My Buddy (part 1)
It only took until seven-thirty that morning to make it a momentous
It was Good Friday, a holiday, but my husband had gone to work.
As usual on a holiday, I got up, made coffee, and looked forward
to reading the paper leisurely. But first, like every other morning,
holiday or not, there were the morning chores and rituals.
The cats, of course, were wide-awake and waiting for me to cater
to each of their individual desires.
After the cats were taken care of, the outdoor animals get their
turn. I tossed seed on the patio for the birds. Then out went the
day-old bread, for the birds. Finally, I scattered peanuts on the
ground for the squirrels. That done, I stood at the patio door,
coffee cup in hand, watching the animals at their breakfast.
Over the years, there have been a few squirrels that required special
care. That spring, it was a small, black squirrel that had obvious
difficulty walking, standing, or even sitting. He was smaller than
the other squirrels, his fur wasn't as thick, and he could barely
haul himself up and down the fence without stopping to rest. I had
taken to calling him My Buddy, and I looked for him every morning.
When he arrived, I would make sure that there were lots of peanuts
close to him so that he didn't have to search too far for his meal.
If there were other squirrels around, I would make sure that food
was abundant enough so that they wouldn't have to compete with him.
Usually this worked. Until that morning.
There I was, looking through the patio door, coffee in hand, keeping
a careful eye on My Buddy to make sure no-one disturbed him. Then
a grey squirrel appeared. It ran towards him and started to chase
him. I immediately opened the door and ran out to scare the grey
squirrel away, but I scared My Buddy and he ran away too. He slipped,
and the grey squirrel chased him again. I chased both of them as
they ran towards the little fishpond at the edge of the patio. Scrabbling
over the stones around the pond, My Buddy slipped and fell into
the cold, smelly water. I watched in a panic waiting for him to
come to the surface, but he didn't. I couldn't let him drown!
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