As far as tragedies go, this one isn't going to inspire an epic poem, but I know a certain husband who feels like he's lost a war. He planted this tree himself, and each year, watched with loving eyes as the tree grew, blossomed and gave fruit. He made plum jam and gave jars of the dark, rich spread to family and friends. He nurtured this tree, and now look at it.
The Mister and squirrels have a history, and it isn't pretty. Each July, when the plums come under squirrel siege, The Mister bursts from his husband suit and becomes GRAHAM ASTON, SQUIRREL KILLER.
Don't worry, he hasn't killed any, but not for lack of trying.
Last year, he spooned blood from a rump roast into baggies, and hung them from the branches of the plum tree. His theory was that the squirrels would get freaked out by the animal blood, and stay away from the tree. It worked for me. But it turns out the squirrels aren't afraid of rump roast blood.
Then he gathered a few round, tinfoil pie plates, passed string through a hole at the top, and hung the pie plates on the branches. His theory was that the squirrels would get freaked out by the reflective flashes when jostled by a breeze. They just waited until the sun went down to chow down. As for a breeze, do you remember last July? If you felt a breeze, you called NBC12 About Town.
Then Graham and I went to Wal-Mart, ostensibly to buy refills for the electric toothbrush, but really to buy a gun. That's when I realized how far the situation had escalated. My peace-loving husband had blood lust.
"You're not really going to spend $120 on that BB gun, are you?" sez I.
"Uh," sez he.
"Please put it back."
He put it back. Then he picked up a another gun. "But I'm really going to spend $30 on this one."
Once home, he removed the screen from the balcony window, aimed the business end of the gun at the tree, and waited.
"Would you like your meals out here?" I asked.
I heard a lot of "pfft" from the gun and a lot of "damn!" from the Mister. Apparently the sight "was off." Then he picked up an antique gun we had sitting around and fired it. Or tried to. The cartridge casing blew up in the barrel and backfired. The wad grazed his face, but didn't take out any flesh or optic tissue.
"That was close," he said.
And now the tree is split down the middle, all its green plums littering the ground. Graham is sad.
The squirrels are not.
Me, I just live here.