This was the question Mom and I were pondering this morning. The subject came up because the Black Diva Kitty-Kitty was streaking from windowsill to windowsill up-and-down-stairs this morning, her glowing yellow eyes intent on something beyond the glass that we couldn’t see.
I suggested she might be watching squirrels, as I’ve seen a few of them (or maybe just one; squirrels move fast) in the trees and on the back fence the last couple of days. I also noted that “they’ve come back, I guess,” because there were no squirrels, anywhere around here, all summer long.
“I wonder where they go?” Mom said as she carried her refilled go-cup of coffee back upstairs to her bedroom. She sits in bed, drinks her coffee, nibbles a cinnamon pastry, reads the newspaper and does the crossword puzzle every morning. If she doesn’t start her day this way, I know for sure she’s not feeling well, even when she lies and says she feels just fine.
But back to the squirrels. “I wonder where they go?” she said.
Mom grinned. (Score! Getting mom to smile is worth five points. A chuckle is worth 10, and full-out laughter earns me a whopping 25 points!)
“Yep, they pile their squirrel-suitcases and their squirrel-ice chest filled with chilled acorns and acorn-colas into the trunk of their squirrel-station wagon,” I went on, visualizing. “The squirrel kids tumble into the back seat and start fighting over who gets to hold Fido, their pet field mouse. One of them squeals that she needs to go to the bathroom. Mom-squirrel turns in the passenger seat and snarls at them to stop fighting, hold it, and shut up, we haven’t even left yet! Dad squirrel stares straight ahead through the windshield and remembers how much fun he used to have when he was a squirrel bachelor with nothing to think about but his nuts.”
Mom chortled, stopped halfway up the stairs. “Where do they go on vacation? Somewhere with taller trees than here?”
“Yeahhh,” I deadpanned. “They drive to Big Trees and go camping way up in the top branches of one of the giant sequoias. Dad-Squirrel gets his jollies by dropping pine cones on the heads of the unsuspecting tourists 600 feet below. He gets 25 points for a shoulder hit, 50 points if he hits the human’s head, and 100 points if the human tips over.”
Now Mom was laughing. Kitty-Kitty zoomed with evil intent from the bay window in the living room to the garden window over the kitchen sink. I swear she pointed like a dog. Squirrels, for sure.
“After it gets dark Dad-Squirrel tells squirrel ghost stories and scares the kids so bad they won’t sleep in their own tent. Mom-Squirrel gripes about having to cook over a damned campfire—you try making acorn-coffee that way—and how dirty the kids are getting. She’ll have to spend a week just washing clothes when they get home…”
And so it went. Mom giggled the rest of the way up the stairs. And for a little while, I didn’t notice my achy bursitis hips or my sore RA hands.
Squirrels. In sunglasses, Bermuda shorts and flip-flops. Laughter really is the best medicine.