Last week the weather forecasters in our neck of the woods predicted that we would be getting T-E-N inches of snow. Ten inches of snow in this part of North Carolina has lower odds than a $10,000 scratch-off lottery ticket.
The city sent out a letter letting us know that they were slagging streets, salting sidewalks, putting transit personnel on 12-hour shifts, and advising us to prepare to hunker down. Schools were closed before the first flake fell.
I went about my hunkering preparations by making sure there was plenty of wine, toilet paper, and bread. Yup. We were good to go stay.
Then I looked outside at our tacky assortment of suet holders and bird feeders. Practically empty!!! Worse, so was our supply cabinet.
There were no lines at the hardware store because everyone else was at the grocery store at the other end of the shopping center buying bread and milk. I selected a variety of suet and two different kinds of bird seed, then walked around the display to see what else might be helpful. On the bottom shelf was a large bag holding peanuts in the shell, dried corn kernels, and an assortment of other nuts and grains. My mind waged an argument inside my head: don’t do it! vs. but it’s going to be 10 inches! The but it’s going to be 10 inches! side sent out images of a backyard littered with furry frozen you-know-whats. I shoved the bag into my cart.
God help me, I was buying squirrel food.
Next morning, the ground was white all right, but it was less than half an inch and already beginning to melt. I looked out at the feeding station and saw the birds waiting while a squirrel suctioned a bird feeder like his name was Dyson. The clay saucer of squirrel food remained untouched. I rushed outside, screaming and clapping my hands, and the offender jumped off and sauntered up the pine tree, but only a few feet, leaving no doubt that it was only a temporary detour.
Sure enough, I had barely sat down again when he swaggered down the tree, flexed his muscles under his fur jacket, popped his knuckles, then made a gymnastics leap (I’d give it a 9.4) onto the bird feeder. He latched on immediately, like a suckling pig.
The sympathy truce is over. There will be no refilling of the squirrel feeding station. This is war.
I’d like to pass the rest of the food bag on to that squirrelly weather forecaster.