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The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia







May '09 Contents

May '09 Cover


See You in the Morning By Gert Slabach

A Mouse in the House By Tammy Tillotson

Shadows on the Roanoke By Auntie Bellum

Halifax Heritage Festival (Event Photo Gallery)

Danville Community Market (Grand Opening - Photos)




South Winds
(Life in Perspective)

Southside Gardener
(May "To Do List")
By William H. McCaleb

Ask Bubba - Advice
Skools Out


Editor's Page
(Low Cost Entertainment)
V & B Comics
(Verrnack & Blupirk)

Press Releases

South Hill Happenings

Spring Fest (Sat May 9th)

Beef Fest (Wed May 27th)

YMCA Active Older Adults (Wed May 20th)

Local Ins Agency Achieves Certification
(Brandon Scearce Insurance Agency Achieves On Your Side Certification)

Past Issues

Past Issues are available from June 2008 through the current issue.
Select the desired issue from the drop-down box below.


A Mouse in the House


By Tammy Tillotson

   It all started with pecans.

   I keep a basketful on my kitchen counter to remind me I eventually need to finish cracking them. I figure if I can see them, then I will get them done faster. - Should I ever forget my two-year-old reminds me, because to him pecans are a wonderfully fun game! He carefully pushes a chair to the counter edge, climbs up, grabs a handful, and excitedly rolls them across the floor!

   Sounds kind of cute. It is about the first dozen times. Yet, here�s the thing about pecans � they may be a bit bigger and a bit more oval, but they�re an awful lot like marbles! Should a person accidentally run up on one in a mad-dash across the floor to silence the �time-out� kitchen buzzer, signaling play is back in session, a pecan has about the same effect as a marble too!

   Since I am not a talented balancing bear, cuteness vanished pretty quickly in my house! Yet, shortly after I put an end to the latest and greatest favorite toddler past-time, something funny started happening.

   One morning, I found a pecan beside the back burner of the stove. I smiled, thinking it was my son. I showed him the small pecan to which he delightedly shouted, �Nuts! Nuts!�

   Amused by his clever discernment and the huge grin on his face, I off-handedly tossed the pecan back into the basket and thought little of it.

   The next day, there were two pecans. Again, I returned them to the pecan basket and vowed I was going to keep a keener eye on the littlest one to catch him in the act! -

   Around 4 o�clock the next morning, my mommy assistance was required for an emergency. Still half-awake, I trekked into the kitchen to retrieve a drink of water. As I reached for a sippy cup, something on the stovetop caught my eye. There was not 1, or 2, but 3 pecans alongside the back burners of the stove!

   That did it! Even at 4 o�clock in the morning, pecans couldn�t jump out of baskets and roll themselves onto stovetops while little boys were asleep! Before going back to bed, I made a mental note to take care of that later on in the day.

   While I realize a true Southern lady may never admit it, and may even go so far as to deny it, here in Southside Virginia a mouse in the house is a fairly common occurrence. So much so, I can attest to the Dollar General, Food Lion, and Family Dollar stores in several surrounding local towns to having been sold completely out of mousetraps on two such occasions last year. There may even have been a third such occasion, and if so, it would�ve only been because when I found them, I stocked up - before making about a dozen phone calls to other folks I knew who had been looking for them too! Now, it may have been that someone carelessly didn�t order enough stock to last through a season of hay and lawn mowing, but there were a few things I quickly gleaned about mice and Southside Virginia. Mi Carreta - Mexican Grill - South Boston

   For starters, most folks I know are more Trap! Crackle! Pop! kinda people. Those like me, with little ones in the house, avoid poison pellets on the off-chance an inquiring mind wants to know if they taste like candy breath mints. Then again, if folks have lived here long enough, chances are they probably know someone who swears a cousin of theirs tried to eat one once when they were little and that might explain why to this day they�re simply not quite right.

   In any case, mousetraps are one of those innately Southern things I remember learning about very early � almost as early as an electric fence, and how a person can hold someone else�s hand while she touches the fence, and the shock will go through her and get the other person!

   I recall a surprisingly similar lesson with a mousetrap which involved intentionally springing a set trap with a small stick, accompanied by a stern verbal warning:

   �Now, I want you to watch this...and when you do, I want you to think of this stick and imagine it�s your finger!�

   That is perhaps the single most fascinating and highly effective learning tool I still recall from my childhood, though I do believe it may have slightly traumatized my sister. One of her first mice adventures on her own in the big world involved a trap and an unfortunate mouse that she didn�t kill � he only lost his tail. Because he was squeaking for his life, she felt sorry for him and shook him a loose. Then, before he could get away, she recaptured him by slamming a mixing bowl down on top of him. Next, she elaborately scooted the bowl to the edge of the counter, dumped him into a good Revere ware pot, swiftly stopped him from jumping out, slammed shut the lid, and walked him more than four blocks away so he could find a new home - all the while wondering what the neighbors must�ve thought of the crazy lady walking around fussing and mumbling to her good Revere ware!

   When she very angrily called to rehash her amazing mouse tale to me, I laughed so hard I literally cried tears for a solid ten minutes and eventually had to hang up the phone as she said I was hurting her feelings and I honestly thought I might pee my pants! I only laughed and cried harder when she called me two days later to say I�d never guess what �tail-less� friend she found back in the house! It had used every ounce of strength it could muster in its little mouse body to crawl all the way back, and then die bravely in the middle of her kitchen floor just so she knew she was the reason he was dead! How dare he!

   So, those stories our grandmas like to tell about mice traveling more than five miles to get back to a certain house, down a dirt road, and in a foot of snow, well it�s good to believe them! Virginia mice have better homing devices than the pigeons around here as boy, are they smart! They almost seem to challenge the notion that generous hospitality should be extended to them too. This is not something any of them are shy about and in fact, it�s something they all too often flaunt.

   Speaking of which, that other day was so hectic it somehow slipped my mind to set out traps - until I remembered somewhere around midnight. With all my housework done and the little ones back asleep, I was finally enjoying a peaceful moment to myself, and a nice, long-overdue, hot bath, when I got the uneasy feeling I was being watched. Two feet away, an unwelcome guest with tiny beady eyes was staring me down. Without even flinching, he stood in a brightly lit room, and invaded the only personal space I�d had in about twenty hours straight! Not to mention, he was doing a little dance on my recently discarded articles of clothing! How dare he!

   Well, I certainly showed him some of my good old Southern hospitality! I�m much obliged to do the same to all of his relatives, so ya�ll come back now!


~Isaiah 2:20  



Tammy Tillotson is a freelance writer in Chase City, Virginia. She is the editor of the upcoming Writers Studio Young Authors Anthology entitled Bull Bay Review.

You can E-Mail Tammy Tillotson at: tammytillotson@discoversouthside.com





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