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Whiteout the Christmas weasel bridges generations

ESCANABA- Whiteout the Christmas weasel lived between the balsams and the tamaracks.

A beautiful forested ridge was what he called home. A crack in the layer of limestone gave way to the weasel’s underground home.

The woods provided him with an almost constant supply of mice, shrews, voles and rabbits.

In the summer time Whiteout’s luxurious chocolatey brown fur almost floated above roots, rocks and soil as he hunted.

In November however, life got tough. The very prolific mice found hideaways to snuggle in.

Whiteouts pelt turned as pale as the snow shrouded earth. Except for his black tipped tail, he was a slender white missile, jet propelled on the snow or beneath the snow.

In December when the hours of day light were few, Whiteout liked to spend time down by the “old farm” The woodshed was a lovely place of rough cut lumber, rusty tools and mice!

Whiteout wasn’t the only one planning on visiting the old farm during the week of Christmas. The Miller family was planning a country Christmas spent with the grandparents. Joe and Marge were happily anticipating an “old fashioned” peaceful Christmas visiting Joe’s aging parents.

There may not be too many years left for the senior couple to be in their country home.

But not everyone was happy about his “old fashioned” “let’s stay at the farm” Christmas. Jason and Brittany, the teenage Millers were a bit perturbed.

Spending the Christmas holiday down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, away from their friends was NOT their idea of fun.

At grandpa’s farm you could not even get enough bars to use your cell phone. And the Wi-Fi was non-existent in these backwoods.

Even though the younger Millers loved their grandparents, Christmas at home in the city with Gramps and Gran visiting them would have been preferred.

Jason wanted a new smart phone for Christmas. Brittany wanted a pet ferret. But now the only thing they wanted was the week at the farm to go by quickly.

On Christmas Eve something happened to liven up things at the Miller farm.

Brittany had gone out to the woodshed to grab a snow shovel.

There she met Whiteout. A pink nose and a twitching black tail streaked across the wood pile.

“A ferret” Brittany shrieked with joy!

For the next five days, Whiteout gave the young Millers something exciting to do. Armed with their phone cameras, Jason and Brittany stalked the lightning fast weasel trying to get pictures of him.

The snow had drifted up against the big living room window. There Brittany got a picture of Whiteout tunneling beneath the snow searching for mice.

Jason zoomed in on Whiteout perched by a balsam along a rabbit’s run way.

Whiteout provided a real life seek and find.

In the evening when everyone was gathered around the Christmas tree, Grandpa told stories about the wildlife on the farm and especially about the weasels.

“Bet you didn’t know I had a pet ferret, I mean weasel in my woodshed,” he said.

Whiteout was the “ice breaker” that got the three generations talking about everything from animals to the olden days on the farm.

Just before it was time to head back to town, Gran gave Brittany a chunk of beef suet. Brittany took outside beyond the birdfeeder and tossed near a tunnel in the snow.

“I hope you find this Whiteout” and thanks for the best Christmas ever. I hope to see you again when you wearing your brown coat of summer.

——

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.

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