Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Mom Versus the Squirrels

Back when I was in grade school, my mom threw frosting at a squirrel.

She absolutely loathed squirrels. (She still hates them, I'm guessing; she's just not as violent about it now.) The reason for her disgust was twofold:

1) Squirrels liked to dig in her potted plants, hiding their nuts and various other small trinkets in them. In the process, they cut through roots and even completely displaced the flowers she had lovingly planted. Our deck out back had about ten planters throughout the summer - not including the ones around the rest of the yard - so they often visited the backyard to hide their stashes.

2) These nimble little rodents always stole from the bird feeder in front of our house, which, no matter how often she greased the pole on which it stood, no matter how many squirrel-proof shields she attached, no matter what terrible spices she scattered on the ground, could not be defended. The squirrels would still make death-defying EvelKnievel jumps from our roof to the feeder, always landing on their little paws and scrambling down to the succulent seed within. It ticked my mom off because they scared away the beautiful birds who usually visited us.

Whenever a squirrel appeared on the deck or in the feeder, my mom would become a different person. Her usually a sweet, happy demeanor would be replaced with a yelling, stomping, fist-waving version of the Black Knight, declaring to the rodents in her yard that none may pass. Her yelling in the front yard sent the squirrels from bird feeder to bushes, in an interesting imitation of their flying squirrel cousins. The same on the backyard deck would send them from the planters to the giant tree out back, scurrying past the big round thermometer we'd nailed to it and up to the safety of their nests.

Picture, if you will, the stereotypical cranky old man on his porch, shaking his cane at those dang kids running through his yard and trampling his lovely grass. Replace the old man with my mom, and direct the yells toward squirrels instead.

Now replace the cane with a can of chocolate frosting.

I don't remember why the can of frosting was so close at hand - maybe she was making a cake, or maybe she was reaching for something less deadly in the cupboard when the squirrel appeared on deck. She stomped out toward her nemesis, frosting in hand, frightening the squirrel from the deck to the giant tree. It paused on the trunk beside the thermometer.

Then, it taunted her with a fuzzy tail-twitch.

Maybe she didn't even register what she was doing. Maybe she was just in a blind rage toward the squirrel intent on destroying all her hard work, the squirrel who always retreated to a safe distance and then shook his fuzzy butt in her face. She pulled back and fired.

Luckily for Mr. Fuzzybutt, my mom's aim was a little off. Instead of hitting the squirrel, who scampered to a safer branch, she nailed the big round thermometer. A shower of chocolatey goodness spattered on the tree. The thermometer never worked again.

You'd think that would teach my mom not to throw things at squirrels. That incident proved that, unless you have a BB gun (like my grandma), you're not likely to hit them, and they will just come back and taunt you a second time. 

But my mom is persistent. Later that summer, a squirrel again raised her ire. She had just installed a corn cob feeder out front. Hopefully, she thought, the squirrels would be attracted to the corn and leave the bird feeder alone. She couldn't chase off the squirrels, but maybe they could cohabit peacefully.

No such luck. When a squirrel next appeared in the bird seed, my mom grabbed a corn cob and snuck out front. (Again, I don't know where her ammunition comes from; it just seems to materialize whenever she needs it. It's her weird superpower.) I followed close behind, hoping for hilarity akin to the frosting incident.

She was in front of the house, sneaking up on the bird feeder, one cob-laden arm pulled back to aim, when my grandma's voice called, "What are you doing?!"

We turned. Grandma had parked down the block, having come into town to run some errands. She came to our place to say hi, as she often did, only to find my mom about to commit squirrelcide. 

My mom quickly hid the corn cob behind her back. "Oh! N-nothing! Hi Mom!"

Proof that no matter how old you get, Mom can still make you behave. I never saw her throw anything at squirrels after that.

1 comment:

  1. In my mind I take care of the little rodents!! It's not pretty. I also used cayenne pepper on the topsoil. They do not like that.


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