Denial is a hard thing, so I’ll admit it. The squirrel won.
All I wanted were a few pecans. I wouldn’t’ve been greedy. The squirrel could’ve had several pecans after I picked up several bushels, but instead, the squirrel got greedy. The impudent little creature!
Ever since moving, the pecan tree outside the back door has been growing pecans, and a lot of them! Mmmmm. I’ve been thinking about harvest day and fresh pecans, frozen pecans, and slap a cardiologist, pecan pie!!
Plus, they’re free in my backyard….unless you get technical and count mortgage interest, closing costs, property taxes, house insurance….but let’s not get technical. They’re free! I just love that word, free. Say it over and over and it puts a smile on your face – free, Free, FREE! See what I mean?
Anyway, I even stopped and looked at a pecan “picker upper” that has a big spring on the end of a handle so you don’t have to bend over to pick up the whopping big paper shell pecans. But it was $12.99, and that’s not free. I thought about mortgage interest, closing costs, property taxes, house insurance and decided bending over is good exercise anyway.
The pecan woes started one Saturday morning. I was having a cup of coffee under the pecan tree and noticed a squirrel in the yard. He walked by the pool and jumped up on the diving board. Honestly, it was kinda cute, at least then, and I hoped he’d go to the end and take a dive, but instead, he cautiously jumped down walking gingerly toward me, as if, as if he was stalking prey.
Hey, I’m just sitting under my own state tree of Texas, minding my own business, not bothering a soul, and then this little squirrel keeps getting closer and closer, like he was the Genghis Khan of the squirrel brigade about to attack!
I waved my arms and hollered like a gorilla to scare it off. Sure enough, he scampered up the wooden fence and scurried along the edge flipping his tail at me as he went.
Now I’ve seen squirrels twitch their tails before, but this was different. First of all, it wasn’t all bushy like other squirrels, especially the end that was a little bare. Second, it had attitude, a bad one, like it was mooning me in squirrel language, but since I speak Texan, not Squirrleans, I wasn’t completely sure.
But then the little imbecile turned around, flexed his tiny muscles and tried to stare me down from the top of the fence. The gauntlet had been thrown down! I fully understood that in Squirrleans, he’d just picked a fight. I wanted to scream and beat my chest saying, “Come on you buck tooth varmit! Come get a piece of this property!!”
And so, he did.
He resumed his stealthy creep on top of the fence and got closer inch by inch. I picked up a rock from the flower bed, threw it, and missed him as bad as a T-Baller throwing from outfield to home plate, but at least I hit the fence and scared it a little farther away.
After a few minutes, I got up and found the rock because I thought I was going to hit it with the lawnmower. When I did, the squirrel made a break for it. I felt quite manly for a second, until he made a dash on the opposite side of the yard, circled the pool and before I could get back, launched himself running full speed up the pecan tree.
The logical thing was to go get my shotgun and blast him to kingdom come, but I live in a well established neighborhood. There’s a lot of big oak trees, so there’s squirrels everywhere. Plus, I don’t think my city folk neighbors would take kindly if I started blasting shotgun pellets up in the sky that come down in their backyards and swimming pools.
I’m already the only one on the street who mows his own yard. In fact, a couple of days ago I was using a pole saw trimming tree branches in the front yard. Right after a limb fell on top of me that I thought was going to swing to the side, a retired neighbor lady came over, handed me a phone number and said I needed to call her “tree guy”, Rafael, who she said was really safe, fast and efficient. Psft! Whatever!
The squirrel started chattering on a high limb and went right up to a full green pecan pod, stripped it bare and begin eating my pecan pie. That did it! After I T-balled a few more rocks up in the tree, I went and got my raggedy 20 year old pellet gun.
I smiled as I scoped in on the fuzz ball and pulled the trigger. The pellet came out with a puff of air, made a hard veer to the left and hit the tree trunk. Men have more brain cells than squirrels, usually, so I compensated in the scope and aimed to the right. This time the pellet went ten feet in the air before falling to the ground. After that, it wouldn’t shoot at all.
Now the squirrel was chattering in the tree like he was king of the squirrels, lord of the pecans. He grabbed another green pod and started eating.
I put out a live trap, but that did no good. I kept watching through the week and the best I could tell is that all the other squirrels stayed clear of my prized pecans, except this non-fuzzy on the end of his tail squirrel!
One day this same squirrel was getting close to my tree again, so I let Prince, my oldest daughter’s useless, less than 5 pound, poop producer dog out. Prince, who’s kinda prissy anyway, just stood looking at the squirrel. You’d think he’d bark, growl or at least chase it away, but all he did was wag his tail wanting to play. Worthless dog!
I finally put the live trap up because one afternoon when I got home, the squirrel was sitting on top of it eating a green pecan. I didn’t even bother throwing a rock because he’d just look at me while nibbling away, like he knew I wouldn’t hit him, and besides, my shoulder was about thrown out anyway.
About a week later, I got really hot under the collar. I opened the back door and scattered all over the concrete were remnants of pecan shells. They were everywhere! When I walked outside there was a crunch with each step and way up high on a limb was that same bloomin’ squirrel!
I threw a rock and actually got close for once, but the squirrel leaped from the branch, landed on the roof, scampered on to the other side and then jumped from the roof onto a tree branch in the front yard.
That’s when I went into denial. I just pretended like he wasn’t there and, any how, there was just no way one squirrel could eat a whole bumper crop of pecans. I’m ashamed now, but yes, I gave up.
The other day though I smiled when I found the first full shell of a big beautiful pecan on the ground! I cracked it open, but it was faulty. I looked for more on the ground but that was it, except for hundreds of pieces of small, broken, chewed up pecan shells on the ground.
When I looked up, there were none, absolutely zero pecans, ripe or otherwise, left up in my, not the squirrel’s, but MY pecan tree! The squirrel with no fuzz on the end of its tail was noticeably bigger and fatter and had gotten every, last, single, o.n.e!
No fresh pecans. No frozen pecans. No pecan pie! Boo! Hiss! Cry!
Now I’m on a mission. Kill Squirrelly! And that squirrel WILL die, in the name of justice and vengeance, or more than likely, by natural causes, but it will die.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter. No, not at all. The squirrel was just doing what squirrels do.
Besides, I would never sink to the level or become so obsessed that I would let losing a few pecans distort or cloud my judgment.
But the pecan tree? I’m gonna cut it down! If I can’t have pecans, at least that stupid, despicable, mangy tailed, tree climbing, pecan stealing, good for nothing, evil, nasty little rodent won’t get any either!