My mother has found the perfect pet. She just doesn’t realize it yet.
A clever little red squirrel has been trying to get my mother’s attention for months. “He’s such a pest!” my mother complains. But the squirrel does not give up.
He has become quite tame, hanging out below the bird feeder, waiting for seeds to drop. He would much prefer to get them from the feeder himself, but my father has inconsiderately installed a length of stovepipe on the pole that holds the feeder, and the squirrel cannot climb up the slippery metal. Instead, he waits impatiently for the birds to drop seeds—which they always do—eating them as fast as they drop. When he runs out of seeds, he finds other things to do, like dig up my mother’s planters, leaving dirt all over her deck.
“Is he digging something up, or burying something?” I asked my mom.
“I have no idea! He’s a troublemaker!”
Last night, a bear finally finished off the birdfeeder my father made a few years back. The poor feeder had been knocked to the ground countless times by countless bears, and my dad always nailed it back together. This time, it was shattered beyond repair.
My dad went down to his workshop and started building a new feeder. I wonder how many times this feeder will be knocked to the ground and survive. It looks pretty stout—but so did the last one.
In the meantime, my mother didn’t want the birds to suffer, so she put a meatloaf pan filled with seeds at the top of the pole. My dad removed the stovepipe while he was working on the feeder and, in no time flat, the red squirrel climbed to the top of the pole and knocked the pan down, then sat at the foot of the bird feeder, gorging on the seeds piled below.
“This is more like it!” I could almost hear the squirrel say.
My father replaced the stovepipe, my mother refilled the meatloaf pan, and order was restored. The little red squirrel, however, was not happy. We were sitting outside on the deck and the squirrel positioned himself on a short branch directly over my mother’s head.
“Chip, chip, chip!” he said loudly.
“Be quiet!” my mother said. The squirrel shook his tail and got hazelnut.
“He has a serious beef with you, Mom,” I told her. “He is trying to be your friend, and you are not very friendly.”
“He is not my friend!” my mother said, almost as loudly as the red squirrel.
“He’s a perfect pet,” I continued. “I don’t know why you pamper those birds and ignore this fellow who wants to be your friend.” The squirrel continued. We could no longer carry on a conversation with him ranting away. He sounded like a late-night radio host on a tear.
My mom jumped up, stomped her feet and waved her fists at the squirrel. “You get out of here!” she hollered. The squirrel ran up the tree.
A moment passed.
“Plunk! Plunk!” A handful of pine cone seeds dropped onto the deck.
“Is it raining?” my dad asked.
More pinecones fell, directly on our heads.
“It’s that squirrel!” my mom said. “You stop that right now!” A shower of pinecones fell.
I think my mother should just give in and adopt the little red squirrel. Sure, he’s a troublemaker and full of mischief, but he obviously wants to be part of the family. I suggested it.
“He’s not my pet!” my mother said, indignantly.
But I’m not sure she gets to decide.
till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.