I can see the towboats traversing the Mississippi River from the window of our condo in downtown St. Louis, MO and I honestly don't long to be out there on the water at the moment. Although the sun is out, it's a brisk 18 degrees outside, a sharp contrast to the comparatively warm 60 degree temperatures we had last week. On New Year's Day, the annual polar bear water skiing took place on the St. Louis riverfront and up in Alton Illinois. There were polar bear plunges in Fenton, MO and I'm sure there were various others around our area. I have a tradition of nursing an annual hangover on New Year's Day, and rarely leave home, spending the day in pajamas and lounging on the couch and watching the tube. Some friends decided to go wake boarding yesterday, the winds were approaching 45 M.P.H. and the temperature might have reached 29 degrees at best. We watched the video on Facebook. No thanks.
After cooping ourselves up in the condo all day on Sunday, we decided on Monday to take the 40 minute drive up to the Duck Club Yacht Club where we keep Swing Set. This was a momentous occasion for two reasons: It was the first car ride for our new puppy since bringing her home, and it would be the first time for her to visit Swing Set, which would become her permanent home, hopefully, for years to come.
It was an uneventful drive to the Duck Club, although the wind was buffeting our Ford Explorer around quite a bit. The extent of the cold and wind hit us as we stepped from the warm confines of the truck to the boat dock. There were a few other cars around as there are a few live aboards at the Duck Club, but it was very quiet, the only sound was that of all the ice eaters bubbling away. We did encounter a new tenant as we stepped onto the dock.
It may be hard to discern, but that ball of fur in that trap is a raccoon.
We called Mike Eberhardt, our harbormaster, to make him aware of this new victim of one of the many raccoon traps that are employed at each of the various docks in the harbor. We were assured that the "raccoon whisperer" would soon show up to take this raccoon, and place it with the 40 other recently caught varmints which are currently being put up in a local hotel and are being trained for a show at the St. Louis Zoo. Sure they are. I honestly don't care what is being done with the trapped raccoons, but I would guess whatever it is, it's a humane solution of some sort. For myself, I would rather they would become soup for some deserving souls. If anyone has seen the damage that a raccoon can, and will, do to a plush interior of a boat, compassion for the raccoons tends to go out the window in direct relation to the $$$$s it costs to repair the damage that they do.
We have had nothing more than a few muddy raccoon footprints on Swing Set on occasion, by keeping garbage off of our boat. We have a trash can in the cockpit, but the only thing that ever goes in there is beer cans. Lots of beer cans. But they are typically very empty beer cans, as I know for a fact that the contents are "good to the last drop". In fact, we don't have garbage in any of the waste receptacles aboard Swing Set. Any food that we don't eat becomes fish food, and I don't know much that a catfish won't eat, and we are in catfish heaven on the Mississippi.
We did a quick inspection of Swing Set, making sure the "bubbler" was working, the heaters were going and the bilges were still dry. We showed Holly, our new puppy, where her "potty place" was going to be, and placed her in it (the shower stall in our day head) with some doubt as to whether she would give it a tryout. She sat with head cocked and looked at us long enough for us to know that she wasn't going to perform with an audience, so we snatched her up, locked up the boat, and headed home to the warmth of the fireplace.