Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mighty Squirrel

Here is a true story that I wrote for Maya when she was about four. Linda and I have been friends since we lived almost next door to each other in El Paso when we were 12. Bobby is a retired fire fighter.

Now, in Linda and Bobby and Alex's yard, outside of Fairbanks, there are many squirrels. One year, way over ten years ago, before Alex was born and while Linda and Bobby still had a wonderful St. Bernard named King, there was a squirrel they called Mighty Squirrel, who really earned his name.

Like all squirrels in the very far north, Mighty Squirrel was reddish brown and had a long tail (although it was not as long and as bushy as the tails of the squirrels in the parks in California) that he liked to arch over his back while he sat and looked at the world and hold out straight for balance when he ran along the fence. All summer long, he labored to fill his food cache for winter. Since summer in Fairbanks is short, and winter is amazingly long, he worked from morning till night, as hard as he could. He gathered mostly spruce cones, carrying them to his cache and hiding them. As he sat and considered which tree to harvest next, he chattered and chattered. As he ran from tree to tree, he chattered and chattered. But he was silent while he gathered the cones, because his cheeks were stuffed and he couldn't chatter. From early in the morning, till late at night, Mighty Squirrel chattered and chattered, sat and considered, ran from tree to tree, and gathered spruce cones. Linda and Bobby and King heard him when they got up in the morning, and during the day as they went about their chores, and at night when they were ready to go to bed.

Now, Mighty Squirrel loved strawberries, and so he used to pick them out of Linda and Bobby's berry patch. It wasn't enough that he would eat the berries, Linda and Bobby were not so selfish as to deny the occasional berry to a squirrel. No, that wasn't enough, what Mighty Squirrel had to do was pick lots of berries and leave them on the stairs to dry. When they had dried, then he would carry them to his winter cache, and save them for the cold days. He also liked to save mushrooms that he found in the woods this way, for he was a good forager. Linda and Bobby tried everything they could think of to stop Mighty Squirrel from taking so many berries, since they had planted them for their own use. Finally they got a plastic owl and set it in the center of the berry patch, and that stopped that. Mighty Squirrel thought the plastic owl was real, and since he didn't want to end up being fed to baby owls, he stayed out of the berry patch.

However, that wasn't the end of the troubles caused by Mighty Squirrel, oh no it wasn't. You see, Mighty Squirrel wanted to get into the house in the worst way. No one knows why he wanted to get in, and no one knows what he thought happened in there. Whatever it was that he thought they were doing, he wanted to be part of it. Bobby knows that he wanted in because he began biting holes in the screens. Mighty Squirrel would chew a hole in a screen, and Linda and Bobby would fix the hole, and Mighty Squirrel would chew another. Finally Bobby talked to the screen man about it, and they decided to replace the nylon screens with wire, so that Mighty Squirrel couldn't chew through them. So, Bobby took all the screens off the windows and took them to town and paid a lot of money to have them made squirrel-proof. Then he took them back out to the house and put them back on the windows. Finally, he could relax.

The very next morning after Bobby had put the squirrel-proof screens on the windows, when he got up to go to work, he went down to the kitchen and there was Mighty Squirrel, sitting on the kitchen table. He had chewed a wonderful hole in the middle of one of those wire screens! When Mighty Squirrel saw Bobby, he ran for cover.

Bobby got a broom and chased him, going as quietly as he could so King wouldn't hear and wake up. Bobby knew that if King knew there was a squirrel in the house he would chase it, and Mighty Squirrel would run under the furniture, and that great big dog would follow him, and the house would be a shambles! So, there went Bobby with his broom, swish, swish, swish, just as quietly as he could. And there went Mighty Squirrel, running for all he was worth, run, run, run, as fast as he could. Well, luckily Bobby was able to chase Mighty Squirrel out the front door without waking King, and after work he fixed the screen. And the interesting thing is that Mighty Squirrel never came back in. So, whatever it was that he thought was going to happen when he got into the house, being chased by a big man with a broom was not what he had in mind at all.


John Eaton said...

Lovely, MG.

The gangsta squirrels of Jekyll Island say, "Go Granny, Go Granny."

John :)

Maya's Granny said...

Long live the gansta squirrels of Jekyll Island.

Joy Des Jardins said...

The gangsta squirrels of Jekyll Island....that is so great J. What a wonderful story.