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Dancing The Critter/Bug Shuffle

By Dr. James L. Snyder

Ocala, FloridaDr. james snyder


I must confess that I do have a liking for critters of all kinds. I enjoy feeding them out on the back porch, and boy, do they come hungry for their treats.

Two cats born in our garage are still hanging around. They come morning, noon, and night for their treats. In the morning, they like to come and have me scratch their head. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but I’m willing to scratch their head if that’s what they want.

Unlike me, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is not very fond of critters of any nature. The only critter she likes is Yours Truly. I guess I’m enough of a critter to satisfy any longings like that. I hope she doesn’t try to scratch my head.

When she goes to the door and opens it, the cats run in, like they are crazy. As soon as they see that it’s her, they turn around and race outside as fast as possible.

For me, it’s fun to watch all these critters gather around as though they were friends.

We have about five cats, four raccoons, and two possums, and lately, our newest critters are chickens from our neighbor next door.

For some reason, these chickens have found the kitty food on our porch and like coming over and enjoy a snack. I enjoy watching them dance around on the porch, eating the snacks.

Also, the cats are sitting on the rocking chairs on the porch and watch over these chickens as they come for their daily treats.

If The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage sees these chickens, she immediately opens the door and chases them away. She will often throw water at them to keep them from returning.

Obviously, they’re not that frightened of her and return on a regular schedule. To them, it’s Treats over Fear.

Out on the porch, we also have a bunch of birds, and at times hummingbirds. We have a lot of wasps and bees flying around. Then we have ants galore. Somehow, they found the bowl of kitty food and try to come as often as they could. The biggest obstacle, of course, is The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

A few years ago, we had foxes that came in the evening, but I haven’t seen them for a while.

And then we have lizards. For some reason, they came to our back porch and moved in. They act like they own the place and do all kinds of lizardly things, much to the chagrin of The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

I’ve heard a rumor about some black bear in our neighborhood. It would be a delight some night to see a black bear coming on our back porch eating some kitty treats. Of course, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would have an absolute meltdown if that ever happened.

I’m not sure who would be worse off, the black bear or The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

One morning, I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day when I noticed in the shower a little lizard. He climbed halfway up the wall and just stared at me. I think he thought I was the intruder.

I stared back, talked to him a little bit, and told him to be careful of the other person in the house. He just stared at me and blinked his eyes.

I had forgotten that incident, and later in the day, as we were drinking coffee together, I happened to remember it. I looked at my wife and said, “I had a special visitor in the bathroom this morning.”

She stared at me and said, “Who was that special visitor?”

I laughed very heartily and said, “That visitor was Henry.”

Looking rather strange and confused, she said, “Who is Henry?”

“Ah, my dear, it was a lizard. I just call him Henry because we’re friends.”

“In your bathroom?” She gasped.

With that, she jumped up and ran to the bathroom looking for Henry. I could hear her frantically calling his name for well over an hour. Finally, it grew silent, and she came out from the bathroom and sat down.

“Well,” I said with a smile, “did you meet my friend Henry?”

Scowling at me, she said, “I flushed your friend down the toilet.”

I didn’t know if I should have a memorial service for Henry or not. I’m pretty sure The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would not show up at that service.

I’m patiently waiting for the next Henry to show up in my bathroom. Maybe the next time, I won’t tell The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Or, perhaps I should catch one of those lizards, put it in her bathroom, and see what happens.

It might be a memorial service for me.

With that in mind, I thought of an important Bible verse. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26).

From God’s perspective, we who have been created in His image and likeness, have a responsibility to care for the animals God has created. He has authorized us to care for them in obedience to His Word.


Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail, website

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