my own childhood and can instantly recall the wonder and innocence of my halcyon youth and the belief that all things are possible.

My friends and coworkers think Tara and I are crazy to get up so early every day for those walks. I say they keep us young, in more ways than one.

Happy Friday.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “Ornery Little Rascal

  1. I think most people who spend time outside have raccoon stories. They can be quite aggressive and aren’t overly impressed with humans. But they’re likable. I’ll give ’em that.


    1. My son used to encounter them on his walks to school, and said they were fond of hissing at him. That definitely gave me a new perspective on them! Still want one for a pet, though…


  2. Oh god, I have high hopes when I set my alarm for 6:30! Although, with the time difference, technically we’re waking up at the same time, so I’m not going to feel bad about it a minute longer.

    And I totally forgot about Rascal! Thanks for the flashback. I dig the shot you got of the raccoon. Maybe it won’t end up in a calendar anywhere, but it’s pretty funny. Poor thing freaked out and had to scale a fence. LOL


  3. ” I say they keep us young, in more ways than one.”

    Amen, Mark! So keep on taking those morning walks!

    I remember going on a retreat many years ago in the PA country and getting up VERY early every morning and seeing the deer only a few feet away from my cabin, nibbling on tree berries. And how great that was!

    Like you, I’ve always held a fascination for raccoon’s. Not only are the VERY smart, but also have the cutest dang faces.

    Great capture of the raccoon!

    Have a faaaaabulous weekend, buddy!


    1. I think the fact that raccoons are smart is another reason why I’m drawn to them. I prefer my animals to have more brains than brawn, and I remember reading about how industrious raccoons are, particularly when it comes to using their paws. Of course, industrious also equals mischievous, proving once more that my parents were probably smart in not letting me have one.


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: