At the risk of trivializing what’s going on in our country today, I have been spending some time lately thinking about current events on a more personal level. Recently I have been doing some genealogical research which has led me to a discovery about my very presence here in the US, and secondly, I’ve come to understand “catch and release” on a very personal level.
First, the fact is that I (and my family) may be here under questionable circumstances. I’m not sure what the statute of limitations is on entering the country in a manner that is not entirely legal, and maybe that has passed for my family, it’s just that I can’t help smiling a little at the audacity of my ancestor before being a little embarrassed about the way he got us here.
It all started when my great-great-grandfather sort of lied about why he wanted to leave his home country by telling the officials there that he wanted to come to the United States to fetch his brother back home so they could both fulfill the military duties they owed their Fatherland. He swore an oath he would not renounce his citizenship while he was gone.
See, the thing is, he lied. Not only did he renounce his citizenship, within 6 months of arriving here, he applied for citizenship to the United States. Now, maybe by applying, he was legal as far as the United States was concerned, but he was here based on a lie and he was mostly trying to avoid serving in an army he did not support. I’m not real sure if that is legal grounds for asylum. While it is true that I was born on US soil, and my ancestor (who will remain nameless, just in case someone decides to look into this case) did marry a woman who was a US citizen, you can see where I feel just a little uneasy about judging anyone who wants to come to the US for a better life.
Now the “catch and release” part of this story has nothing to do with my ancestry, but I have some critters in my yard that don’t belong there. They are criminal and they engage in criminal activity and I have begun a campaign to remove them by trapping them and relocating them to a place I think is much better for them.
The problem is that sometimes traps don’t always catch what we expect. The little thieves that I am waging my war against are chipmunks (so cute, right?). They eat my birds’ food, they dig up anything I plant because apparently roots are delicious, and they are trying to move in under my home where I am sure my wiring and my very walls look like natural resources to them.
So, I set a trap. Now I’m not a bad person. I don’t intend to kill them. My plan is to move them to the country…way off on the other side of the river. Good luck to them trying to return to their families! Not my problem, right? Hopefully, one by one, I’ll move their entire families to the general neighborhood where the first two went, they’ll reunite and live happily ever after.
The first day of trapping went well. Got one of the little critters and took him for a drive.
The second day was a totally different animal…literally. Rolled out my door and down the steps to inspect my trap and came face to face with a VERY upset possum! Now, I’m a country girl, so I have a little knowledge of animals and I know this chipmunk trap I am using could not hold a full-grown possum, so obviously this little guy was a youngster, but he had learned the mad possum hiss which is pretty intimidating, whatever the size of the possum.
I made a very quick and well-advised retreat to think over my options. I watched from a safe distance as he reached his strangely humanoid little hands through the cage and quickly decided I did not want to wrestle with him for the handle, nor did I want to travel with him in an enclosed vehicle! We have people for that, so I called Animal Control.
Long story – short…I don’t know where they took this guy. That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? I think the phrase is: “…not in MY back yard.”
If you want to draw some analogies from my stories, you are welcome to make of them what you will, but in the future, when I sit out on my deck drinking my coffee, I hope to see a yard that serves as a haven for me and does not contain any vandals or alien creatures…I’m just not sure that’s possible.
I have the distinct feeling that my yard is some other creature’s “better life.”