Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh Nuts!!!

Ever since I can remember my father has been at war. No, he is not a soldier in the US military. He had no part in the death of Bin Laden. My father has been in an on-going battle with the squirrels of Proctor Vermont. Each year the battle intensifies and my father’s methods and weapons of choice vary.

One year he bought a bird feeder with a special ring around the bottom. If light weight birds landed on the feeder to dine, nothing would happen. If fat, nut engorged rodents landed on the ring around the feeder- the ring would spin and fling the squirrels fifty feet. My father would sit in his chair patiently waiting with an evil glimmer in his eyes. When a squirrel would brave the flinging feeder my father would rub his hands together and let out a wicked, crackling laugh.

Unfortunately, the flinging squirrel feeder was discontinued. I can only imagine that PETA got involved and banned the cruel device. This would not stop my father. This spring began with a new home made device. My father jury rigged a plate above the feeder in an effort to frustrate the squirrels and make their journey to the feeder a bit of a task. Apparently the squirrels of Proctor are not afraid of a challenge because within hours of the hanging plate- the squirrels were back on the feeder staring at my father on the other side of the glass and flipping him off (this is what he sees).

The plan needed to be evolved. And this time my father was going spend some money on saving the birds. He ordered a contraption that looked much like the mask of Darth Vader. This was hung above the feeder in place of the plate. My father hung the hideous device and took to his post. For an hour he watched the squirrels try and try again. He laughed his evil laugh and poured himself a celebratory cocktail. But the celebration was premature. Before he knew it the squirrels had strategized their way onto the feeder. This time he was sure they were looking at him, mocking him, laughing at his waste of 50 dollars. And this time he was mad.

He reached for the first thing he could find, a weapon that could do some damage regardless of what PETA would say about it. What he grabbed was a pencil. He cranked open the window causing the squirrels to jump off the feeder and nibble on what seeds had been spilled. They looked up at the maniac in the window with a pencil in his hand and according to him they laughed. He threw the pencil in the fashion that one would throw a javelin. It missed the squirrels and even worse than that – they didn’t even flinch. He grasped for more arson, this time coming up with a ruler. Fling went the ruler. And again the squirrels mocked him by not budging. He was desperate and so he reached for a marble this was going to hurt. He threw the ashtray at the leader squirrel- and again he missed. The squirrel moved a bit which is thankful because my father’s pride could not have handled another complete fail.

The squirrels had cleaned up the fallen seed and casually made their way back into their trees. My father, feeling hopelessly defeated went outside to collect what was left of his weapons and then retreated to his post. There he will sit until winter comes and the squirrels retire. There he will sit strategizing and planning his next move convinced that eventually this battle will be over and he will be victorious. But until then, the war goes on.