When I arrived at the home of Millie and Sven, I found a petite woman in hippie garb, hanging onto a tree in her front yard with a megaphone in hand, yelling, "Give peace a chance you bastard!"
"Who are you?" she says to me.
"Gladys Cravittzz, from the, Valley Daily."
"Sven!" she hollered into her megaphone.
A handsome old guy appeared on the front porch.
"The newspaper is here," she said.
He sauntered over.
"So, what exactly is going on?" I asked, turning on my recorder. "A neighbor said there is some kind of a standoff."
Millie started talking first.
"Well, Hunter, the famous king of the jungle, who lived here for nine and a half years, passed away at the end of April and almost immediately after his bark rang out no longer, a beaver and his lovely bride moved into Hunter's sacred stinky pond and began damming up the place."
"That sounds like a problem."
Sven spoke next.
"Our driveway has a culvert that runs underneath. It is important for the water to flow through, so it doesn't wash out."
"Sven came up with a brilliant plan," said Millie, beaming. "He put fencing in front of the culvert, and the Cleavers lost interest in the project."
"It seemed more neighborly than shooting them," said Sven.
"He is not allowed to shoot anything," said Millie. "Not after that one night. Besides, we are pacifists."
"Rumor has it that you two are tree huggers."
"I do like trees," said Millie.
"I got nothing against trees," said Sven.
"Would you classify yourselves as tree huggers then?"
They both shook their heads.
"That's a real good way to wind up with ticks," said Millie. "I wouldn't suggest it."
"After the culvert damming was resolved things quieted down for the most part," said Sven. "We even fixed our pier out back. Two large trees were felled on the other side of the pond, but hey, that's what you are gonna get when your next-door neighbors are beavers. They got to eat too."
"We really have been trying to be civil," said Millie. "They are a young couple full of hopes and dreams. So, we didn't want to, "take them out," so to speak, as strongly suggested by most everybody. Even though they show absolutely no regard for others."
"What is with the megaphone?"
"I can't control my wife," said Sven.
"Sven said we are going to have to get rid of the beavers now that they invaded our yard," said Millie. "I am trying to save the assholes from their own demise."
"She came up with another plan," said Sven.
"I did," said Millie, eyes sparkling. "Sven just needs to go pick up supplies while I keep the tree nibbler at bay."
"Mr. Cleaver is all about soft wood," said Sven. "Seems to really go for the poplars. I don't know why he had to come all the way up here for this one. There are several to keep him busy down by the pond."
"So, what is your plan?" I asked.
"I have to run to town," said Sven. "Be right back."
I spent the next forty-five minutes standing in the front yard with Millie guarding her tree. Every now and then she hollered into her megaphone. In between her outbursts I learned that the two of them have been living here in the black hole just outside Harmony Grove, over thirty years. They raised their combined family here and have been married thirty-six as of yesterday, so they went out for a fancy dinner at a fancy place to celebrate.
"It was a two Old Fashioned wait for our table," said Millie, smiling. "And this place is famous for their Old Fashioneds and long waits. I could have gone for another one, but I was planning to order an expensive cabernet with my filet, and I know after all these years being married to my sweet Sven, just how many buttons I can push. Ya know?"
I nodded. And then she carried on about Hunter.
"I still miss that old geezer," she said. "And all his carryings on. Can't look at the Dingo Dyno Stix shelf at Walgreens without tearing up. But I sure do have a lot more me time."
Tuna, I learned, is their tuxedo cat. He is a young thug with googly eyes and a tiny voice that doesn't match his personality. Grandma Meow Moses is their other ancient, classy bitch of a feline who lives in an assisted living apartment downstairs. The two hate each other to the point of no return. Tuna is forever trying to get to the bottom of the situation and on the other side of her door and Grandma is and will be, forever looking over her shoulder.
They had three children. A daughter and two sons, but tragically lost their daughter almost five years ago. They have seven grandchildren between all three and a great grandson who is already almost three. She loves all those kids very much. And....on and on and on she went.
That woman almost talked me into acoma.
"Shouldn't your husband be back from town by now?" I broke in.
"Oh, my Sven drives the speed limit," she answered.
Praise the lord, a white truck pulled up, Sven stepped out, and I watched the two in action.
Clearly this was not the first project they ever worked on together.
Here is a picture of the latest passive aggressive attempt, by Millie and Sven, against their ill-mannered, oversized rodent neighbors.
"Just keeping the peace," said Millie.
And then they circled the rest of the softwood yard trees in wire fencing as well.
"That ought to do it," she said brushing her hands together. "Nice meeting you."
And they walked into the house.
For more Millie and Sven beaver adventure stories click above on The Cleaver Family.
Thanks for reading.