I have a story for you today that I wish I had a picture or video for but we will have to rely on my words to tell the tale.
The week after Christmas, we had an overnight for the four grands. As I do every morning while the coffee is brewing, I opened the blinds to the back patio and slipped on my flip flops to go out and fill the bird feeder. We were carrying on with morning business when I heard Caroline ask what that squirrel was doing.
I said he is always under the feeders, helping his chubby self to whatever the birds have thrown to the ground as I went over to stand beside her. There were, at that point in time, two feeders in our yard hanging on separate shepherd’s hooks and as I peered out at them, I saw that the squirrel appeared to be trying to climb up the pole between the middle of the two where they meet at the ground. I commented that he was pretty ambitious thinking he could climb that thin rod of iron and was about to move on when Caroline declared she thought he was stuck.
By now we had a crowd of faces gathered and Russ came to join us. The interloper was indeed wedged between the very narrow area at the bottom of the two poles.
I assured her that squirrels don’t get stuck. They wiggle themselves out of any messes and are quite agile. We stood there and watched a bit of his antics as he turned himself repeatedly into various angles. His backside was facing us and that bushy tail was turning like a ceiling fan as you could see his head and arms emerging upward every now and again from the other side.
By now even Russ was convinced he was stuck and Caroline was starting to panic. I still was convinced the critter would finagle his way out and was about to turn around to go pour my coffee when Caroline stirred some kind of weird compassion inside me that I didn’t know I could muster for this species as she urgently cried, “LOLA!!!! He’s going to die! We have to do something!”
So against my better judgment and with fear that he would retaliate for every unkind thing I have ever said about his people, I donned my flip flops yet again and trudged out to the scene of the crime. I expected him to get a burst of adrenaline as I approached and was fearful which direction he would run when he freed himself. But instead he just kind of stopped struggling and looked at me. There we were. Eyes locked.
I kept my bare toes as far back as I could while still reaching the top of one of the hooks and pulled as hard as I could on it to open some room at the bottom. My efforts gave the beast enough space to pull himself free and thank the good Lord who created us both, he scampered away from me instead of towards me.
The cheering of the crowd welcomed me back to our kitchen and, while the effort ended up breaking the shepherd’s hook at the base, I am glad I was able to rescue the varmint.
He didn’t learn much of a lesson and has returned with all his rotundity to dine under the remaining feeder. I swear a couple of times he has tipped his paw my way in a salute of gratitude.
His fellow squirrels seem to pay me some respect as I see them perched on walls and in trees as we take our walks. Maybe it’s my imagination. I don’t know.
Have I turned over a new leaf?
They are still pesky rats with fancy tails and I resent their squirrelish ways as they fly about the trees and dart in front of cars, but not enough to actually put one to death in our backyard.
So I guess, like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes this year. And no, we won’t be putting one of those corn cob picnic tables up any time soon.
Even Grinches have limits <3