Papa: Did you see my squirrel out there?
Julie: Is he eating all the bird food?
Papa: Come look. He's dead. I shot him.
And it was. So, if you had any fear that the squirrel hunting days were over, take a deep sigh of relief. Papa shot the squirrel and laid its dead carcass right next to the bird feeder, hoping, but failing, to scare the other squirrels away. Within thirty seconds of watching the dead squirrel body lying pathetically in the grass, another squirrel came up and started eating bird seed off of the grass right next to it. I told Papa his theory didn't work and he better dispose of the animal remains before we all get some weird squirrel flu. I mean, we could have been the beginning of the next flu pandemic! Right when the swine flu started spreading, Grammy got sick and we obviously thought the worst. Luckily, she had the flu, but not of the swine variety. Her doctor, however, told her she wasn't allowed to cook to keep it from spreading to the rest of us, so instead, she just hovered in the kitchen and watched Papa and me. I could tell that not being able to help was killing her and on Soup and Sandwich Night I caught her stirring our soup, so Papa and I scolded her and sent her out of the kitchen. Anyway, all of our preventative actions didn't help because I got the flu the next week. And I thought my life was over. I'm really bad at being sickly because I don't get sick very often, so I just laid on the bathroom floor clutching my stomach and waiting for my imminent death. Papa would just tell me: "I'm healthy. You have to have strength. Strength." Then he would look at me and flex his muscles. Luckily, my death didn't come and after a few days of life in a cold sweat, I recovered.
Okay, back to the squirrels: In order to assure the best shot at his unsuspecting victims, Papa took the screen out of the window by the dinner table and propped the gun within reach. This way, he can sit at the table with the window cracked and is ready to kill the minute he sees that bushy tail swish. The worst is when he spies a squirrel, but is not within reach of his weapon. The other day we were making dinner and there were three extremely skinny squirrels out by the bird feeder so I told Papa:
Julie: I see some of your squirrel friends out there.
Papa: Too bad I don't have my gun. Boy, look how skinny they are!
Grammy: You know, Papa used to eat squirrel for dinner.
Papa: Yeah; squirrel gravy and squirrel soup. Imagine having that skinny squirrel slapped across your plate.
I tried not to imagine it, but the image of a grilled squirrel-kabob forced itself through my mental barriers and to the front of my mind. And I thought ham was bad.
Anyway, for some reason, we dislike the grey squirrels more than the red squirrels. It has something to do with the fact that the red ones apparently come from the woods, but I can't figure out the difference. I mean, both colors of squirrel:
1) Eat the bird food. Grammy says both colors are greedy and just make messes.
2) Dig up Grammy's flower beds. A few weeks ago, the weather was finally steady enough (meaning the chance of a freak frost had diminished to 50%) to plant flowers on the front and back porches. After finishing all the flower beds on the back porch, Grammy headed to the front porch to plant, at which time, a squirrel promptly came by and dug up all the flowers in the back. Later that night, we were sitting on the back porch when, all of a sudden, Grammy yells: "I'm going to KILL THEM!" We looked over and there were holes and disheveled flowers scattered throughout Grammy's meticulously planted flower beds. Thus, we devised a screen and brick covering to prevent further destruction.
Even though Grammy says she hates the squirrels, I think she secretly likes them. Sometimes she saves food for them and scatters it in the field behind the house. She also has a nail on a tree that she can stick a dried cob of corn on for them.
We also have a chipmunk that lives on the back porch underneath one of the flower beds, but you won't see any dead chipmunks littering our backyard. We like chipmunks.