city man triumphs over beast

[think kit. day three.] ELMHURST, Ill. — My dad killed a squirrel once. Man, do I wish I had a recording of him telling this story, because my summary won’t do it justice.

The telling of this story starts during some impromptu gathering at my parents’ house in the last year. I don’t remember how we got on the topic, but I remember my dad’s comment, “I killed a squirrel once,” was somehow related to the conversation. Anyway, here’s what he proceeded to tell me and my sister:


At some point in the 1980s, Dad was in our basement, working on something or other, when he looked up and saw a squirrel staring at him from the rafters. They stared at each other for a while, then Dad ran to my neighbor’s house. As he told it, “I thought Todd would have a gun, you know? He grew up on a farm in Missouri or something.”

Todd did not have a gun.

Dad went back into the basement, where the squirrel remained, staring at the frantic, mustachioed young man who would eventually bring about his demise. Why the squirrel didn’t run, I’ll never know.

Plan B: Fashion a spear out of whatever is lying around. I can’t imagine a situation where anyone I know would think “A squirrel! I must make a spear!” Alas, I have been proven wrong.

Dad went to his shop, hammered the end of a hollow pipe into a point and sharpened it on some tool I can’t remember the name of right now. Dad’s Plan Bs usually involve tools. Actually, I’m surprised they weren’t part of Plan A.

So now Dad had this spear, and I don’t know how much time elapsed, but the squirrel still hasn’t moved. The way my dad tells the part about stabbing the squirrel — the gestures, the facial expressions, the re-enactment — was so wonderful to witness, and I’m deeply sorry you can’t experience it. I will not attempt to describe it, so yeah, I’ll just say Dad speared the squirrel.

It doesn’t end there.

No, it keeps going.

The squirrel didn’t die from the stabbing, but Dad didn’t know what to do. He was holding the spear, the squirrel on the other end, and he just wanted to get it over with. There was a broom near by, which he grabbed and used to beat the poor creature. As Dad told it, he had so much adrenaline coursing through him, he kept shoving the spear with excessive force, and the hollow end he was holding sliced open his hand. He showed me and my sister the scar.

So the squirrel died. Dad disposed of it. The end.


Hearing my parents’ stories has to be one of my favorite things about “growing up.” My parents are fun. They’re funny. I’m happy to have inherited all sorts of interesting qualities from them. Going to my parents’ house is often entertaining, because they’ve lived in the house since 1980, meaning there’s always something that’s been tucked away for years, which randomly resurfaces, and I get to hear another story for the first time.

For example: My dad found a poem he wrote in 4th grade. I performed a dramatic reading of it that night:


My parents weren’t the strict kind. They weren’t the “hey we’re your parents but we’re your buddies, too” kind, either. I somewhat feared them and carried on as a well-behaved child.

I’ve loved becoming friends with them as I grow older, and the more stories I hear about their lives before me, the more I think we would have been friends if we were the same age. Actually, they might have been too cool for me. That’s a mind-blowing realization I never expected to have. If I can have half the relationship with my future kids as I’ve had with my parents, I’ll be extremely happy. And because I know you’re reading this, Mom: Yes, this is the blog version of a hug, and tell Dad to stop calling me an ass for posting his squirrel story on the Internet.

[think kit. dec. 3 prompt: Let’s loosen up: share a side-splitting story from the last year. What made you laugh out loud until tears formed? What made you giggle every time it was referenced? Whether it’s a story, an image, a video – we want to hear about the banana peel on the floor, your best practical joke, or gems from the mind of a three-year-old. Whether it’s sassy, sarcastic, or just plain silly: make us laugh!]



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