A Squirrel of a Time: A Stephellaneous Life through a Squirrelticular Lens (Part 1)

Wannabe Intro to My Squirrelstory (Like History, but Better)

As I sit at work today, pretending to be a productive employee while scratching my head in hopes of breaking loose a thought or three worthy of a post, I find myself pondering squirrels. And it strikes me that I just may have a particularly curious connection with squirrels in my life – at least compared to the average person. I mean, just how many squirrelly encounters have you had, dear Peoplleaneous? And I don’t mean that time your Uncle Bubba made you lick one for good luck. (Don’t worry, that totally didn’t happen to me. And if it happened to you, you’re a disgusting freak and can’t be my friend anymore.)

Y’all don’t believe me, do you? I’m telling you, homeslices. I have a weird history with squirrels. And I’m gonna tell you about it. As soon as I can figure out how to end this wannabe intro. Fuck it, consider this wannabe intro over.

That Time My Brother tried to Resurrect a Squirrel in the Bathtub (Holyfuck, that heading just spoiled the plot. Who comes up with this shit?!)

I think this one is less of a memory and more of something that has been implanted through countless retellings, because I believe I was like two when this happened. But since it’s the earliest “memory” of squirrels in my life, it must be told and it must come first.

My brother is a few years older than me, and depending on who tells the story, he was somewhere between five and eight. But given my age at the time, he had to have beenΒ at least seven. (“Why didn’t you just say seven to begin with and have done?,” is your logical query. To which I shriek, “I thought you knew me!,” and dissolve into a heap of tears.)

Anywhoodles. We’re living at my mamaw’s house, right? (She had this weird, awesome floor that you could pluck these little wooden tile thingies from. Pluck. Pluck. Slide back in like a funky puzzle piece. Pluck. Pluck. Man, I loved playing with that floor.) Well. Apparently B (Ima call him “B” for brother, aight?) had a soft spot for animals back then. (I say back then, because he sure as fuck doesn’t now. But don’t worry about it. This is a happy story.) So mamaw catches him waddling into the house, in nothing but his He-Man underwear. In his arms, he’s got this squirrel. His arms are wrapped around it, and it’s dangling down the length of B’s little body. It’s stiff and crispy – it had been burnt to a crisp when a transformer blew – and B’s sobbing and waddling into the house with the squirrel’s tail dragging between his legs.

Mamaw, naturally, freaks right the fuck out. “B! What the hell are you doing?! PUT THAT SQUIRREL BACK OUTSIDE!” B chokes out through the snotty sobs, “But Yamaw…*sniffle choke*…I have to give him a bath!” (This is why B was in his underwear. He had stripped down outside after formulating his plan to bathe the squirrel back to life.) B was dead serious, too. He really thought he could soak the squirrel in the tub and make everything right again. “Yamaw, yamaw, he needs a bath and everything will be okay!”

squirreltub

It took much pleading and coaxing to convince B to let mamaw pry the squirrel from him. (Who knows what she did with it – that’s never been included in the telling…) It took ages to calm him down and dry his tears; mamaw said it was the most pitiful thing she’d ever seen.

And no, B didn’t become a taxidermist. Or a faith healer.

Smile though Your Heart is Aching

The next memory I have is the infamous Squirrel Funeral. And no, it wasn’t even for the aforementioned crispy critter. As memory serves (mine and others’), this was a couple of years later, but it also took place at mamaw’s.

This time, my aunt found a dead squirrel in the yard. (What’s the deal with all the dead squirrels at mamaw’s? Kinda creepy, really.) And she decided that we needed to have funerary services to see the squirrel off into the afterlife. She was super serious, yo, solemn and dramatic as ever.

She and her father fashioned a coffin out of a cigar box, and we – me and my siblings – were ordered to prepare remarks and dress for the occasion. My aunt would deliver the eulogy.

This is a Google image of a squirrel funeral. No photographic evidence exists of mine.
This is a Google image of a squirrel funeral. No photographic evidence exists of mine.

We all gathered in the alley behind mamaw’s house. Just us kids. We dug a hole and set the squirrel’s box beside the dirt mound. We fashioned a cross of twigs and berries (shut up, pervert) and planted it in the ground at the end of the hole. Then we stood in a circle, holding hands. My aunt said a prayer and delivered the eulogy. I know we named the squirrel; and I swear it was something like Edward. (Y’all are right – something about me and “Ed-” names.) Each of us kids took turns saying our parting words to Edward and delivering him unto the earth. Y’all, this was some super solemn shit. And while I don’t remember things that were said, I do remember making shit up – about what a good squirrel Edward had been. How he was a good friend and playmate. Pretty sure we even made up a wife and kids that he was leaving behind. Some pretty creative and morbid shit.

With all of that finished up, we lowered his tiny King Edward cigar coffin (holyfuck, THAT’S why we named him Edward!) into the leaf-strewn ground and buried him. As soon as the dirt mound had filled the hole, the others went about their business. And I don’t remember many specifics, but I do remember lingering behind by myself. Crying. I cried for Edward the squirrel. And, in what was perhaps one of the earliest instances, I remember contemplating life and death and the finite-ness of our corporeal existence.

Depressing, no? Don’t worry, it’s not all like that. (It totally kind of is, though.)

Know Thyself, and Know Thy Enemy, or Devil, Thy Name is Squirrel

Another tale from mamaw’s house (years later, same mamaw, different house). In this neighborhood, the squirrels were vicious. A warring faction emerged, overthrowing the peaceful nut hoarders and challenging the humans for dominion. At least, that’s how Mr. Smith saw things.

Mr. Smith was a neighbor of mamaw’s, and while his wife was perfectly sane, Mr. Smith was in the throes of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and who knows what else. And for some reason, perfectly docile Mr. Smith one day became the archenemy of the neighborhood squirrels: specifically the ones who dared trespass into his beloved tree.

Mr. Smith adamantly argued that the squirrels started it. That they stood atop the branches of his trees and taunted him with their racket and turned acorns into weapons, hurling the tiny projectiles at lightening speed toward his shiny pate. This was the squirrel of Mr. Smith’s waking nightmares:

Behold the tiny assassin, armed to the teeth, preparing to shoot an eye out and steal your wife.
Behold the tiny assassin, armed to the teeth, preparing to shoot an eye out and steal your wife.

Naturally, Mr. Smith launched a series of counterattacks. His two weapons of choice? The waterhose (affixed with a jet spray nozzle and the force of a firehose) and a wheelbarrow of bricks. Mr. Smith could (and did) spend countless hours outside, launching brick after brick into his beloved tree and spraying them with the waterhose of doom. And this otherwise godfearing man, hurled vicious swearwords up to those “NO GOOD BASTARD MOTHERFUCKERS! I’LL KILL YOU! GET OUTTA MY TREE!”

And while his poor wife was forever lamenting this new side of Mr. Smith, some of us who witnessed it were delighted. I was old enough to be aware that I was witnessing the cognitive decline of a human being. So while I was torn between sorrow and amusement, I’m ashamed to admit that Mr. Smith’s War on Squirrels has provided many hours of laughter in my life.

But I swear, y’all. Perhaps the years have colored my memories a bit too much. But I swear sometimes those squirrels really did mock him with their loud squirrel gibberish and the occasional rain of acorns pelting the poor bastard. (And, by the way, I was Team Squirrel all the fucking way. I know. I’m a terrible person.)

Sometimes Mr. Smith would finish gathering all of his bricks back into the wheelbarrow and start toward the house when one of those little fuckers would let fly a squirrelfanity, causing Mr. Smith to slam on the brakes, wheel around and launch another brick.

He never did catch one. For all his effort, his aims never found purchase. And one day, well. One day he just stopped coming outside.

I said this was a happier tale. Damn y’all, what’d you go and make me cry for?

~

I have more squirrel tales to tell, so I’m going to end this here, as Part 1. I have at least three more mini-tales to go, but this is already quite lengthy so I’m breaking it into two parts. I’ll have the rest ready for you tomorrow!

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55 thoughts on “A Squirrel of a Time: A Stephellaneous Life through a Squirrelticular Lens (Part 1)

  1. I once tried to resurrect a frog by dunking it in water (which I still think at least shows an internal logic, if not a firm grasp of reality), also as a child, also at MY mamaw’s house.

    It didn’t work…

    (How’s that for a twist ending?!?!)

    Liked by 5 people

  2. That’s exactly what our Hispanic squirrels look like (uniform) but they have motorcycles as well… I baptized my first cat with holy water from Lourdes. She was curiously ungrateful and my Nana couldn’t give me a row for laughing.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I was at a nature park once and there was a particular squirrel that wouldn’t stop licking my big toe. I’m not sure if it had a fetish, or my toe somehow tasted like acorns. I was equally disturbed by either possibility. I’m excited to read part 2. This post was hilarious, as always

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Haha, squirrels are great! I don’t have a lot of stories, really, but my neighbour across the street has a pet squirrel (she’s a vet, and always has a few really obscure pets), and this squirrel has a really odd liking for stealing and drinking people’s beer whenever it’s around… Kind of makes me wonder if that’s a normal thing for squirrels to like or if this one just decided to be an alcoholic…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. How did you find such appropriate pictures? WTF?! I seem to be the unusual one of the bunch for not having had any strange encounters with squirrels. I had a pet turtle as a kid, and it disappeared one day…my parents told me it ‘ran away’, but I seem to recall that we had a strange-tasting soup later that week…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I was just a little kid back then, and believed what my parents told me (about the turtle having run away). Only years afterwards did I recall this incident…and no, I’m pretty sure we didn’t eat the poor turtle, but I remember that one of my uncles ate his pet rabbit…don’t know whether there’s a link there.
        I wonder what you would find if you looked up ‘acorn fetish’…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Oh. Holy hell. Do not Google “acorn fetish.” πŸ˜‚

        I could chat with ya all night, but I gotta sleep….I’ve been staying up too late with y’all and it’s catching up with me!

        P.S. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a pet. But if they keep testin’ me!

        Goodnight!!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Bless your poor brother’s little heart!

    I can’t believe this is a multi-part series. I am in awe. And am looking forward to the rest.

    My closest encounter with a squirrel was working as a teacher at a very rural school when I was asked if I’d like to eat one. I thought the kid was FOS but apparently he had a bunch in his freezer and eating squirrel is a thing. I declined.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Not that I know of, except the occasional accidental flying squirrel when they tussle too hard in the trees and one gets flung to the ground. It always freaks me out when I see that happen…but the little dudes get up and scamper off like nothing happened.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. The hubs finds pictures of squirrels in costume inherently funny, for some reason….

    I had a squirrel fall down my chimney once. I would like to say hilarity ensued, but that’s only applicable if by “hilarity” you mean “squirrel poo.”

    Liked by 2 people

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