One of those endearing yet frustrating qualities of Bloomfield is how each door in the house has a perfectly carved Tom & Jerry mouse hole at the bottom of it. These lovely 250 year old 2.5 inch thick oak doors with their hand carved inlaid panels, each adorn perfect little 2x2 round holes in the bottom corner. I’ve often sat staring at these wonderous holes pondering the idea of a poor little mouse being locked in one of these rooms; and him having the stamina and the tenacity to eat his way out to freedom. I’ve always thought “How can a little guy have enough fuel to be able to last long enough to eat through that door?” Then I think how sad I am that he’s been locked in this room and in order to save his life, he had to eat through that door. To get out. To survive. To get back to his little mouse family.
Never once did I think that maybe that mouse was NOT innocently locked in that room with his only means of survival being to eat through the door. But, now living through two winters as Bloomfield’s custodian, I’ve come to realize these mice are not trying to get OUT of the room... but they are trying to get INTO these rooms! These once “escape” holes are now clearly, upon further examination and evidence of ever present mice/rats trail/droppings, are perfectly sized ENTRANCES to each room. And by the size of the holes, we’re not dealing with a cute little fuzzy mousy-poo.
Once I had this A-ha... or honestly... this OH SHIT moment... I now imagine a totally different story...
These little guys are putting on their hardhats in the morning, gathering their mini lunch pails of cheese from their wives, kissing their kids goodbye, as each of these rats ~ living in all four the corners of the house as if it’s a huge condo complex ~ convene upon whatever ‘door of the day’ the construction work or mouse-holing is supposed to take place.
As they put down their lunch pails and greet each other, I imagine these pudgy, middle aged rats drawing straws - deciding whose chompers go first. Charlie‘s up first today having picked the short straw... and steps up to gnaw away. The other giant rats stand around critiquing Charlie’s door-chewing technique. Giving advice to Charlie on how best to go-at the door. You see, they’ve reconvened on a door of a room they’ve yet to get into. So far they’ve been gnawing away at this one for over a month and are really hoping to break through today. They watch Charlie work away as they discuss the fortunes they’re going to find on the inside; how this very room is going to change everyone’s life. How proud their kids are going to be when they get home that night and their wives beam with loving pride as they explain the winnings of what’s ‘on the inside’.
Next up it’s Willy. Willy is the largest of the rats, unshaven, looks a little unkempt at all times and, well, not quite “all there”. But Willy - now, he’s the brawn of the crew. Willy steps up and starts chomping away at the door. At first his crewmembers just stare in awe at Willy’s incredible munch-ability. Then they catch themselves, close their silent slack jaws, unconsciously pulling up their a little trousers a bit. The conversation slowly begins again about family and what’s on the other side of the door ~ as they all pretend to not jealously watch Willy gnaw away with incredible virility.
I think you get the picture. I’m convinced this is exactly what happened while Bloomfield laid uninhabited for so many years... and quite possibly, even now in the quiet hours we’re away. So in light of this, we will be embracing our little mouse-intrusion holes with art work. We are going to have an artist friend commemorate Charlie, Willy & The Crew on each of the mouse eaten doors. History is history right? No matter who or what did the remodeling. Perfection is in the imperfections, no? And if we are allowed to inhabit Bloomfield, then who says that all creature, great and small, are not allowed to as well. As long as we never cross paths!