The Raccoon and the Devil

This is the 11th of a series of 15 devotionals from the late 80s when my oldest sons were just little boys …

Like I said, “Oh well, what’s another boy?” Actually, this is good to have a new little one coming along to say funny things that I can write about. I have noticed that as my first three get older, they say and do much less that is really funny.

I thought it would be a nice fatherly type of thing to do to give Diana a break with baby Jesse and take my three older boys camping overnight. So, the day after Labor Day we packed the gear in the car and took off for High Point State Park.

The kids thought it was great, and I’ll even admit that it was a good time with them. It is amazing how dirty three boys can get in just 24 hours in the woods. When we came home the next day, I stopped at a Dairy Queen with the guys. The waitress looked at us and said, “You guys look like you’ve been camping.” I thought, “Oh, do we really look that bad?”

Just as I figured, the campground was rather sparsely used the day we went. There were only a few others in tents around the lake. I am sure that before the previous evening the campground had been nightly filled with happy campers and their inevitable garbage. What a great place for raccoons! 

Yes, it was just after dark, as we were finishing our hot dogs and getting the marshmallows out, that the first masked bandit rustled through the weeds. Soon, more eyes pierced the darkness, reflecting only the glow of the camp fire. These guys were hungry, and their summer bull market of feasting opportunities had crashed.

“Three sloppy little boys!” said one coon to the other. “Yeah, what an opportunity,” replied the second. “We’re going to eat well tonight. There’s no way that middle-sized blonde kid isn’t going to drop at least one hot dog on the ground! Look! There it goes … what’d I tell ya? … Oh gross, his father is making him put it back in the roll!”  “Drat,” said the first. “But look over at the fire … yeah … right near the youngest kid’s foot; it’s a marshmallow! Go, make a break for it!”

Suddenly a scream from Aaron pierced the darkness. Fearing that he had fallen into the fire, I rushed to him. Through the wailing he stammered something like, “wa oush esh thesh eeech desst yesh!!!”  Nathan translated: “He said that a raccoon was right by his feet.” Calming just a bit, Aaron said, “He wanted to bite me and give me ray-di-bees!”

“I’m so tired. Please daddy, please, can we go to bed now?” pleaded Benjamin. “Yes please, let’s just get into the tent,” whimpered Aaron.

It was time for fatherly action! I took the basin of warm dish water and scored a direct hit. The soaked raccoon raced up the nearest tree to dry off, and we had enough peace to finish our chores.

The next morning I took our trash to the dumpster, opened the lid, and there was our raccoon, fast asleep.

As much as I tried to get rid of that raccoon, he was always there, nearby. A couple of times I thought he had been chased away, but he kept coming back.

It reminds me of the sin nature. It is never really entirely gone. It haunts us around the fringes of our lives – seeking an opportunity to take advantage – a weak moment when we are not paying attention. And even when the sun rises on a new day of the spiritual commitment, we must not think that the flesh is far away. It is just catching a few winks until a darker time descends once again.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.”

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

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