This One's For the Squirrels

One reason I don't blog often enough is because of my email buddies. I have had an "email group" for, hmmm, probably at least 15 years. The participants have changed over that time, with some fading in, and some fading out, but it's always been a place where many stories have been swapped. I love my email girls. They remind me that even though we have different ideas, skin colors, economic backgrounds, religions, likes, dislikes and STD's (just kidding), underneath, we're just women with mutual love and respect for each other.  And we share a weird, irreverent humor. Plus, the subject lines of our emails are so stinking funny sometimes. Oh, but back to the point... the reason I don't blog often enough is because THEY get all my words. Lucky them. But tonight, they get NOTHING (unless they happen to read my blog) because what I was going to tell them is about to get blogged. I shall begin with the four words that comprise the beginning of every good story I tell...

SO THERE I WAS, sitting in the drive-through of Culver's, after ordering a salad and a one-scoop Flavor-of-the-Day. I was on my iPhone, catching up on my email group's daily yappings. Earlier in the morning, I had read A's first contribution, which was in response to some great news I had shared... my cancer scans came back "clean" this morning.  Woohoo!  A's contribution was this: 

We saw a squirrel in a parking lot yesterday.  Sitting in one of the spaces, which was a little weird.  Then it ran into one of the bushes and M [her adorable 6-year-old daughter] said "That is because squirrels like to be alive."  Same with Susie!

Now, that is such a great story, isn't it? It made me smile like crazy, because I love A, I love M, and I love to be alive, too.  Just like the squirrels. Then I read T's email, which also contained a squirrel story:

Yay for you, Susie!! That's the best news I've heard all day!! (of course it's early, so keep the good news coming).I saw a fat squirrel in a tree the other day and my thought process went like this: "Hey! There's a kitty in that tree! What a funny looking kitty! I hope he doesn't get stuck up in that tree - I'd have to call in some handsome firemen to save him... maybe he's on an incredible journey with his dog friend that I can't see.... wait... that kitty is not just funny looking... wait... that's not a kitty! HOLY *%$# THAT'S A SQUIRREL! OMG! IT'S THE FATTEST SQUIRREL I'VE EVER SEEN! I need to put this on the internet!!! I need a fat squirrel meme!!! Crap... he's gone..."

Now, I can't even explain how much this made me laugh like a maniac, right there in the Culver's drive-through, awaiting my salad and my FOTD. (But you know I'll try.)

I just have this "thing" with squirrels. It all started when I was 16 or 17, and a squirrel committed suicide by flinging himself under my car.  This was very traumatic for me, I assure you. I saw him approaching, and had slowed a bit, because it was safe to do so.  Then he stopped, so I continued on, and he just FLUNG his squirrelly body under my car. There was a thump, and a wee scream (I might have imagined that part), and I was too traumatized to look in the rear view mirror to see the carnage.  So I went home, and called my mom, who happened to be at my grandmother's house with my aunts.  I was telling the story tearfully, all the while knowing how ridiculous I sounded, and she was trying hard not to laugh, but finally gave up and just howled.  She had been repeating enough of what I was saying that my aunts knew what was happening... and that was that.  I was Susie the Squirrel Slayer.  They have never let me live it down.  There were squirrel cards, squirrel statuettes, secret messages from traumatized squirrels.  You can only imagine what a living hell my life has been.

So, fast forward to this past fall.  There I was, taking a walk near Iowa School for the Deaf.  It was a gorgeous day, with all the fall colors blazing. I noticed a cute little squirrel by a tree, and (because I'm a dork who documents nearly everything with my handy iPhone camera) I took a few pictures of him.  He ran up the tree and I walked on. I had only gone a few steps when I heard all this commotion up in the tree, so I stopped and looked. My little squirrel friend was falling out of the tree.  Mid-fall.  He was mid-fall in mid-Fall.  (Get it?) He was all stretched out, legs extended, slowly rotating, with an expression on his face like, "What the heck?!?  I'm a squirrel, and I'm falling out of a tree." I think I must have flashed back to Suicide Squirrel, because I just couldn't watch him land.  I looked away, heard the thump, and then gave a quick peek, praying I wouldn't see exploded squirrel carcass all over the ground.  (This was necessary, because I was going to be walking back the same way I'd come, and if there was going to be exploded squirrel carcass, I was going to find an alternate route.)  But no, he was scampering off to another tree.  Phew.

Okay, now fast forward to TODAY.  Today started off weird, with a pretty substantial snowfall that I hadn't realized was coming.  (I was pretty sick and out of it yesterday.)  We had to be at the hospital early for my scans, so the snow had to be cleared off my car before we could leave. Then the day turned all sunny and bright, and by noonish, the snow was all gone.  But then, mid-afternoon, it started snowing again!  So weird!  Almost blizzard-like!  So there I was, on the phone for a pretty important client conference call, sitting in my recliner, paying attention and taking notes and exchanging info with my colleague (also on the phone call) via AIM (that part will only make sense to some of you), when suddenly, something in the tree outside my window caught my attention.  I'll bet you can guess what it was.  Yep, a squirrel.

Now, at this point, I had read A's email with the cute anecdote about what her daughter said, but I had not read T's email.  And I hadn't thought about the squirrel I murdered 30 years ago, nor the kamikaze squirrel from last fall. (Last fall... get it?) But still, I became immediately transfixed (while continuing to pay attention to the phone call, of course) and watched him. He frolicked about, and then jumped from the tree branch to my roof.  I'm sure he's done that many times.  But this time, there was snow, then melted snow, then snow again, which was already melting.  I honestly don't know what the problem was.  Maybe he was just a really poor roof-leaper.  But I saw him glide out of sight into the space that should have been "on my roof," and then there was all this scrambling and little brown legs and whatnot.  And then he was briefly clinging to my roof by his two little front paws, and I kid you not, we had eye contact through the window in that split second before he did the splayed-out, slowly rotating thing.  Yes, with a silent scream of terror, he fell from my roof. I don't know if he hit the porch, or the ground, or the bush, but he fell.  And I couldn't shriek, or yelp, or offer to perform squirrel CPR, because I was on a pretty important conference call.  It's a good thing it wasn't a video conference, because I'm sure my face was not particularly business-like at that moment.

By this time, you might be wondering, what is the point of all this?  Well, so am I.  There is no point.  It's just that I love my life, a life that has days when one friend is so happy for my good news that she tells a precious story about her daughter and relates it to my great blessing, which causes another friend to remember and relate her weird squirrel story, along with her happiness for me... and then in the same day, a squirrel falls off my roof while staring me in the eye.  

There is no point, except that my life is great, and I am so blessed to be the one living it.  Not so great for the squirrels, I admit, but for me?  Awesome.