There was a Lizard on my Back is a funny short story about when Mike lost a lizard and couldn't find it anywhere - but his mom did.
By Michael R Dougherty
When I was just 7 years old, our family moved from Anchorage, Alaska to the Feather River Canyon area in Northern California.
My dad's family was running a lumber mill on the top of a mountain in that area and our dad was going to help out.
Our house was also on the top of the mountain.
Looking back, we were a lot like the family on the TV show "The Waltons."
I even walked down the mountain every weekday to go to school in a small one-room school house. And instead of the Rock Fish River in the Waltons TV show, we had the Feather River flowing right by our schoolhouse.
Being from Alaska, I was very curious about all the different critters I saw when I was outside playing along the side of the mountain.
One Saturday afternoon I was pretending to be a cowboy as I ran around a bunch of huge boulders.
As I rounded one bolder, I spotted a small lizard sunning on one of the rocks. I stopped and just stood there quietly watching the lizard. After a while, I decided to capture the lizard and make it my pet.
I was easily able to get the lizard and spent the next 20 minutes or so just holding and looking at my new pet and noticing it's eyes, ears and mouth.
But I was only 7 and didn't realize that while I was enjoying myself, my new found pet was probably not enjoying my company.
As I sat there on the ground admiring my pet, my lizard friend suddenly bolted and ran from my hands.
Not wanting to lose my lizard pal, I started crawling on all fours between the rocks, looking for my escaped friend - but I couldn't find my new pet.
After a while, I decided to go home.
As I walked back up the path toward our mountain top home, I thought about that lizard and how neat it would have been to keep my reptilian pal for at least a while. Oh well, on to something else.
Back home, I walked into our house and into the living room where my mom asked what I'd been up to. I answered that I'd been playing cowboy around the big rocks, then I headed for the kitchen and a glass of milk.
A few moments later, my mom came into the kitchen behind me and shouted "Mike you get that thing out of here!"
I quickly turned to face my mom, but had no idea what she was talking about. "Get what out of here?" I asked. Mom quickly shot back with "get that lizard out of here."
My mind raced - what lizard? My pet lizard had run off. Again I asked mom, "what lizard?"
Mom had run out of patients with me as she raised her voice with "don't you play games with me young man. You know what lizard. The one on your back. Now those things are dirty. Get that lizard out of this house right this minute."
I quickly looked over my right shoulder, then my left. There it was - my pet lizard - peeking up at me.
Mr. Lizard had run off of my hand, then up the back of my T-shirt, stopping near my left shoulder to tour the world with it's new friend. I was amazed and amused.
"I said get that lizard out of this house right now" shouted mom.
"Ok, ok, yes ma am, I'm going" I said as I quickly headed for the door.
A few moments later I was back down the hill and around the boulders where I'd been playing before. I took the lizard off my back and gently placed it back on the ground. In a flash, the lizard ran off.
Our family didn't live in the Feather River Canyon very long, but over the years, mom and I would laugh about the time that lizard hitch-hiked into our mountain top home on my back.
While we lived on that mountain top, a lizard wasn't the only critter I took home. I did have an encounter with a skunk, but that's another story.
Have fun and keep laughing
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