Of Apples and Trees, And Guns For Good Measure

When I was in high school, I was quite the tomboy. (I know. Shocker.) I spent my time in the stable or in the woods, and when I realized that hunting gave me a good excuse to be in the woods AND produce something worthwhile, I grabbed my gun and headed to the woods after school. (The squirrels that didn't make it into the cooking pot were used to train my dog for hunting. That didn't really work out the way I had planned, just for the record. He was a non-hunter.)

I was a good shot. Really. I scored 110% in rifle in high school, gaining the extra edge by outshooting the teacher in a round-off. (He wasn't happy about that, also for the record.) (And yes, we had rifle in high school, didn't you?) Generally, I hit what I shot at, provided it was a squirrel. For some odd reason I couldn't hit a flying bird to save my life. I could shoot a running rabbit, but not hit a bird. Regardless, whether a squirrel was quietly sitting there watching me, or scampering around the tree trunk, if it was in my sights, it was as good as dinner.

Except that one. The one that lived in the tree just above the cow path along the creek. The red squirrel that really wasn't big enough to be shooting at anyway. For some odd reason, I didn't hit it that night when I was out hunting. And weirdly, I saw the same squirrel the next night, and it managed to live that night, too. And the next. And then it became a vendetta that I kill that squirrel.

I never did. I bagged other squirrels, and the occasional rabbit, but never that one red squirrel in that tree above the cow path by the creek. By the end of the season, I was glad about this. I would have been sad to have seen that friend die.


We have chipmunks in our backyard. While these happy little things roam unchecked over our patio and in and out of the kennels, they are harmless enough and as long as they remain harmless, I'm content to watch their roamings with a chuckle.

Luke, however, is not. Those chipmunks are a challenge to him like my red squirrel was to me. I have lost count of the times that boy has grabbed his BB gun, rushed out the patio door, and come back in vowing to get it the next time. He has planned snares, and traps, and talks of filling their holes up with them inside. And he's forever running out the door with his gun, but coming in empty-handed again and again.

He has met his nemesis, and it is red, furry, and striped.

I laugh on the inside, and encourage him to keep trying. It's like watching my younger self from a third person view.


Michelle said...

I love it. We have the squirrels that run on our porch and make holes in my garden, too. And my cats HATE them. Those little suckers sit on the edge of the porch and taunt them, I *swear* they do!

utmomof 5 said...

Damn squirrels. Glad your boy has a project on hid hands!!!

Brandie said...

My Dad used to shoot the squirrels when I was a kid. Then we moved in and my husband thought they were cute. Until they stored enough nuts to bring down the garage ceiling!

I think girls should learn to shoot. Mine haven't taken an interest in it yet. I shot expert in the Marine Corps, but haven't fired a rifle in years. I don't hunt though. I told my husband he should be glad, otherwise he'd never get any peace.