Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Once Upon a Squirrel

Once upon a time the tumbleweeds were blowing in from the west. It was a hot, dry morning but my cowboy boots kept my feet cool. Or at least my boots' odor eaters did. I was up early doing what cowboys do: surveying the ranch, assessing the critter damage and drinking green tea from a dainty Japanese cup.

My morning property survey had proved that: 1) The mockingbird was still on its nest, which made my cowboy eyes twinkle; 2) The drought tolerant garden was doing its drought tolerant thing, which made my cowboy face smile and; 3) My old enemy, that thieving squirrel, didn't like drought tolerant gardens, which made me slap my cowboy knee with glee. 

Not seeing that blasted squirrel was worth all the time, trouble and backbreaking work of creating that garden. So the front yard was now squirrel free. As for the backyard I hadn't seen much of the furry critter since my ranch helper had scared the begezuss out of it. Every cowboy should have a ferocious protector like Jackson, my pussycat. So the backyard was also free of poacher squirrels. As I shuffled across the driveway back to the homestead I sighed with relief. Finally this cowboy could relax--

What was that? A movement overhead at the neighbor's caught my eye. Looking up I saw it--walking the telephone wire like a circus tightrope walker. It was none other than that poacher thief--the squirrel. It scampered to the telephone pole then raced--head first--down to the ground. 

Its mouth was empty as it bounded into the street right for my ranch lands. I knew what it wanted: to get on my property and steal more fruits, vegetables and pool rafts. To be fair, although it had never stolen a pool raft with this squirrel it was just a matter of time before it had a margarita in one hand, an apricot in the other while floating around on a raft in my pool. I turned in my boots and took five paces toward the varmint. It saw me and stopped in the middle of the road. 

Partner, it was a showdown, like High Noon, Unforgiven, and Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Anyway you looked at it one of us was going to win while the other was never going to steal anything else from my ranch again. 

I took a pace forward. The squirrel hopped once toward me. I took another step toward it, the squirrel bounded several hops toward me. It wasn't stopping. I waved my weapon--my arm--overhead. It did not care! It laughed in my face! It was leaping toward my property and I realized once it got on my land it would run up a tree--out of my reach--and jump from tree to tree thereby reaching my backyard and vegetable garden goodies. The varmint! Who was I kidding? I couldn't fight this bad guy by myself. I needed help from my cat but my ferocious Jackson was sawing wood. Again.

The squirrel bounded again landing two feet from my property line, I was just two feet away from losing every fruit and vegetable in these here parts, when the mockingbird came out of the trees flapping! It got in the path of the squirrel and flapped its gray and white wings in the varmint's face! The bird was fierce, relentless, tough! It spooked the thief who turned and raced back to the telephone pole it had crawled down from.

The mockingbird watched it go. I watched it go. I applauded the mocker and thanked her. She didn't pay attention to me. To her she was just keeping peace in this western town. Oh, yeah and preventing the squirrel from getting anywhere near her nest. The squirrel's reputation had precede it.

Once upon a time there was a squirrel who menaced an innocent cowboy so the area's lady mockingbird sheriff took care of the problem, which is another reason you should never kill a mockingbird.