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Today I made my 40,000th hit at 6:16 p.m.!!! In celebration I thought I’d share the story you are about to read which is a short-short I wrote quite a few years ago and put it up on an internet writing contest back in 2002 or 2003. It received quite a few hits, so it was definitely popular. This also happens to be a true story. I hope you enjoy the different fare this time. Feedback is appreciated. Thanks !
– The Castle Lady
Seems like I’ve always lived in Ostmar Park. All the streets are on a grid only interrupted by Dallas Lake Park, which I love to walk to every morning. It’s the best time to walk the residential streets because of the lack of pedestrians. During the dry and and frigid Colorado winters, I bundle up like an Eskimo and head out, walkman blasting in my ears and sing along with certain well-known phrases in the lyrics.
“Born to be wi-ii-uld!” I belt, heedless to birds or squirrels eardrums.
Speaking of squirrels, the other day I encountered a rather unusual one when I’d made it about half way to the park. For want of a better name, I’ll call him Yogurt-head. This poor creature was wandering around in slow circles, on and off the street, with a yogurt container firmly stuck on its head. The semi-conical shape of the container looked like one of those protective collars that vets put on dogs to prevent them from further irritating injuries.
My first reaction, of course, was wild laughter. I can’t remember ever seeing as ridiculous a sight as this poor beast who looked like he’d had some bizarre head transplant. I moved along, up to the park, intent on my routine and the music I was listening to on my walkman.
Fortunately, for Yogurt- head, I came back the exact same way I’d walked up. Not expecting to see him again, I was a little surprised that he was still slowly circling around, with that thing stuck on his head. Until that moment , it hadn’t even occurred to me that he couldn’t get it off.
So, out of curosity, I moved a little closer, realizing he couldn’t see me anyway. His tail was half gone. Either he had been run over, I suspected, or maybe some cruel kids had lit fire to his tail. (I don’t know what made me think of that.) It looked like it had been lopped straight off.
Slowly, I kind of followed it around and tried to think of a way to get the container off his head. I was afraid to try to grab the container while he was moving because I didn’t want to risk him using his claws. It’s well known they are razor-sharp.
Following it around yards and even out into the street I noticed, further, that there were no holes in the container. It was probably suffocating. Once I began to see a bit of a pattern to its wandering, I hatched a plan. Not much of a humanitarian, leave alone a PETA supporter, I’m still a person who cannot stand to see a living being suffer. I have too much empathy in me for that.
At any rate, I figured Yogurt-head had sensed me following and so he kept nervously moving about. I simply quit moving and stood perfectly still. When I felt that the squirrel no longer felt my presence, I stuck my foot out- just in front of his container-head and let him bump into it, keeping my foot steady, so it would seem like a wall. He did exactly what I thought he would do. He stopped moving.
In a timing of seconds, I reached down, took a firm grip of the container and tore the thing off his poor head.
We were right in the middle of the roadway and here I was, bent over this squirrel, suddenly looking me straight in the eyes! Was that a look of relief on his face ? Squirrels are, at times, so human-like you can almost think you see a myriad of expressions on their little visages.
Anyway, for a split second I was sure I saw gratitude all over him, then we gave way each to our own instincts. I dashed away from him to the curb, in panic, he ran to the other side on somebody’s lawn stopped for two more seconds to look in my direction and took off again.
I must say that I have neve felt so satisfied with myself, before or since saving Mr. Yogurt-head. Plenty of people, I’m sure, would argue with me of the importance of saving the life of a squirrel over, say, a baby or the President, but it hasn’t made me think any less of the act. As a matter-of-fact it still makes me smile to think about that morning.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Recently, while on my morning walk, a squirrel dashed in front of me and quickly climbed a tree about three feet away. I stopped, looked and greeted him as I do all capricious squirrels. He was missing half a tail. He didn’t greet me but moved further up the tree. My heart felt warm the rest of the day and I know that Yogurt-head is grateful in his own way.
All rights reserved by
Evelyn M. Wallace, author
The Castle Lady,
with kisses that will make you grateful and warm all over !