Save the Squirrels

August 8, 2013

The Great River Road path is now lined with waist-high stalked weeds with fuzzy tops (actual scientific name; Latin genus: weedus fuzztelacularbun; source: Wikipedia). I was walking west when a patch of weeds on my left began to take on a life of its own, flailing and funneling, and out staggered a squirrel, the entire right side of its body stripped of fur and a red claw stripe stretching from neck to tail. It stood on the asphalt in front of me, dazed, shaking its head. Then came a striped feral cat, its mouth stuffed with fur, which I inferred came from the squirrel.

The cat growled at me and gave me the evil eye. Fortunately, Scout the Cat and I play Evil Eye nightly. “Why Don’t Cats Eat Their Masters on Nights of the Full Moon.” Ray Bradbury might have written such a book. I’m somewhat feral myself, having been raised by coyotes outside of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, in 1948.  The cat finally spit up the mother of all fur balls and climbed up the side of the bluff.

Meanwhile, the half-naked squirrel quietly walked—walked—to a tree on the bluff side of the path and climbed to safety, me averting my eyes for modesty’s sake, focusing on the waist-high weeds with fuzzy tops.

I saved a squirrel. I pissed off a cat. And then I hiked up Stroke Hill, bored, for nothing else happened.



About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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