Paw-Paw I Just Saw Alvin

Chipmunks

When I first began to work at GE in 1973 I worked in the paint system and almost every weekend we had to work on Saturday to clean the three spray paint booths. Cleaning was a hard arduous job and special chemicals were added to texture of the accumulated paint in the bottoms of the paint booths. If done correctly, we could cut the paint into sections like sod, if not done correctly, it was gummy and the job took much longer. Ours was a plant where almost every component that went into our outdoor lighting fixtures were not only fabricated on site but painted as well. If you've ever noticed those big street lights that resemble a cobra head, then there is a good possibility it may have been produced by GE Outdoor Lighting in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

My wife and I only had one car in those early years and she had dropped me off at work on one of those Saturday cleaning details. We had finished early that day and I ask a co-worker to give me a ride home. He agreed and soon we were out of the plant driving towards my home. All of a sudden he slammed on the brakes of the Ford Pinto he was driving almost throwing me through the windshield. "What ya trying to do? Kill us! I shouted at Johnny who many of our co-workers thought was a French fry shy of a Happy Meal. "It was a little chipmunk running across the road. I just couldn't run over the poor little feller. I took a deep breath and shook my head thankful I was still in one piece and not bleeding anywhere. "You dang near killed the both of us," I shouted.

On Monday of this week my grandsons paid me a visit and came running into the house all excited shouting "Paw-paw! Paw-paw, we just saw Alvin. He was outside your storage building! Stunned they left me wondering who the heck this Alvin guy was standing outside in my back yard. I looked at my oldest grandson Colton almost 5 years old now and asked, "Who did you see in the backyard? Colton said."You know paw-paw,,Alvin the Chipmunk." I knew then they had seen a little chipmunk in the back yard. They are not at all uncommon here in Western North Carolina and I see them every once in a while scurrying about gathering food for winter. We have a big white oak in our back yard that has been loaded with acorns this year and I suppose has been a gold mine for the squirrels and chipmunks that inhabit the woods above my home. We are al familiar with Alvin and the Chipmunks, the cartoon characters who sing the Christmas carols in their own special way with Alvin the leader sometimes getting absent minded and getting yelled at by the others.

Chipmunks live in burrows most of the time and breed twice each year producing about 4 babies per litter. The resemble a field mouse but have a distinctive stripe which runs from their heads to their tails. The ones I have always seen are shy and rarely leave their burrows. I enjoy seeing these little guys and so happy some live near my back yard for the grandsons to see.

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