Squeaky the Squirrel
When I was around 6 years old, my neighbor Mr. Logeman taught me how to feed a squirrel from my hand. He had been doing so for years and they trusted him. I always considered myself to be a little Dr. Doolittle. The St. Francis of animals in my hometown. I was fascinated by the gentleness of the squirrel as I watched Mr. Logeman bend down and have the little critter take a cracker out of his hand. It took a few days before I had the squirrels eating out of my hand too.
One squirrel in particular seemed to favor me. I don't know if it was a male or female but I called it Squeaky. Squeaky was a mottled brown and black with a golden tail; thick and lots of plumage. He had big brown eyes and a fat belly. Squeaky followed me home one day from my neighbor's house and decided that he would make my house his new territory. I never picked Squeaky up but was amazed at the amount of trust he placed in me.
Some of the things that Squeaky would do could have gotten me grounded for life. I hid this information from my parents for fear they would chase my little rodent friend away. Squeaky learned to scratch on the metal part of the back screen door when he wanted something to eat. At first, I would gather a treasure from the cupboard, open the door and give it to him from my hand. After a couple weeks, I decided to open the door and allow him into the pantry of the house, which was the first room entered from the back. The first couple of times, he shook his tail constantly and looked around nervously, keeping by the door until I gave him a cookie or cracker. Then, opening the door, he would run out, chattering a noise of nervousness. After a while, Squeaky would enter the pantry fearlessly and then follow me into the kitchen where he would sit on his haunches, as if begging, while I searched the cupboards for a tasty treat. If my parents had known this, I fear both of us would have been shot.
When I used to partake in laying in the sun (before we all knew the dangers of skin cancer), Squeaky would jump on my legs or back in an effort to drum up some food. If you've ever had someone drag thumb tacks or needles across your back, then you know what it feels like to have a squirrel jump on you.
My relationships with this furry creature lasted for years. How many, I can't be sure, as life goes by slowly at some points and so quickly with others. I do know Squeaky began to slow down and he also raised a family. Still not sure if he was the father or the mother as both squirrels cared equally for their little brood. One day, Squeaky didn't come to the door. He didn't come to the house. I never knew what became of him. I missed my little squirrel and decided to adopt another in the neighborhood. I set my sights on an albino , little gal I named Alison. She never got as friendly as my Squeaky did however.
I realize that squirrels can be a nuisance. They can destroy things and eat up your gardens. They drive your dogs crazy and eat your plants too. I will always have a place in my heart for these four legged creatures however. The day Squeaky first touched my fingertips with his whiskers was the day I fell in love with squirrels.