Thursday, January 18, 2018

HeyYou- The Tale of Insanity

Many years ago I had the great experience of raising a squirrel.   Squirrels are smart, affectionate, mischievous, and busy, busy, busy.  I actually started out with 2 and named them Derek and David after the twin sons of my friend (Susan) who had found the squirrels to begin with.

In a Shakespearean turn of events, Derek shoved David off the kitchen table to get to the bottle and unfortunately it resulted in David’s death.  Well this did not go over well with Susan who made it clear I could not call the survivor by her son’s name-  I think she wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of me going around telling people one son killed the other.  Moms are funny like that.

Not having an immediate replacement name on hand we took to just saying, “Hey You” whenever trying to get its attention.  And so in time his name became HeyYou.  HeyYou was the best.  He loved cheek scratches and jumping from the dog’s back to the cat and then the other cat and up the curtain before any of them had figured out what was going on.  He came when called and played with your hair.  You could rough house with him and get him to do tricks. He was a riot.  

In my opinion, I was a good squirrel mommy. I consulted the Great God Google and learned what  squirrels eat (beyond the stuff you put in your bird feeder) and learned they also like things such as moss on trees, bugs, seeds, and seedlings. When he got old enough I would take him out and he would go up into trees and hang out doing squirrely stuff until I called him back.  Everyone in the family loved this little guy. 

But, there came a time when HeyYou got loose while we were not home and wandered off.   We were all devastated.  Having already established his greed level with the murdering of his brother, I doubt it is a surprise that whenever HeyYou was being stubborn, we would rattle the peanut jar and he would come scampering. It turns out on this particular day, I had not yet restocked the jar, so I grabbed a bottle of Tylenol to make the rattle noise and out I went.  I live in a city, but I am a former country girl and at that point in my life was more often barefoot than not. That day was no different.

In the yard I walked around rattling the bottle calling, “HeyYou” looking up in the trees hoping for a glimpse of my errant buddy.   At each unsuccessful call I expanded my search.  Front yard, back yard, neighbor’s yard.  He was in none of his favorite squirrely hang outs.  Now I am in the street in front of my house calling and walking along.  He could have gone tree to tree or roof to roof and as I wander further from my house, I find myself one street over.   Rattling the bottle, looking up at roofs and trees, I am beginning to get desperate and am yelling, “HeyYOU! – C’mon- YOU!” 

A movement to the corner of my eye catches my attention and there is a neighbor standing in his front yard watering his lawn.  He’s looking right at me and his face is quite perplexed.  Suddenly I get a revelatory flash of what he is seeing.  Here’s this barefoot crazy woman rattling a bottle of pills, staring up at the sky yelling – maybe to God?- “Hey you.”  Aw shit.  He thinks I’m nuts.  I turn to him and inhale to begin explaining when he raises his eyebrows and his hand, stopping me before I can utter a word.  With a mild shake of his head he indicates he really doesn’t want to hear whatever weirdness is about to spill out of my mouth.  He follows that with a slight nod of his head indicating the direction behind me.

I turn around to see…. all four of my cats strung out in a line following behind me as I wander the streets of Worcester, barefoot, rattling my pills to the heavens shouting, “Hey YOU!”  I know at this point there is nothing I can say to redeem myself.  My shoulders drop and I slink home followed by cats to hide in my living room. 

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