some back story: last year when my family visited, my eleven-year-old sister bought herself a chipmunk puppet, promptly called Chippy, who has become a ubiquitous fixture around the house. I had interactions with Chippy every day for the two weeks I was home at Christmas. Ashley's become adept at manipulating the puppet; he has a pretty extensive vocabulary of moods and facial features.
Later in the summer, prompted, of course, by Chippy, my brother (also eleven years old) bought himself a porcupine puppet, called Quilliam. (Travis is particularly good at this sort of clever word play). Then, this past fall, they bought my mom a squirrel, Sully, for her birthday. That left me as the only member of my immediate family without a puppet familiar. I had suggested I wanted a skunk.
My mother sends me an Easter basket every year, and this year it took days for me to be able to pick it up from the leasing office at my apartment, since they open after I leave for work and close before I usually get home. My sister was unnaturally impatient to have me pick up the package. On Friday, just before leaving for the airport, I finally got it. Inside my Easter basket (actually a tote bag) was my new hedgehog.
Enclosed was a letter, which I share with you verbatim:
Dear Jessica, congratulations! You finally have a puppet of your own please call us to tell us what you have named it. Chippy is a little upset that the hedgehog gets to go but he doesn't get to live or visit where he is from. He asked me if you could read the rest of this to your knew family member. Oregon is a cool state and you'll love it there but there are some things you need to know before you get to cozy. Number one there is less humidity there then here so you can breathe a little better. Number two make sure that Jessica (your owner) takes you on most of her car rides because they are loads of fun! Number three is to be careful of little children because they will hurt you, but don't worry about Ashley or Travis because their gentle. Also you won't have to worry as much because you don't have the family over your house. Fourth or last when Jessica flies here to Maryland make sure she takes you. I'm a little homesick but I hope you'll have a great time there as I did send postcards.
Writer Chippy but Quill, and Sully
p.s. don't forget to wave to people in other cars and make sure she'll let you drive!
So I stuffed the as-yet-unnamed hedgehog into my backpack and headed to the airport.
Top row: Nub preps the four-wheeler; Nub finds a shrub; Nub practices his marksmanship. Bottom row: Nub meets a plant version of himself; Nub enjoys a Sunday drive; Nub is locked & loaded into his airplane seat.