Thursday, December 9, 2010
I hate squirrels; they are just rodents with pretty tails. I always ask my brothers to bring their guns and shoot them, but of course they don't, because they can't hunt in town. Gerald can hardly believe that I enjoy eating "Brother Squack" (as our grandfather always called them). Grandpa called all animals he shot "Brother". We also enjoyed "Brother Ji-Buck" (Jack Rabbit). My brother Norman told me that he remembered the last time Grandpa shot a dove and Grandpa heard its mate crying all night long, that he never shot another dove!
There the squirrels are--every year--trying to ruin the garden, eating the bird feed, and fighting me for the walnuts! I would curse them and ask, "Why can't you just eat acorns?"
Last year the snow had covered everything and I could see the squirrels trying to dig where they'd hidden the nuts. I threw out some bread scraps for the birds and there came the squirrels, scaring away the birds and eating the bread scraps. We put out bird feed every day at the "fall display"--the bales of straw with pumpkins, gourds, squash, Indian corn--to watch the birds eat.
There they were--three of those rodents--a big one, a medium one, and a small one--scampering over the bales and eating what I'd meant for the birds. I rushed out to shoo them away. Gerald, the old softie, said, "Oh, they look like a family." I said, "Don't you go getting sentimental on me; they're just rodents!" He said, "Yeah, yeah, I know, with pretty tails!" I had sprayed the pumpkins, etc., with polyurethane to keep them pretty and perhaps keep the squirrels from eating them, but they were undeterred! In a short time they had chewed away the fall display!
After several days of the snow not melting, I could see those dreaded creatures, struggling, digging around for the nuts they'd buried. After seeing their struggle, I left them alone when I saw them at the fall display eating the feed and the scraps. They even ate leftover garlic bread. My brother Les said, "Maybe they're Italian squirrels." The three of us would look out the window and kept seeing the squirrels get fatter.
One day, I exclaimed, "Oh, Gerald, come and take a picture; look at Chunky; he's holding the bread in his little paws!" Les wailed, "Gerald, come here, she's named them." I tried to slink away in embarrassment at getting caught being affectionate about the rodents, but Les persisted, "Oh, come on now, what's the others names?" He kept teasing, "We know you've named all of them." I sheepishly answered, "Cheeky and Chubby." Both of them laughed and chanted "Cheeky, Chubby and Chunky!"
Les said, "Once you've named them, you can't eat them!"