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The Reason For Seasons
Squirrel Season 101
by Maricia Mlynek

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We have a plethora of little friends that fill the feeder each morning. Last year, my dad built a standing feeder that the cardinals loved, but the squirrels had other ideas.

This brings us to the current concern--squirrels. As fun as they are to watch, they can be down right destructive. At least two of my feeders have been broken, and a screen has also become victim to the bushy-tailed sneaks. I have never seen such acrobatics in my life. It doesn’t matter what I do. They can scale anything, including our screen door, barbecue grill, side of house, gutters, flag pole, rubber container, and even my dog.

The climbing and destruction has caused conflict in our home. Of course, the dog goes wild--the husband goes wild. I, however, am conflicted. Yes, I have come to realize that something must be done. The hunter in my house reminds me of the season that we are in and the delicacy of gravy and sweet potatoes. I remind him that cleaning squirrel was not in the original marital contract.

We had a moment where the entire house was in chaos. Not one, but two squirrels had found their way to our deck. Andy, the one who promised to love, honor, and protect our home, was in a dither. The largest squirrel was soon targeted--and named “Fatty.” He is the real problem. “Tiny,” the smaller one, is no concern for old Fatty. Frankly, I don’t think even a bear would take on Fatty. Thus, the challenge began. Not a bear, not Tiny, but Andy would take on this renegade rodent.

I spent several mornings at the door talking with Fatty and Tiny. I told them of the peril that awaited them if they continued their torrents around the house. I warned them of a one way trip to Heaven if they were seen by the other inhabitants of the Mlynek home. Yet, they did not heed my concerns.

The pinnacle moment had arrived. The hunter was staked out and ready to end the season of squirrel havoc. Fatty was again climbing and preparing to run wild over the roof top. Steadily, Andy moved into position. The dog watched with respect and agreement in the shot that his owner was about to take.

Just as he raised the rifle in aim, I watched the sun bounce off the pretty red coat. I saw the bushy tail and brown eyes. Then it happened. I lost control. I couldn’t help myself. I broke the hunter’s code. I yelled. No, I screamed, “Run, Fatty, Run!” and run he did.

I knew that I had lost my mind--that my happy home had been put at risk by my behavior. I knew that the look in the eyes of my husband and dog was disappointment and distrust. “What is wrong with you?” asked he that spent months training me in the ways of a hunter.

Honestly, I don’t know what came over me. It could have been the innocent look on Fatty’s face. It could have been the belief that everyone deserves a second chance, or it could have been sheer madness. All I know is that Andy had pizza for dinner that evening, and I had a healthy helping of squirrel hunting 101. As for Fatty, he escaped to see another day.

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