This squirrel was scouting the dining area this past summer when we were on vacation…in the same city we live in. Okay, it was a staycation but I always think that sounds like we just stayed at our house so I thought I would spice it up by leaving it vague…SO SUE ME!!! Back to the squirrel, before I was so rudely interrupted.
I was shoveling some eggs and bacon into my food hole when one of my kids noticed this guy. He, and a few of his friends, had a pretty good gig going. There was an unlimited supply of food laying on the ground because of the myriad of families that were grabbing a bite before heading out to the water park that was attached to the hotel. I gave my kids the “he probably has rabies…so don’t touch him” speech as they were chunking pieces of pancakes and other items off of their plates that they had no intention of eating.
This guy picked up a piece of biscuit that is no doubt a pretty big score in comparison to the nuts, berries and half eaten hot dogs his relatives probably get when dumpster diving. We eagerly watched him as he picked up the food and gobbled it down before another squirrel was on to him and they had to duke it out in the mean streets of the JW Marriott food court. I couldn’t help but think how lucky this squirrel was to get a fresh biscuit, cinnamon roll and maybe a piece of bacon that morning. We couldn’t stop ourselves.
I mean, every morning this guy eats like a king! What a lucky squirrel. It seems like a classic case of being at the right place at the right time. It seems serendipitous. I know, big word for me right? He just happens to be at a hotel food court and we are eating there every day. He is SO spoiled!!! I guess I’m jumping to conclusions thought right? I don’t really know his backstory. Maybe he was scrounging for food in the forests of the Appalachian Mountains. Dodging loggers and falling trees. Eating blades of grass and fending off starving wolves in the process. More than likely, there was a gang of hedgehogs that pressured him to join their merry band. It was either starve to death making minimum wage, three acorns a week, or enjoy the good life with these hedgehog hellions.
My guess is that at first, it was fun. He enjoyed the thug life. He had a nice pine tree with an elevator installed so he didn’t have to climb up the side, like the less privileged squirrels. Every night there was a party with plenty of imported maple syrup and fancy friends dressed in wolf skinned coats. However, the monotony of this fast paced life eventually caught up with him and he began to contemplate the greater complexities of the universe without any real answers to satiate his squirrel-like curiosity. I mean, he was a squirrel after all.
He finally had had enough. He knew things had to change. The next morning he woke up after hearing a logging truck fire up, and understood this to be a sign. This was his way out. He hopped the logging truck and headed out of town for good. The sad thing is, no one missed him. The parties kept going. The maple syrup kept flowing. Life in the forest of those Appalachian mountains went on without him.
That logging truck took him to town after town and gas station after gas station. Sure the Buckee’s restrooms were ridiculously clean, but even that wears thin after a while. He probably hopped trucks somewhere in Arkansas. There was a dumpster with a broken piece of hot dog outside of an Applebee’s there that looked particularly interesting. He began to long for those fancy parties that the hedgehogs would throw but quickly remembered the price that he had to pay to get there. The hits they had put on that one duck by the river. The drive by pine coning that happened in that cold dark alley by the Dairy Queen parking lot. He choked down the hot dog, grateful that he didn’t have to violate his little squirrel conscience any more.
Then he saw it. It was like a beacon on a stormy night. A truck driver had just paid his bill and enjoyed a night out filled with Spin Dip and way too many Apple Pie Fritters. He jumped in his meat truck, turned on his brights and headed to Texas. The squirrel hopped into the refrigerated cab as he was locking the door. It was a long, cold ride to San Antonio but he was able to survive by wrapping himself in the packing blankets hanging on the wall.
When the door opened, he could hardly believe his little beady eyes. Spare ribs, soup and freeze dried eggs as far as the eye could see. He also found a squirrel community that was eager to accept him and ready to show him the ropes. Morning, noon and night they had full bellies and nights filled with laughter and reminiscing of a day well spent scavenging dining tables and sipping cool water from the nearby fountain.
He was finally home. No more watching his back. No more trying to fit in. He was at peace.
Shame on me for assuming that his life has always been easy. I feel a little silly now that I think about it. The full story will be coming out soon in a book I’ve written: Rock Squirrel – A life uncracked.