’The Old Man and the Squirrel’

Goshen /
| 19 Feb 2024 | 04:13

I am 85 years old, a widower, and have lived in the Village of Goshen for 25 years. A retired English professor, I enjoy reading, watching sports on television, playing tennis, biking and gardening. I guess you might say I live a quiet life. Although recently my quiet was interrupted.

Last week I had a run-in with a squirrel inside my house. I had bought some food at ShopRite on the way home from playing tennis but when I started to take it into the kitchen from the garage, I noticed that the recyclables container in the kitchen was full and the next day was when the recyclables would be picked up. So, I took the kitchen container out to the garage, not fully closing the door from the garage to the kitchen, and then took the big bin of recyclables to the road at the base of the driveway. I am assuming that that is when the squirrel entered the garage.

When he saw me coming back into the garage, he looked for an escape route and ran into the kitchen through the partially closed kitchen door. I did not see this; I assume this is what happened. The surprising thing to me is that we must have been together in the house for about four hours before I heard him. (Maybe he took a nap when I did, from 1 to 2 p.m.)

At about 4 p.m., I was working at the computer in the kitchen and suddenly heard crashing sounds which included three bumps. I immediately thought some of the Christmas decorations I had recently put in a closet in the second bedroom had fallen. I went through the hall and opened the door to the second bedroom and looked in the closet; nothing had fallen. I walked back and glanced into the living room and saw a large gray squirrel on the floor looking directly at me. He seemed to be thinking, “Who are you?” Thinking quickly, I ran into the kitchen and got a broom from its place in the kitchen closet and closed the sliding door between the dining room and the kitchen. Then, gently waving my trusty broom, I tried to move the squirrel from the living room into the front hall and then into the kitchen, but instead he ran into the second bedroom through the door I had left open!

Now I was getting angry. I ran into the second bedroom and violently waved my broom only to see a dustpan flying across to my left and hit the bedroom wall. Was he throwing things at me? Then I realized I had not noticed that my broom has a paired dustpan which is stored by attaching it to the base of the broom handle which I had shaken loose, the dustpan I mean.

I did manage to chase the squirrel out of the bedroom into the kitchen — my plan was working. I closed the sliding door to the front hall. My next step was to open the door between the kitchen and the garage and chase him out, but he panicked and raced around the kitchen, including jumping up on the counter, across the stove top, and up to the top of the refrigerator. Then he jumped down and ran between my legs! My instinctive reaction when it ran at me was to jump, so I jumped straight up into the air, and of course I fell. (Fortunately, it was a rolling fall, and I was not hurt. I actually remember feeling proud of myself at that moment for being able to fall and then jump back up.)

I next saw him go back into the main part of the house because, in my haste to close the sliding door to the front hall, I had left it open a crack which he squeezed through. Alas, I was back to square one.

I went into the hall and tightly closed the sliding hall door to the kitchen, and I closed the door to the second bedroom. I then went through the living room into the sunporch and opened the door there to the outdoors. I came back into the living room to see him flying at the picture window in his attempt to get outdoors, while knocking over several potted plants. Finally, he scampered across the room and tried to climb into the fireplace, but the screen stopped him. I waved the broom — minus the dustpan — and managed to chase him to the sunporch and he ran straight out the open door. Success!

My quiet life had returned but with a new appreciation and wariness towards my squirrel neighbors.

Jim Tarvin