Anytime I encounter a raccoon themed meme or social media post, I remember the night I fought Rocket the Raccoon before he was famous in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
A quick fun fact: In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Rocket is referred to as 13 different monikers? One of which was … trash panda.
The leadership of some Boy Scout Troops have: Scout Master, Assistant Scout Master, Senior Patrol Leader, and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. My Scout Master for Troop 300 was Bill Hecox, and my Dad was the assistant. My Senior Patrol Leader was Tim Hecox, Bill’s son, and I was the assistant.
Generally on Scout hikes the leadership camped in a different site than the rest of the troop, yet nearby. Between the four of us we would share “luxury” items such as instant coffee. By sharing, I meant the weight of those items was even distributed evenly amongst our backpacks.
Bill and Dad’s favorite “luxury” item was coffee such as Folgers. The metal cylinder container (yes, in the old days it was metal) served as a sauce pan / cooking container to boil water.
One particular hike we still had a rather full Folger’s can. My Dad had uncharacteristically left it out on the picnic table before we went to sleep …
THE BEST PART OF WAKIN’ UP
I can tell ya 30 years later the ‘best of part of wakin’ up’ isn’t Folgers in my cup!
I have either a small bladder or an active bladder (still do) Sometime that night, I woke up to use the bathroom – the woods, preferably the closest tree. If you’re tent camping or ever been, you know this is a production.
You mentally prepare yourself to leave your warm cocoon of a sleeping bag, strap on boots, and find your flashlight. All the while, not waking up your sleepmate, which was my Dad and he’s a light sleeper.
I unzipped the tent so I can exit. I heard an unusual noise, not associated with the forest. I shined my flashlight towards the source.
My spotlight falls on a raccoon perched on top of the forgotten coffee can!
He had managed to rip open and pry into the plastic top. He stared at me for a half-of-a-second sizing me up. Coffee grounds he had been munching on were falling away from his maw with each slow crunch.
I had interrupted Rocket from his caffeine fix!
I yelled at him in a vain attempt to shoo him away. He casually drop down on the table, then hop down on the bench seating. I hissed at him in another attempt to clear him from our campsite. Before Rocket became famous as a guardian of the galaxy, he was a harden criminal, which I plain forgot.
He HISSED BACK!
Suddenly, he charged the tent.
SHIT. SHIT. SHIT, as I fumbled to zip up the tent. Like any American horror film, I franticly tried to close the door before the killer attacks me. As I complete the zip, Rocket crashes against the tent.
My flashlight was illuminating an OVER CAFFEINATED, ANGRY RACCOON. His teeth were bare, and snarling at me. With my free hand, I patted around for anything that to fend him off. I grasped our frying pan. Without hesitation, I smashed my side of the nylon tent but square on his nose.
A dull thud was all I heard once I connected.
That only managed to scared Rocket enough to back away from the door. I’ll be damned if I’m held hostage in my tent especially since I had to pee. I cautiously left my tent with the frying pan and not the flashlight.
I didn’t want my night vision to be wrecked by the flashlight. With a frying pan in hand, I relieved myself.
No sign of a caffeinated raccoon.
The Next Morning
My Dad’s first question, “What the hell was all the racket last night?”
“Oh that?” I answered coyly. “I fought Rocket the Raccoon last night.“