Chris Johnson

Sometimes you just have to man up to the armadillo and take the backyard war to him

Now that fall is officially here on the calendar and almost here temperature-wise, I can finally start getting into those fall traditions.

Granted, I haven’t bundled up and gone to many high school football games and drank hot chocolate like I did 30 years ago. I’d die of heat stroke.

I also skipped the Georgia National Fair for the first time in years. Of course, I wouldn’t have gone the last several years if my wife hadn’t dragged me there. I also equate the fall fair of my childhood memories with chilly nights and nearly freezing to death on the flying swings and creaky rides like The Zipper that usually wind up with a random number of unused bolts after each assembly in a new town.

“Hey, Earl, there’s only 13 unused bolts this time! In Knoxville, we had 17!”

“I think they were all supposed to go on car 6.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because car 6 just flew off and landed on the Vomitron.”

I’m also not much for other fall traditions like bobbing for apples, getting lost in a corn maze or pardoning turkeys at the White House. Those birds know what they did, and they don’t deserve a pardon when chickens don’t get a fair shake.

There is one new fall tradition at my house, though — the armadillo war. It started last fall when an armadillo decided to redesign my backyard’s landscape. He even dug up a few plants that he obviously thought didn’t work so well around the patio.

I stumbled upon him one night last year, but he took off before I could finish loading my shotgun. Then I began loading my shotgun and hanging out on the back porch waiting for him like Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and those were the nights he stayed away. He was probably at the bottom of hill spying on me through little armadillo binoculars.

“C’mon, hillbilly. Fall asleep and go inside, so I can get back to work. I’ve got a whole side yard to start rearranging tonight.”

We are about to get fencing down the sides of our yard, but that’s just so that we don’t have to look at the new neighbors on each side of the house. We don’t know exactly who they are going to be, but the chances of our wanting to see them are pretty darn slim. We like looking at the trees and non-armadillo wildlife behind our house, though, and we don’t want to fence that in.

So, I’m taking a cue from our president and … No, I’m not gonna play golf and think about it. No, I’m not going to have Rudy Guiliani or Michael Cohen take care of it. I’m going to follow Mr. Trump’s cue and build a big, beautiful wall.

OK, maybe it won’t be all that big. They are not much for climbing, although they can jump a few feet in the air — usually only in the middle of the night when they are crossing a road and see a Buick roaring toward them.

My hope is that the armadillo will get to my new wall and simply try to go around rather than digging under or buying a little armadillo ladder. Then he’ll simply walk around and visit a neighbor’s house instead.

And if he does somehow find his way into my yard for a little landscape rearrangement, I’ll have plenty of time to load my shotgun while he tries in vain to figure out how he got on the wrong side of the wall and fence. Instead of hunting him, I’ll just have to walk up and assassinate him.

The best thing about building a wall, though, is that it will be cheaper than a fence. That’s because I’m also taking my cue from the president on that one — I’m going to have Mexico pay for it.

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