The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Amy Reeves
For the Sentinel 

Where'd that come from?

 


Squirrely Adjective (slang)

So I am sitting at home crocheting a hat and watching my two cats tear through the house like they have turbo jets attached to their tails and chased by invisible canines. They remind me of the big grey squirrels that would chase each other through the woods behind our house. Those squirrels made such a racket one morning, I thought that we had a bear crashing around in the trees. I have no idea what got into my cats or why they were being so squirrely; it’s like having a home entertainment in live 3D.

After Danini and Saucy were done tearing through the house at warp speed and upending my yarn basket, I picked up the balls of wool and called my mom. I was telling her how my cats were acting like the wild squirrels in the woods and that I had not a clue of what to write for this week’s article, she reminded me about the squirrels from my childhood. And it fit perfectly for the night that I had just experienced dealing with my cats ransacking my living room and climbing the curtains.

The word “squirrely” originates from the early 1920s and it means to be eccentric, nervous, flighty, mildly insane, unpredictable or jumpy, often in a cowardly way. Also nutty, resembling a squirrel’s behavior while looking for nuts, exactly how my cats were acting.

Squirrels and chipmunks are from the same family and their babies are called kits. A group of these creatures is called a scurry.

Let us take a journey into the slightly insane, nutty and definitely unpredictable outcome of world of “Mom’s Squirrels a/k/a Chipmunks.”

When I was a kid, my mother found a scurry of kits in a dresser drawer of a house that my uncle had purchased to remodel and sell. The mother was found outside and was not alive. We kids thought it was the end of the world for these babies, so we cried and carried on until my mom wrapped them up in her coat and brought them home with us. Their eyes were not open and despite being so ugly, they found a place in our hearts and home. My mom had to purchase special formula from the veterinarian and we took turns feeding these hairless creatures with an eyedropper. All of them made it despite the efforts of our cat Tippy Toes who was a Main Coon and weighed over 20 pounds.

When the kits were big enough to be let out into the wild (across the street was a grove of madrona, cedar, hemlock and fir trees) my mom carefully tucked them in her shirt like a rolled up apron and walked them across the street. Here is where things got insanely wild and squirrely. Mom had opened her rolled-up shirt to let them loose, and a truck came barreling down the road. The chipmunks did not run for cover into the woods as one would expect; they shot up into mom’s shirt and then into her long curly hair.

Here is a what my brother and I saw from the front yard across the street…mom walks across the street, unrolls her shirt, big truck goes by and we lose sight of mom, mom reappears and is leaping around like she is being chased by invisible bees, and her long beautiful curls now look like the Greek Gods have channeled Medusa onto her head, all while yelling something in what seems to be a foreign language and looking madder than a wet hen.

She came back across the street, and we asked where the babies were. She lifted up her hair, and there were six tiny chipmunks tangled up in it. We had one of the neighbor ladies come and help comb them out. Three hours later, one at a time, they were let go across the street into the woods.

 

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