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  • Mary Fichtner

The Squirrel Incident

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

My family laughs hard, we laugh a lot and at many things, but the squirrel incident might have been the winner of the hilarity; the gut-popping, crying, abs-workout laughter of all time. Honestly, it took some toll on my stomach and cheeks, all for good.

man in a cowboy hat with a woman wearing a scarf

The incident began at my parent’s house under a very large Elm tree that grows up through the concrete of their driveway. Many squirrels choose that tree as a favorite, and when I say many it is all about perspective, which you will learn later in the story. My dad keeps his truck under that tree and one summer it became apparent that the wires in my dad’s truck were a delicacy they could not live without. After causing much damage and significant cost in repair, my dad decided to formulate a strategic war against the squirrels!

Now my dad is an old cowboy guy with a heart for all critters. He was very mad but did not consider the wire damage to be a capital offense. The solution would require creativity, industriousness, and a plan. All of these my dad had.

older couple outside

He decided to purchase a trap and catch the culprits one by one. It turns out they love peanut butter way more than car wires and that made the trapping easy. He then moved to step B which was his catch and release program. The squirrels would be taken one by one, in the trap, and driven about a mile to a greenbelt area with lots of trees and a creek. They were not too happy when he got them there but as he released them, one by one, it seemed to my dad the squirrels would believe they had won the squirrel lottery. I mean, what squirrel would not love life at a greenbelt? There was even an occasional car parked there to give them their fill of wires from time to time. Of course, there was no peanut butter at the greenbelt and now looking back that might have ultimately been the problem.

The squirrel removal plan started out well but seemed to have no end in sight. My dad was spending most afternoons transporting squirrels to and fro, back and forth, and up and down the hill to the greenbelt. In time my mom commented, “Hey, that last squirrel looked familiar, and so did that one!” Hmmm…is it possible that they are returning for more peanut butter and a free ride?

The thought of this struck our funny bones and we took the story and spent a few hours adding speculation as it became funnier and funnier. We began to to get so tickled suspecting that the squirrels were probably running behind my dad after he released them, jumping up on the bumper and riding back to their house on the trailer hitch of his Wagoneer. We guessed that maybe the squirrels were sharing this information with the other squirrels. We pictured a squirrel raising his little arm in a follow-me motion and exclaiming, “Jump on! Free peanut butter and a ride!”

Somebody came up with the idea of maybe marking the squirrels so we could determine if the same squirrels were returning or new ones were moving in. Maybe we could place a small dot of paint on each one before the release to see if my mom was correct. Were they bringing new friends as they returned or just getting a ride back themselves? The saga continued most of the summer and the laughter has never ended. My dad deserves a lot of credit for his never give up spirit and letting us have some serious laughter therapy from the squirrel incident.

It recently occurred to me that I was not even sure who had won the Squirrel Wars. I had to call my parents immediately and inquire. Some might consider the end to be a letdown but it turns out all the shenanigans fizzled out on their own. A winner just could not be declared. Personally, I am calling us the winner since we got such an awesome story and more laughter than we could ever purchase. True stories are always the best. The other win was my mom’s Christmas card that year. She captured it all so perfectly in rhyme that is my most loved of her writings…well maybe not MOST but it’s top five. So, here’s to random situations that humor can be found in. Never miss the chance to laugh hard! It makes life better.

poem with image of a couple at the bottom

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