Our relationship with Fluffy Tail and cohorts is complicated. When we were in college, we were poor, so my big burly husband often stepped out the back door of our rented farm shack and shot a squirrel. Have you ever tasted a squirrel salad sandwich or squirrel and noodles? Minus the tiny hairs, it is remarkably similar to salad and noodles with chicken, but more labor intensive.
Now, thirty-five years later, I often see same burly husband sitting on the deck, now a squirrel chase spectator. He is weaponless. I imagine the squirrels remind him of olden days, chasing his brothers.
Next day, I might catch hubby on the same deck, armed, nobly taking aim at a squirrel that has managed to eat a hole into our house. I wonder how he could murder our furry friends. (Incidentally, I’ve never seen one go down in combat)
One night during the flood of 2008, we were watching CSI and my husband disappeared outside for a while. He returned and took his place back on the couch. I figured he’d left his mower out in the rain and went to rescue it. No explanation needed.
Two CSI episodes later I heard a persistent squeaky sound coming from the basement. “What is that noise?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s my pet squirrel. I found him drowning outside, saved him, brought him in and built him a little house with a bed downstairs.” Hubby didn’t look up from his show.
“Yeah, right.” I refused to look at him and dignify his response.
Another CSI episode ended and the squeaking persisted. During commercial break, I got up as if heading for the bathroom, but went downstairs instead. Behind the utility room door was the squeak source. In a tidy box with a neatly folded red washcloth was a baby squirrel, his wet hair plastered to his bony body. He shivered and squeaked at me.
“I met your friend,” I commented, staring at the screen.
“Yeah, he almost drowned and I saved him,” said my husband proudly.
Next morning, “Pink” (We named him “Pink” after the Pink Squirrel beverage) was fully fluffed, full of fleas and ready to join the family. I glanced at our two leering dogs and suggested we release “Pink” far from home. My husband resisted. He’d already bonded with his new baby.
“You know, some day you will have to decide if you want to murder them or adopt them,” I said.
When he left for work, I delivered “Pink,” in his house, still lying in his bed, to the animal rehabilitation expert in our town. I don’t think my husband ever forgave me.