As is our habit, Tigger and I lay at the screen in the dining room observing the back yard. We lay there, each lost in our own thoughts, for quite some time.
"I see the woodchuck is out again." I finally said,
breaking the silence.
"I've been watching him." Tigger replied as he sat up and focused his full attention on the woodchuck eating grass near the back of the yard.
The hummers are sure active today too." I said.
"Yes, and the goldfinches as well he said, jumping up on the screen to get nearer to the humming birds.
Suddenly I sneezed a mighty sneeze making Tigger jump and causing all the things in the yard to scamper off for shelter.
"Excuse me." I said as I recovered from the sneeze.
Tigger had backed away from me and cocked his head to one side. "Accuse you? Of what?" he asked.
"I didn't say accuse me'... I said excuse me'. I'm sorry I scared you with that sneeze." I replied once again amazed at the turns our conversations take.
"Oh, that's OK Nothing scares me you know. But did you see how fast all the animals and birds in the yard took off? It really scared them!"
I went out to talk with Mr. Woodchuck. "Pardon me Mr.
Woodchuck. Sorry I scared you with my sneeze. I wonder if you can answer a
question for me." I asked.
"Don't worry about sneezing. I hear loud noises all the time. What do you want to know?" he answered.
"My kitten, Tigger, and I were wondering what you do in the woods. Tigger, my kitten, thinks you chuck wood because you are called a woodchuck."
"Don't be silly. That is just our name. They also call us groundhogs. Nothing against hogs of course... but we don't look anything like hogs now do we?"
"No you don't. I must admit that... nothing against hogs either... but you do look much better than hogs. So, you don't chuck wood?"
"Of course not. We play and eat in the woods but we never, ever chuck wood."
"Thanks, we just wanted to know. Have a nice day playing and eating." I said as I left.
"You're welcome and you have a nice day too." he said as he turned and went into his home.
When I got back to the screen and joined Tigger he wanted to know what I found out.
"They definitely never ever chuck wood." I told him.
"Why do they call them woodchucks then?" he asked his head tilted to one side.
"Well, as the woodchuck said, they are also called groundhogs and they don't look a bit like hogs... nothing against hogs of course." I responded.
"That's true... nothing against hogs. I think woodchucks are quite nice looking... sort of like a beaver don't you think."
"Except for their tails, they do look a lot like beavers. That's very astute of you to notice."
"Astute? Is that good?"
"Yes, that is very good. I didn't know you knew what a beaver looked like."
"Well, I spent some time looking at the book after we looked up the lynx the other day and found out what a beaver looked like. Except for someone mashing their tail flat, they look pretty good."
"Nobody mashed their tail flat. That is the way they are made. It helps them swim and build their houses."
"Swim? They go in the water? They aren't very smart then."
"Why would you say that? Of course they are very smart. They just live in the water. They aren't scared of water like cats." I said and immediately regretted saying cats are scared of water, Tigger was scared of nothing as he constantly reminded me.
"We are not scared of water. We are just too smart, we know better than to go in the water, that's all. I can't do anything with my hair after it gets wet you know and I like to look good." he said with great indignation as he fluffed the hair on his cheeks.
"You said woodchucks look good. I didn't think you would consider them that good looking."
"They look so plump and healthy.", he replied.
"What is it with this 'plump and healthy' business. Birds and woodchucks. You wouldn't be thinking it would be nice to have a woodchuck for lunch now would you?"
"Of course not... it would take at least a week...." he said as he attacked one of his stuffed toys for practice