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A Christmas Miracle on Nacoochee Road

A Christmas Miracle on Nacoochee Road


Or . . . Why I will never sing the Chipmunks’ Christmas Song Again!

On many a night, when I lived in that hovel near Dahlonega, made famous by the History Channel, BBC and PBS,  Woods Rats climbed into the V of my Explorer’s V6 engine and started building a nest.  As soon as I cranked the engine in the morning, they would either be fried or else quickly jump ship.  I would vacuum out the poop and pinestraw from the V and go on . . . with little harm being done.

Last week, as soon as the snow melted off the streets, I took off in my good ole Ford Explorer to buy groceries.  I noticed that a section of the carpet in the back of the car.  It was quickly evident that some of the pistons were not firing, but made it to the supermarket. On the way home I started smelling gasoline.  When I got home, I saw gas running down the side of the engine and the V of the V6 was filled with wood chips and regurgitated fibers from the carpet in the back of the car. Chipmunks!  I opened up the air intake to see if the filter was clogged.  It was . . . by 23 pieces of my car’s wiring! 

The tow truck driver said that it was a miracle that the Explorer didn’t blow up.  The chipmunks had also bit into the fuel line.  The dogs were in the car with me.   We all would have been incinerated and from thence forward you wouldn’t get any new POOF news letters.  However, I do admit that death by roasting would have been a far greater concern to me than not being able to write more newsletters.  So I can count that non-incident as my bonified Christmas Miracle.

Now the bonified anti-miracle at Christmastime.  The repairs will cost $1100 and the car has still not been worked on after eight days.  The meter for my rental car is ticking merrily away.  So I will be singing to Santa Clause, “All I want for Christmas is my fixed up car, my fixed up car, my fixed up car!”  So I won’t be able to give all readers a box of gold, frankinsense and myrrh, as promised!   Ho-ho-ho!


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Chipmunks have destroyed 2 circuits in my house that I have had to run down and repair. I have tried every way to eliminate this scourge from hell to no avail. They keep coming back. Shooting, trapping, poison, dogs and ferrets cannot stop this menace . It is a daily vigil to seek out these parasites and destroy them with the zeal and vigor of Attila The Hun.

    • So you mean that I am not the Lone Ranger? I had never heard of such a thing. The garage said that he had repaired chipmunk damage in five cars and one pickup during the previous four weeks.


    Oh, Dear me, Richard! Sometimes I think you are a walking disaster magnet. Hope you get your car back soon.

    • Me too! It makes me nervous when I see things in the United States melting down quickly and I don’t have working wheels.


    Marry Christmas!!! Richard…Glad to hear the chipmunks didn’t get you. GOD Bless…

    • Thank you! They are devilish little critters to be so cute.


    OMG ! That certainly was some miracle Richard, I wouldn’t even think of them as cute if that’s the damage they do and putting peoples lives at risk I hope your car is going to be O.K. and that you will have a Merry X,mas. Also wishing you all the very best of luck for the coming New Year 2019 And thank you for all your interesting posts throughout this year, I have thoroughly enjoyed them.


    Never heard of chipmunks doing that before. Up in my neck of the woods it’s usually the field mice wreaking havoc on the cars. This past summer my dog’s vet mentioned mice had caused $1500 damage to his Mercedes SUV. I came across this article today. I had never encountered the term “converso” before reading your articles.

    Thanks for all the good reading and have a good Christmas!

    • At my previous location, woods rats would bed down in the V of the V6, but not do any damage. Evidently the chipmunks smelled the urine from the rats. The repair shop said that chipmunks or squirrels had done several thousand dollars damage to a brand new pickup. They attacked wires all over the truck because they were coated with a plastic made from soy beans. Merry Christmas to you too!


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