Ya snooze, ya lose …


Image and copyright by Rodney Campbell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acrylicartist/8247323475

I stole out of the house early, and the sky was still streaked a dusky pink and gray.  My destination was Council Point Park, and, in anticipation I had packed a picnic brunch – not for me, of course, but for the critters there.  I cleared out the freezer of some of the bread I had stockpiled back in the Fall in anticipation of another constantly snow-filled Winter.  I’m not usually one to waste food, but now that bread has that funky freezer burn taste.  I knew the ducks wouldn’t mind, as they are grateful for any tidbits.  The squirrels … well, they are all about those peanuts in the shell that they know are strictly for them.

So I ambled along on my Sunday stroll, walking through the quiet neighborhoods where no one was stirring yet, not even the hound dogs that lurk in every corner backyard.  I usually hear a low rumbly growl as I near the house.  Next is a mean-sounding bark and jumping against the fence.  I usually cross the street to avoid that scenario.

At the Park, it was hoppin’ … about a dozen cars were in the lot and I spotted dog walkers, bike riders and a jogger on the trail.

I started on the path, only to be waylaid by a pair of squirrels who came tearing through the tall dandelion-covered grass, to pause at my feet, dancing around me as I struggled to get the Ziploc pouch open.  I threw out a handful of peanuts to each one, and they scurried off their separate ways to bury one prize peanut gleaned from their cache of nuts.  In the gulley, I saw front paws digging fast and furiously in the soft ground before running back a minute later for another peanut “to  go”.  Soon their cousins showed up, eager to partake  in some peanuts, so I treated them to goodies as well.  When the bag was empty, I shook my head “no” to emphasize there were no more, but they stayed there not wishing to move from my feet.  I, however, was ready to move on to the next loop.

I picked up the pace a bit but soon I spotted a group of mallards gathered by the reeds, so I carefully went down the slope to throw them some cubed-up bread.  They paddled over right away to eat, so I guess pickin’s are still slim these days.  The reeds are all dried up, still left over from last year, and there was no new greenery around the marsh area.  I am sure there are no berries either.  I finished tendering the tidbits of bread and climbed back up to the trail to resume my walk and I wadded up all the empty bags and stuffed everything in my coat pocket.

As I walked along, away from the crowd I had just fed, a lowly red squirrel spied me (or probably my Meijer bag, most of which trailed out the side of my cargo pocket).  These squirrels are no slouches – they associate bags in the pocket as the source of their goodies.  This little guy came bounding over and I shrugged and and told him “ya snooze, ya lose … where were you when I still had treats because they’re all gone now – sorry”  … to his credit, he looked at me as if to say “I want some of them”.

Well, I tried sidestepping him to resume my walk, when a woman coming from the opposite way burst into laughter and pointed to the ground.  I looked behind me, and there he was.  He was walking so close on my heels that had I stopped in my tracks, he would have been a wet spot on the path.  I had to chuckle at that and I stopped for a minute to chitchat with the woman.  He would have nothing of that and next thing I knew I felt a tug on my pant leg and so I glanced down to see him trying to climb up my leg, his claws digging into the soft sweatshirt material.   Really?!

Well, I like squirrels, but not in my yard and not climbing up my leg – they are, after all, wild animals and who knows if they will turn on you?

I jiggled my leg and he slowly climbed down and backed off.  The woman and I returned to our conversation, and next she whispered “look at that squirrel” … I glanced down and saw his butt sitting on my shoe and his paws clinging onto the sweatpants again as if he were ready to scale up my leg.  I bent down, and admit that I had an almost-irresistible urge to pat him on the head, as one would do to a small child, or a puppy, and say “there-there” … but I didn’t.

Instead, I told him next time he gets his own package of peanuts all to himself and to be sure to set his alarm clock earlier next weekend.

I said my goodbyes and finished the rest of my trip without incident.  When I arrived home I glanced at the pedometer and knew I had 100 miles in so far this year.  That was actually my goal for April 30th, but I guess I’ll get over it.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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2 Responses to Ya snooze, ya lose …

  1. Marge Aubin says:

    How many miles did you get for April? Linda, you have the squirrels to tame. Watch out for their bite. Looks like you might have to keep an extra nut or two in your pocket for the late arrival. I wished I was there to see that. I loved your squirrel picture.


    • lindasschaub says:

      I only got 41 miles in April Marge, and I was disappointed. But part of it was due to losing some time every morning, going into the garage to run the car, or take it for a short hop, since it was still so cold. I run it, then wait for the exhaust to clear out and was still wrapping/unwrapping the door handle with a bag so it wouldn’t ice up. And besides I still had stuff to move at the back door to keep it warmer in the cellarway so no cold air gets into the kitchen. The guy at Engine Tech said to run the car more, for the battery and electrical system, and then we had three days of high wind and didn’t want to walk in that, plus we had rain several days. I had originally set the 100-mile goal for my birthday, then realized that wasn’t doable, so moved it later to April 30th. I hoped to be at 150 by Memorial Day, but I don’t know about that either. As to the squirrels, I generally don’t worry about them and they will come around my feet, but I didn’t even see this one climb up my pant leg. I was really surprised. And twice! I think that’s a good idea to have a secret stash. I like to feed them the first time around so that if I want to take pictures they are off eating their peanuts and don’t come around me, but that doesn’t always work either, because they stash what I give them and then they want more to eat.


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