Gary the Gardener's Body Double
Having a squirrel for a friend is a lot like having a child. Squirrels, like children, are noisy, messy, and inclined to end up in places they shouldn't. Gary the Gardener is one such squirrel. As the temperature continues to drop here on the mountain, I look longingly over my back patio, remembering one warm August afternoon when Gary was trespassing once again. With my head bowed, I was deep in though about sentence structure and whether to use the Oxford comma or not, when I felt the tiny toenails of Gary run across the top of my feet. As if that wasn't startling enough, a playmate of his was in pursuit playing what I thought to be a rigorous game of chase and he, too, ran across my feet.
Gary and his friend's actions were much like the ones of my children when they were little. When playing chase, my son would tag his sister "it" and then declare me "base" as he barreled toward me. My daughter would scream no fair and race toward him and me in an effort to tag her older brother. Gary had declared me base and falsely believed my presence would stop his playmate from pursuing him. He was wrong and I had two squirrels scamper over my feet.
I am beyond the "ew" factor when it comes to wildlife touching me because this very same thing has happened once before in my life. When my children were young we were living in Florida and remodeling a historic home. It was also during this time I felt the need to monitor my weight in meticulous detail so I would get out of bed each morning and step on the scales at the foot of my bed. One particular morning the room was dark and as I stepped on the scale I felt something run across the top of my feet. I froze and then jumped on the end of my bed waking my cocker spaniel, Simon. Well, actually, my scream woke the dog and my children.
The ensuing scene rivaled the best French farce or one of the early Marx Brother's movies with running, slamming doors and yelling. As the dog chased the squirrel, I pursued the dog, my son ran after me and my daughter trailed after my son yelling don't hurt it. After completing two laps around the house, we opened the front to release the poor, frightened squirrel tackling the dog before he could continue the chase outside. The whole episode was funny though I believe it to be funnier now then when it actually occurred.
Gary the Gardener makes life on the mountain fun as his behavior triggers good memories of life with my children when they were young. I do wonder though if he tells his friends and family stories about me?