Our next-door neighbors' yard was disfigured with gray basketball-sized dirt mounds. A gopher was living in the area and seemed to take great joy in constant destruction. One day the neighbors' two kids, Chris, Marissa, and I decided that we would finally do something about the unwanted tunnel occupant. So we asked their parents if we could perform this important task. After we got the go-ahead, Marissa grabbed their hose. Once it was down one of the gopher holes, Chris turned the water on. We were going to flood the gopher's home and force him to come out. To our six-through-nine year old minds, this was the most brilliant idea ever.
Of course, that afternoon had started out like any other afternoon. The three of us were hanging around each other's yards, playing tag or hide-n-seek. When some of the fun had died down, I had looked at Chris and Marissa's backyard. It had been torn up for as long as I could remember. "You know, we should do something about that gopher," I said.
"Like what?" Chris asked.
"I don't know," I replied.
"What if we take some food and put it down its holes? Maybe then it'll come up," Marissa suggested. That sounded like a good idea.
"But then it'll see us and go right back down," Chris pointed out. I agreed with him.
"Well maybe we can stand back and hide and hold a net above the hole," Marissa proposed. That did not seem right, but then I thought of something.
"How about we take a hose and stick down one of the holes?" I said. "The water'll fill up his home and he'll have to come out or he'll drown." The more we all thought about it, the better that plan sounded. Now that we were actually doing it, we had great fun taking turns moving the hose into different tunnel openings and running around to see if the gopher was going to come out. Of course, we had been warned by our parents to not get too close to the gopher, in case it had rabies. After a half-hour, water came gushing up from several of the holes. Still, no gopher. A few minutes later, the yard became moist and muddy. Then all of a sudden the gopher came speeding out of one of its exits. It was the first time I had seen something that small move so fast.
We then proceeded to chase the rodent around the waterlogged yard with the hose. At this point, my mother came out of my house. Once she saw what we were doing, she ran into our garage. She quickly came back with a metal garden rake. After some more chasing, the three of us kids finally cornered it. Stuck between my house and our big plastic garbage can, the small brown pest searched for an escape. Mom then took the rake and pinned the gopher against the wall. Oh my word, we had captured it! The three of us kids were squealing to Mom, telling her not to let the gopher get away. My mother kept yelling back at us, "Keep the hose on it! Keep the hose on it!" One moment, the little stinker got away. We were ready for it with the hose, however, and the gopher was soon pinned by the rake again.
It took all of three minutes to drown it. Then Mom picked the dead gopher up with the rake and made me find a plastic bag. She then deposited the offensive rodent first into the plastic bag; then into the garbage can. We had done it. We had killed the gopher all by ourselves. My mom said that she was very proud of us. Believe me when I say we were walking on air for the rest of the evening. I have since moved from that home and have lost all contact with my two friends, but I will never, ever forget that evening when we decided to hunt that gopher.