Friday, August 7, 2009

I love my squirrels

I love my squirrels. I don't know when it started for me but I have loved these little creatures for all of my life. I remember as a little kid, my grandfather came to live with us starting when I was ten years old. My grandmother ha just passed away and he moved in with us, he was my maternal grandfather. He was very lonely after my grandmother passed away so he started building bird houses and bird feeders. He was good at it and it didn't take long before he had several put up around the yard. A few months went by and I noticed that we had several birds and squirrels making visits to our yard to eat out of our his bird feeders. We would sit together in the backyard, my grandfather and I, and watch all of the different birds come and eat out of the feeders. There were all kinds of birds, blue jays, brown thrashers, robins and cardnials and of course, the squirrels.
The squirrels were very big compared to the small bird feeders and they would wedge their entire body inside the feeder. They would sit in there and eat until all the food was either eaten or knocked out of the feeder by their clumsiness. I remember not liking the squirrels then because I thought that they should let the birds eat, I mean it was a bird feeder not a squirrel feeder, right? I would try to chase them off and get the birds back but the squirrels just took over the bird feeders and would eat all of the food. My grandfather built bird houses and they would take them over too. A couple years went by and the squirrels kept coming to the feeders and eating all of the food. Another year or two went by and my family and I moved into another house in a different part of the same city. This house was built on a lot that was next to a set of woods. My grandfather loved it.
Our house was built like a tree house,with trees surrounding us. The bird feeders and houses went up all over the neighborhood and the process started all over again. The birds and squirrels were all around, everyday more and more of them would show up. One Christmas, I received this brand new pellet gun as a gift and I couldn't wait to go out and shoot it. I didn't shoot anything at first but as some time went by I slowly started shooting the birds and squirrels. I was thirteen years old. I remember being out with my grandfather and my gun and one day I took aim and shot a squirrel, right in front of him. I didn't even think about it. He said nothing at first and then he looked down and said, "You know if you keep doing that, then they won't come around anymore," and I said, "what?" and he repeated himself. I felt horrible and have felt guilty about that ever since. I haven't pointed a gun at a living thing since that day. I never told my grandfather that. He passed away in 1982. I have never met a better man. I grew older and when I was in high school my friends would show me their deer rifles and ask me to go hunting with them. I just couldn't do it. I was too soft hearted and I am still. I am happy with myself, being that way. I now only want to "shoot" an animal with my camera.

No comments:

Post a Comment