When Credit is Due


My parents still live in rural Central Wisconsin where I spent the majority of my life through High School. My mom is a unique character in far too many ways than I can describe here. One of her “quirks” if you will that we as a family give her a bad time about is her tendency to make claims (and believe them) that to her are completely innocent but to the rest of us seem a bit too far fetched for many of us to believe. Some highlights of these moments from over the years:

    1. Mom is convinced that she was the first bride to ever give her parents flowers at her wedding. First ever.
    2. At one of my birthday’s, mom said (in front of the entire family) “The happiest day of my life was when you (me) was born”, which left both my dad and sister raising there arms and saying “Uh, HELLO!? What about us?”, to which mom became mortified.
    3. During a trip to the local zoo, one of the grey wolves started howling and mom was convinced the wolf only started howling after she tried howling at it first. On the way home, Dad (in an effort to discredit this theory) pulled over to the side of the road and tried mooing like a cow to see if it would generate a response from the neighborhood Holsteins. It didn’t work at all. Dad was proud, and Mom laughed well that night.
    4. Mom also saw an advertisement for silent fireworks at the zoo and wanted to see them. Dad was thoroughly convinced that silent fireworks didn’t exist, but mom thought differently. They decided to watch the fireworks while overlooking the main pond where hundreds of Canadian Geese where sleeping / swimming. Turns out fireworks are not silent after all, and after the initial explosion, mom and dad were buzzed by geese trying to get the heck out of there.


One of the bigger claims by mom occurred about 10 years ago. Mom was driving my aunt to the airport early one morning when she believed she saw a mountain lion (aka a cougar) crossing the road. My aunt could only confirm that they saw a large animal, but at 5am Central Time (2am Los Angeles time, where my aunt was from), she said she didn’t quite know what way was up at that time of the morning. Mom started calling our local friends who were big into hunting and started asking them if mountain lions were common in our area. No one believed her, and they probably had a good point. Where we live in Wisconsin, there are so many deer that it’s almost more likely that you will hit a deer at night than you will be struck by a drunk driver (and that’s saying something considering Wisconsin’s aptitude for drinking). The state has tried to reintroduce wolves to help bring down the population, but it hasn’t been successful. The state often time extends bow and rifle hunting season for deer to reduce their population. If mountain lions really existed in Wisconsin, not only would there be lots of tracks in the snow during the winters, but they would be in heaven with buffet of deer options available to them. But there were no confirmed sightings of cougars in the area, and so despite the adamant statements by my mother, it was determined that she did not see a cougar but probably saw a bobcat instead.


Fast forward to this week and I get a call from my mom saying “A bear took out a tree in our backyard this week.” I was skeptical at first, but we have had bears roam through the neighborhood in years past. We’ve also had big bucks, elk, and foxes roam through the backyard (and to think I used to sleep out under the stars in the backyard when I was young). I told mom though to put up a motion security camera in the backyard to start capturing these riveting stories.


And then 2 days ago, it happened. The city police received reports of a wild cougar running through town, and after investigation, the police confirmed the presence and existence of an actual mountain lion. The last line of the local newspaper article quoted the City’s Chief of Police to say “I’m pretty sure this is the first confirmed cougar sighting in (the town).” My mom is still taking exception to that statement.


Mom is not letting our family live this down and has requested that we rescind our decade long skeptical remarks against her claims that she saw the cougar crossing the road on the way to the airport. Science has bested me yet again mom. You were right! I apologize!


But this has no bearing on your flowers claim! haha! ;P




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