Sunday, February 21, 2010

Your Sunday Squirrel

With all this nice weather we've been having, you know what I haven't seen a lot of at Denny Park? Squirrels. I've only seen ones and twos of them all week. Back in January, there were always quite a few of them milling around and being squirrely. Gosh, I hope they haven't been throwing themselves into traffic. They're remarkably unsavvy when it comes to cars. That reminds me of another squirrel story from my hometown of Edmonds. This happened at least 30 years ago. My mom, sister and I were heading off to mass one Sunday, late as usual. My dad only joined us for holidays, such as Easter and Christmas, and even then, it was a grudging attendance. So we're driving down a road near our house. My mom's at the wheel, going rather fast. We always ended up standing due to our habitual lateness. Always. But she thought that speed would give us the edge in the matter. She was always wrong. Always. Anyhow, we're heading off to mass when I hear my mom gasp. I hear this slight ping! sound by the right front tire, then she slams on the brakes. We're all jerked forward. All this loose stuff in the car flies to the front. The car comes to a jarring halt. "Oh, I hit a squirrel," she says. Apparently, the little fellow had darted out from nowhere and she had no time to react.

My mom has always been an animal lover, but she prefers birds over everything other than horses. She tends to look at squirrels disparagingly, because they eat what she puts out for her beloved birds. But that doesn't mean she wouldn't be completely devastated if she ran over a squirrel. "What are you talking about?" my sister asked, pointing down. "He's right there." It was true. There was a squirrel right by the side of the car, looking a little woozy, but very much alive. He staggered off in the direction from which he had come and was seen no more. Here's what happened: heedless of our rapidly approaching car, the squirrel decided to cross. Instead of certain death, his timing was such that in his mad scramble, he had run directly into our car's hubcap. Back then, they were made of metal, which accounted for the ping! noise. So we didn't hit him; he hit us - with his head.

We were of course late for mass and stood, but that was quite a bit better than being late, standing and having the demise of a squirrel on our consciences. So that is the second of my two and only two squirrel stories. Both of them are true.

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