Thursday, April 06, 2006

Of Dons & Doctors

One of my favorite pastimes is sitting on the back of leather sofa #2, watching the world go by. I suppose it’s akin to the human habit of watching the evening news, or reading the morning newspaper. I like to stay informed on neighborhood events, and keep tabs on the comings and goings of all and sundry, and window watching is my best news source.

There is a tiny little white-haired lady who lives across the street. When the weather is nice, she likes to sit outside in a rocking chair, and if it rains she puts a rain slicker over her gown and stands on the porch with a walker. I suspect she is about as old as me.

I’m always pleased whenever I see her venture outdoors because I can count on stuff happening. Within minutes of her arrival in the rocker, a steady stream of neighbors gravitate over for a visit. She’s quite popular, and it gives me lots to watch.

My humans refer to the little white-haired lady as “The Don,” apparently because she garners a certain respect from much of the community. She is also incredibly well-liked by the squirrel population. Each day when she is outside, I watch as she delights in pitching peanuts to the hungry multitudes. They scramble around her sidewalk and steps, and even with my bad eye I can see how she laughs when one becomes brave enough to remove a nut from her quivering fingers.

After the squirrels have gotten their fill of peanuts, they disperse to their respective homes--except for the three-legged squirrel, who dashes over to my porch to stash his hoard. I don’t think Softie even realizes that there are peanut shells littering her empty flowerpots, but I know they are there.

Today the squirrel visited my porch again, and this time he hopped right up onto the outside window sill, stuck his face close to mine, and we had a little chat. Seems his name is Dr. Southpaw—he said his name used to be Dr. Bright, but after he got his right arm severed in a trap, he said he "had to change my name on account of I wasn’t quite as bright as my mama had hoped."

He also confirmed my suspicion that all squirrels use the title “Doctor” because they think they are rather clever. I suggested that perhaps he should have simply dropped "Doctor" from his title and gone with "Mister" Bright, but that seemed to upset him immensely and he raged about how he was much more intelligent than me, my humans, and then he threw in the evil Mooch from next door, for good measure.

He railed on and on about the British One plugging the entry to his home (he referred to it as "putting a lock on the door"), and got so fired up that he lost his balance, and tumbled from the window ledge.

It would have been very amusing, but I am smart enough to know that it is quite unwise to laugh in the face of an angry squirrel, three-legged or no.

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