The promised a.m. drive-time storm hadn’t arrived yet, so timidly I ventured out. Once again, I strayed to my usual stomping grounds, Council Point Park.
The sun was high above, but looking like a pale imitation of itself, and, it certainly was not as bright, nor as vibrant, as a glossy yellow bag of peanut M&M’s.
I know you shouldn’t play favorites, but, I will confess that I have a favorite squirrel at Council Point Park. He lives in a tree by a blue metal bench, and he always come bounding over to greet me, much like a beloved pet does when you return to the house after a long day at work, or even just a simple errand.
Thus, this peanut pal has won my affection, so unabashedly, the sentimental fool that I am, I dispense a few more peanuts to him than I do to the other squirrels (which no doubt accounts for that “undying love and affection” by him).
About a week or so ago, I got the bright idea that my favorite furry critter might like some peanut M&M’s for a special treat.
But, first I Googled around to ensure that this candy with the chocolate that “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” would not be dangerous to him. Nope, the general consensus was it was a treat and there were several YouTube videos of squirrels happily chomping M&M’s (albeit with bad manners since they had their mouths open), which confirmed to me that it was A-OK to give them to him.
So, I picked up two packages of peanut M&M’s, just in case some of his brethren showed up, and, yes, I even got one package in the “Share Size”.
Once at Council Point Park, I rounded the first bend, and, there he was, sitting on the blue bench, smack in the middle of his domain. As I approached the bench, he ran lickety-split over to the path to greet me. I dug out bag #1 from my fanny pack, while he impatiently danced on the tip of my shoe and looked up at me. “Wait ‘til you see what I have for you” I told him and jiggled the bag to announce the treat was almost ready. I ripped the package open and soon a half-bag’s worth of those brightly colored nuggets were strewn across the pathway. Ha, ha … well, I could just read his mind, the gears churning as he tried to figure out what these misshapen objects were, and, whether he should try one. He was confused, but still sniffed appreciatively, then looked up at me for guidance, or, at the very least, to say “thanks, but no thanks – I’ll take ballpark peanuts if you don’t mind!”
While this experiment/photo opportunity seemed to be a no-brainer, I had discounted the fact that perhaps he was more of a meat-and-potatoes-kind-of-squirrel, and would have just preferred plain old peanuts, and not these strange dots, despite their dazzling candy-coated allure. My thinking was “who could resist M&M’s?”
So, reluctantly, I gave in to him, then reached into my Ziploc bag and shook out about a half-dozen of peanuts which I intermingled with the M&M’s on the pathway.
“Ahhh, that’s more like it” he seemed to say. He grabbed a peanut and dashed off to bury that treat. But, curiosity got the better of him, and he soon hurried back. I figured he’d hone in on the rest of the peanuts, and ignore the M&M’s, but, in a most-charitable manner, likely so he would not offend his benefactor, I watched as he grabbed just one M&M with a long claw and pushed it into his mouth. Crunch, crunch, crunch … and he didn’t spit it out! Success!! I kind of felt like I was reliving the old Life cereal commercial, where the two boys watched to see if Mikey liked that new cereal or not, and when he did, they cried out “he likes it!”
Well, those first few M&M’s must’ve passed muster with my furry friend, as he abandoned the peanuts altogether and finished off a few more M&M’s. He then snatched a pair of green ones and confidently took them “to go” with a look back at me, as if to say “thanks for the treat, but I thought Squirrel Appreciation Day was back on January 21st?”
Sure, I left a little litter behind, but it joins the bottled water empties and energy bar wrappers that one sees when there is a bit of a breeze, and besides, … you know what? Sometimes tricks and kicks aren’t just for kids.