Writters Corner

The Year of the Moles
By Virginia Shepard

Last summer at 440 16th Street in Ogden, Kansas, the moles reigned supreme in spite of my husband’s best efforts. They had showed up with the end of spring. At first there were just a few mounds of dirt announcing their arrival, then as the temperature increased, so did their excavating. At first he tried half-hearted attempts, unsuccessfully, to curtail their expansion but our yards were beginning to have that just-plowed look.

WAR WAS DECLARED!  Our back and front yards became dotted with every mole trap that he could buy on e-bay. He made a mole check the minute he got out of bed and one the final thing at night with numerous checks during the day. He was even known to sit with a flashlight and pitchfork in his lawn chair in the wee, dark hours of morning waiting for them to make a move. He’d get aggravated at me ‘cause I wouldn’t take a night patrol now and then.

In desperation, he ran over their runs with the car, truck, skid loader or whatever was close and they still kept coming; nothing was safe from either of them. He dug up their runs and had a maze of trenches all over the yards and often filled them with water. Nothing ever washed up except my flowers. Walking in the dark was like a mine field and only a fool would risk it. He was a man on a mission. I felt like I was locked in on the set of “Caddy Shack”.  With him being a habitual junker and our mole problem, our yard had 2 strikes against it and hovered on 3 the whole summer.

He had a friend that had the same mole problem that we did but he didn’t possess the same destructive drive as my husband.  They set up their command post over breakfast at least twice a week and planned their mole catching strategies. If you didn’t know their enemy, you would think it was the invasion of Normandy re-visited. They kept score of “confirmed kills” which meant the mole was hanging off of a prong of the pitchfork. I tried to tell them that you had to kill the grubs and eliminate their food source but they didn’t listen. Why do that when tearing up the yard and stabbing moles was more challenging. But at this point, the moles were high fiving as they were out maneuvering them and the confirmed kills were declining rapidly.

So went the summer. There is no end to this story; it got cold, the ground froze, my husband’s attention was temporarily diverted. The moles, I’m sure are warming their furry little bodies on the beaches of Cancun with sun screen on their pointed little noses and have sparking, manicured claws glistening in the sun and smiles on their little mole faces anticipating summer’s arrival at 428 16th Street in Ogden, Kansas and another go at the easy prey living there.


My husband, looking up from his construction catalogue, is wearing a smile  smirk. The order for TNT has been placed, deliverable in May at 440 16th Street in Ogden, Kansas.