I remember a time when the only thing my youngest son wanted for his birthday was a hamster. I was not crazy about having one more pet to take care of and I knew nothing about them. The closest I’d ever come to having one as a child was when I’d rescued a mouse from a trap and put it in a cardboard shoebox. That really didn’t work out so well. After fetching it a snack from the kitchen, I went back to find nothing in the box but some droppings, shredded cardboard, and a small hole.
Nevertheless, a package was opened at my son’s birthday party, revealing a small, fluffy critter. He excitedly reached into the box and, the hamster, having been already traumatized by a bumpy car ride, bit him. The box was dropped and the hamster was on the lam.
Have you ever tried to fetch a five ounce ball of fluff from under the fridge? By using the vacuum nozzle and the leg from a pair of pantyhose, I got quite good at doing just that. I’d just suck that little varmint into the hose and then dump him into his hamster hotel. He worked off his stress by rattling around on his exercise wheel.
A few months later, the kids and I were headed to the beach for a week and we left Dad in charge of the hamster. To make a long story short, the hamster died while we were gone. Not wanting to upset the kids, Dad bought another hamster before we came home. This was really a brilliant idea except for the fact that the dead hamster was a light, golden tan and the new hamster was black and white.
Our final hamster was named Hamdini because he was an escape artist like no other. One morning when I woke up, Hamdini was perched on my chest, staring at me. In the second that it took before I realized what was sitting on me, I sat up and screamed. Hamdini went flying through the air and, by the time I got him back into his cage, we were both pretty frazzled!
Hamdini loved his exercise ball and used it to explore the whole house. Little did I know that he was planning his great escape. For weeks after he disappeared, I found traces of him….a cold French fry on a closet shelf, a small pile of shredded paper, or a dropping. It’s just a few steps beyond normal, but I still think I’m going to open a closet someday to find a ten pound hamster staring me in the eye. Something is making all the snacks in our house disappear! Must be Hamdini!