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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Do Troubles Really Come in Threes?

What wise old sage said that trouble comes in threes?

Was he thinking of Jonah, who got in a whale of trouble on the high seas? How about Noah, the grandaddy of all flood survivors? (Houstonians, take heart.) Or maybe Job, whose very name is synonymous with a wheelbarrow of sorrow?

Sometimes trouble comes quiet and sly, like a mouse. Make that three sets of mice, not blind ones either, but rascally rodents bent on stealing your peace of mind thanks to their chewing, pooping, audaciously annoying ways.

A few weeks back, folks staying in our guest quarters downstairs messaged that they were being observed. In his dash across the living room, a small creature with a pointed snout and elongated body had stopped to regard them carefully. Three traps later, a small family of mammals had been successfully dispatched to a happier hunting ground, but not after thoroughly spooking our guests by leaving small gifts behind in the silverware drawer.

The very next week, the heater in Mike’s Toyota sputtered and died suddenly. Hoping for an easy fix, he dropped it off at the auto repair shop down the hill. The next day, our mechanic called.

“Wa’al, when y’alls motor quit on ya like that, I had a suspicion it was mice that done it. When it gits cold here and a car’s been left sittin’, they crawl into the heater coil. And sure ‘nuf, that’s just what happened. Only in your case, Mickey done moved in with his whole family!”

Our mechanic holding the heater fan of our Toyota complete with nest
The mess under the dashboard that came out of the heating coil of our car

$500 later we got our car back minus Mickey, Minnie and the children.

Mice in the basement or the car might be messy or even costly, but they’re not what’s worryin’ me these days.

It’s the mice in my mind that keep me up at night.

My friend Cheryl Bostrom, a nature photographer and gifted writer, recently sent me a few lines of poetry in which she poignantly captured my mouse-problem.

MICE: A Poem About Calling for Help

“At 3:00 am, sleep skitters

across the room,

a shy mouse, out of reach.

I lie in the dark

and hear more of them

in the walls, the ceiling:

old decisions, choices long past.

regrets, sorrows, fears,

yellow-toothed and dirty,

chewing wires.

At this rate lights will flicker,

come winter.

And so I call You,


Are You there?

Will You answer?

Will You come here once again,

into the infestation?

I’m here, You say.

I’m here.”

– Cheryl Grey Bostrom

While wandering through the bookstore at a conference this past weekend, I spotted a small art cube and knew the words, now nailed to my bookshelf, were meant for me.

If you have mental mice keeping you up at night, too, creating an infestation of worry and fear, take heart, dear friend.

The Mouse-Catcher is here.


"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Copyright 2021, Maggie Wallem Rowe


Maggie's first book, This Life We Share, is available anywhere books are sold.



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