Every year my mother would faithfully look through the Burpee Seed catalog and plan two things. One, which vegetables to plant in her family's veggie garden. And two, a new batch of tulip bulbs to plant in a garden created solely for her own viewing and smelling pleasure.
My mother loved tulips and not only had a small garden of them right outside the door of the house at 407 McMurtry Street, she also liked to plant them around the base of the large tree which stood in the front yard. Every year I could count on those lovely reds, yellows, and other shades of tulip sunshine to brighten my mornings.
One year,however, Mother noticed the tulip bulbs she planted around the tree base had been dug up by some mysterious creature. Not to be outdone by what she thought was a stray cat, Mother planted some more in the same spot. Within a week all that was left were a few pieces of chewed up leaves and newly clawed up earth. What in the world was eating her tulips?
It didn't take long to discover who the mystery invader of Mother's flower garden was. Early one Spring morning my mother stepped outside to tend to her veggie garden when she startled a family of armadillos as they were making their way back from a forage through her tulip bed. Dumbfounded at the sight, Mother could only stare as mother armadillo and her babies scurried out of sight under the house.
On one hand she was glad to discover the mystery tulip thief, but on the other she had no clue on how to get rid of them. She didn't have to wonder for long as Mother Nature decided to take matters into her own hands.
Shortly after the discovery of the armadillo family, Mother noticed stray cats no longer meandered through our yard. While it never had been a huge problem, still it was surprising to not see any at all. It was about that same time we started hearing strange, menacing noises coming from under the house.
Soft and low at first, the sound would increase in volume until the deep throated rumbling roar could be heard clearly all the way over to the surrounding neighbor's yards. This went on for days and the cats continued to disappear until Mother finally figured out what was causing that demonic sound coming from under our floorboards.
She called the local game warden and requested he come to the house to pick up the 8 foot alligator who decided to make our yard his new home. And the armadillo family? Well, I'm sorry to say they made a tasty snack for that old alligator but at least Mother got her tulips back...