One day, last week, my neighbor brought over a cardboard box full of pecans. He was tired of shelling them, and knew he would soon have more. I looked at the box and it occurred to me, I didn't really have to shell them. I could say thank you and give them away or trash them. I love pecans, but not the work. Being Calvin Patridge's daughter, I could do neither. I took the box out to my fathers old picnic table, sat and started shelling. I discovered the chore was quite peaceful and satisfying.
Over the next couple of days, I bought two more nutcrackers, trying to find the best one, and in hopes that Jon would help me. When he decided he would help me, it didn't take long to realize he was eating every pecan he shelled, so I sent him on his way.
I did pretty well. I shelled about half the box. Every evening, I left the box out on the picnic table, knowing it would still be there in the morning. Jon said I was too trusting of the squirrels and raccoons. But, I thought that was silly, they wouldn't get that close to the house.
Friday morning, I walked outside and saw an empty box, on the ground, on the other side of the yard. My first thought was the wind, but the box had been half full and had three nutcrackers to weigh it down. A light weight basket was still on the table. I looked around for the pecans, and saw nothing but empty shells. Jon says, I am now a neighborhood legend among squirrels.
While we were shopping for birdseed, Jon pointed out several feeders that were squirrel proof. I told him that was cruel. We could hang the feeders where the squirrels would have to put out a little effort, but it wouldn't be impossible for them to reach. Yesterday, I was outside with the dogs, when suddenly a rather fat, lethargic squirrel fell from the tree. I think he was trying to reach the bird feeder. He looked a little stunned as did the Chihuahua and Pekingese. They started to chase him, just like everyday, but this time nearly caught him. That would be terrible. I stood in my yard screaming, "run squirrel, run! Look, there's a tree. Run for the tree!" I think he heard me, because he turned and looked at me, before running up the tree.
I have this picture in my mind of a big squirrel meeting, much like a Boyscout jamboree. The squirrels are wearing headbands with feathers, and maybe little fringed vests, with Thunder birds painted on the back, not unlike the one I made in Girl scouts, and was ridiculed, by my brothers, for actually wearing. The jamboree is held in a tree house. I don't have a tree house, but for some reason, this is what I see. There is talk of the legendary white woman, me, and they have given me an Indian name. I know the proper term is Native American, but I spent my childhood in front of 1950's black & white sitcoms and 1940's cartoons, so please, let me continue. The Indian name they have given me is, Crazy Woman Who Speaks to Dogs. Some affectionately call me Crazy Woman, for short. They say, "Legend is Crazy Woman leaves food for squirrels. She will protect us from furry Canines, who live at her feet. We must store up the food she provides, because it is said, Crazy Woman rarely leaves her house in the Winter. Instead she sits by indoor campfire, enjoying Thunder juice."
Well, I've always wanted to be a legend.