This summer I am taking my last course to complete my master's degree. Ironically, it is the first course that I have actually had to physically go to class for. My entire degree has been online until the very bitter end when I decided to take a storytelling class. As an assignment for this class, we had to collect a family story to share when we meet tomorrow, so naturally, I called my dad (in case you have never heard my dad tell a story, he's really quite good and I wish he could just go in my place tomorrow). And thus we come to the story of Grandma Johnson and the Hamster...*ahem*
When my dad was a kid, he wanted to buy his 3 siblings something for Christmas but he didn't have a whole lot of money. The Five and Dime store was selling hamsters for 50 cents so he decided he would get each of them a hamster. Well, of course hamsters are very prolific and have 8-10 babies every 6 weeks or so. By the time July rolled around they had like 40 hamsters and my grandmother was trying so hard to build cages for them to keep them separated to control the population but it was no use, they just kept reproducing. One of the hamsters was just plain mean. It would bite, escape from it's cage, eat it's own babies...it was just plain evil. My grandmother was really afraid that one day, this hamster was going to bite one of the neighborhood kids or do something dreadfully horrible so she decided she needed to get rid of it. She thought about flushing it down the toilet but then couldn't bear the thought of watching it's little face as it swirled down the drain. She thought about just letting it go outside, but what if it came back or one of the kids found it and brought it back? So she decided to suffocate it. She put in a Tide detergent box (it bit her through her rubber cleaning gloves when she reached in the cage to take it out, it was that mean) and took it out to the garage and started up the car. Then she put the opening of the box over the exhaust pipe of the car and nervously awaited the scratching and pawing inside the box to stop. When it did, she turned off the car and looked inside the box...no hamster. She ripped open the box and stuck her hand inside...no hamster. Well, she thought, it must have gotten out and escaped into the bushes or something...that's the end of it. Later that day, my Aunt Nancy comes home early from school because she had a dentist appointment. They go get in the car and as soon as Grandma starts the engine...POW!!! Nancy says she'll go check it out, but my grandmother insists that she stay in the car and she'll take care of whatever it was. Of course, it was the hamster. That thing had crawled all the way up the exhaust pipe and then was blown twenty feet out when the car was started. Since it was dead, grandma just kicked it into the bushes and never said a word about it. She told the kids it must have gotten out and run away or something and pretty soon after that, they ended up giving all of the hamsters and the cages to the pet store and that was the end of it. She never told a soul about what really happened to that hamster until 20 years later at Thanksgiving, when she had had a little too much wine and felt the need to confess.