Three kings and three decades later my sweet Sven and I remain here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove.
Out our back door is a spring fed pond which can be pretty.
Then warm weather moves in, and the pond becomes a science experiment of assorted algae, singing families of frogs and visiting waterfowl, making life exciting in a scummy pond sort of way.
During Hunter's decade on the throne, he was boss of everything, including the murky pond, just as Sweet Dakota Jones and Leonard, his predecessors had been, just as I had always wished that every one of those dogs had not.
Two weeks after the passing of our beloved dictator with the loudest bark, I said to Sven, "The pier is going to float away."
Sven stepped out on the back deck and said, "The culvert must be plugged."
While he was on the pond side of the driveway standing in mucky water, pulling sticks, mud, and leaves out of it with a rake, I was on the creek side, jamming a shovel into it.
All of a sudden, the small trickle of water coming my way turned into Niagra Falls and the pond gradually returned to its normal level.
Then it began to rise again.
"Millie," said Sven over the phone. "I know why the culvert keeps getting jammed."
"I was down there pulling shit out of it and a beaver swam up carrying a stick in its mouth."
This had me laughing on the other end of the line.
"What'd you do?"
"I yelled at him," he said.
This was a lie.
Sven only yells in his sleep.
"You yelled at him?"
"Well, I said, hey you beaver. Go away."
So, it had not been dementia that had Hunter that last week of his geriatric life dragging me down the driveway in my water filled boots, after having pulled his ass up and out of the pond with the sling, and then hanging onto his lavender scented calming collar for dear life, trying to convince the old coot to turn around.
I never should have doubted the senior tyrant.
That king knew all about those beavers and their shenanigan ways.
"Puppy-dog, if you can hear me up there with all your Dingo Dyno Stix filled with hamburger and such, I am sorry."
Back here on earth, Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver are a hardworking pair of lovers with buck teeth and water slapping tails.
"They can really pack it in," said Sven after a second bout of unplugging the culvert.
"Why do they dam it up?" I asked.
"To form a pond," he answered.
"It already is a pond."
I have no intention of researching beavers online or asking Siri any questions, if you know what I am saying.
Sven however, made some good old-fashioned phone calls in regard to relocating the squatters.
It turns out, nobody likes beavers.
Not even the DNR.
"Got a .22?" seems to be the question of the week.
Sven is not allowed to shoot a gun since the night he took out our bedroom window.
"I have a plan," he told me after I watched Mr. Cleaver come ashore, snap off a small tree with his fangs and return to the water, before I could set my glass of wine down and take a picture.
Sven returned with rebar posts and fencing.
Law and order are out the window.
Chaos has ensued.
"I am going to make it harder for them," he said.
"Will it be easier for us to take apart their handy work once they dam up your whole fence?"
"No," he answered.
This is so exciting.
For more Millie and Sven beaver adventure stories click above on The Cleaver Family.
Thanks for reading.