Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Be The Judge

The other night as we walked along the trail by the river, we came upon an unusual sight. Off to the edge of the sidewalk was a squirrel that appeared to be recently deceased, with two strange wounds down its back. About 20 feet further along were two skateboards that seemed to have been hastily abandoned: one upturned, the other askew.

Just down the slope in a small canyon, two boys from my daughter’s class were furiously digging a hole under a shrub.

My husband asked, “Did you have an accident, guys?”

To which one boy answered, “We found it that way.”

Hmmm. Let’s re-examine that. Husband asks, “Did you have an accident...” and Boy responds, “We found it...” Here’s how the rest of the conversation could have gone:

Dear Husband says: It? Found what, guys?

Boy With Dirt Under Fingernails says: UH...nothing. What squirrel?

DH: I didn’t say anything about a squirrel.

BWDUF: Yeah, right. Not a squirrel.

DH: A squirrel, you say?

BWDUF: Nope. Definitely not a squirrel. Especially not a squirrel with two red stripes on its back the same distance apart as my skateboard wheels.

That’s how the conversation might have gone, but we decided not to press the issue. We honestly believed it was a freak accident, although it’s the first case of sidewalk kill I’ve ever witnessed. Poor Stripey probably never knew what hit him.

The next day the filled-in hole was decorated with a nicely-fashioned stick and grass cross, and the word ‘Squirrel’ was etched in the dirt. A nice touch.

It’s amazing sometimes what one teeny little word can say. A word like ‘it’.

Image from Wikipedia


Mary Witzl said...

"It" is a word that drives non-native speakers wild when they are first studying English. The referent isn't always as clear as it should be.

I love the fact that the boys actually buried the squirrel and seemed distressed by the accident, and I especially appreciate the fact that they put a marker on the grave. I'd be proud to have boys like that for sons.

Carrie Harris said...

That's some fabulous book fodder there. But, yeah, how nice that they didn't just bury poor Mr. Squirrel and leave him unmarked.

adrienne said...

Mary - Yes, I was also touched by their remorse, apparent in their sheepishness, and literally trying to cover up the deed...

Carrie - book fodder maybe, but not much of a mystery story!

Thanks for visiting, guys!

Rena said...

Awwwww -- poor Squirrel! Did you see my blog today? Funny because I posted about squirrels too and just saw yours. :)