Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. ---Albert Einstein

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Night of the Wild Ones

I’ve been gardening a lot this spring. In fact, Memorial Day marked my planting finale and official launch of hand-to-hand combat with local squirrels.

This is not a new development.

For years, I’ve planted begonias one day only to find them exhumed the next. Show me a pile of surgically removed snapdragons and I’ll show you a grey squirrel tittering from atop the Weber grill. Squirrels have eaten the crowns off my cedar fence posts and the tops off my tennis shoes. Yesterday I caught one savoring my new broom while his mate worked on an Adirondack chair.

And this battle extends beyond summer. Last Christmas, my son artfully hung strings of holiday lights around our evergreens. The squirrels watched, eager to dissect his work.

That was just before I unwittingly placed plastic containers filled with holiday baking on the back steps. By the time I discovered my error, the cookies had been repurposed as rodent hockey pucks. They even ate the Kentucky Bourbon Balls, leaving nothing but rumpled candy wrappers. Squirrels must enjoy a nip of bourbon with their plastic.

Imagine my resistance to attending this year’s gala for the Up North Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

After all, I did attend their Wildlife hoopla last year. Incidentally, that celebration showcased a “Save the Squirrels” video accompanied by dance music and a greeter dressed in rodent attire. And that was just the first party surprise.

The evening’s host then shared a heart warming story about a couple that coaxed a white tailed deer into the back seat of their Volvo. They felt the deer looked peaked and required medical attention. However, their drive to the nearest veterinarian produced a Volvo interior in need of medical attention and a firm lecture from the vet who had to extract the perfectly healthy deer from the car.

Big money started changing hands

Next on the agenda, an auctioneer took the stage and began taking bids for everything from Bass fishing boats to golf lessons. Big money started exchanging hands. By this time, guests were pretty far along with the cocktail hour. Some danced the twist in the aisles, while another group formed a conga line and made their way out the door into the night. A woman twirling on top of the silent auction table was escorted to her seat by the rodent greeter.

Meanwhile, a few guests started bidding on fictitious auction items—things like black bear cubs and pileated woodpeckers. About then, we decided it was time to leave before the police arrived.

So this is what happens when people get too invested in saving rodents.

They knock back a few martinis and pretend they’re on Dancing with the Stars. I went to that party expecting to bid on a live trap for my backyard pests but was lucky to make it home without a litter of rescue squirrels and a citation for disturbing the peace!

This year I’m going to stay home with the furry pests and a few friends for dinner in the garden. We’ll offer a toast to the Up North Wildlife Rehab Center and hope nobody breaks a leg dancing.