Remember Andy from the movie Funny Farm? Chevy Chase in his post-Caddyshack and SNL days, sliding down fame’s slippery slope, but still hilarious as a wanna-be author who moves to rural Vermont to pen The Great American Novel.
Instead of peace and quiet, Andy gets a crazy mailman and an acute case of writer’s block. It’s a fish-out-of-water story, one that inspires his wife Elizabeth to name a squirrel after him in her first children’s book—a book that a publisher accepts with a $5,000 advance. (She asks, “Is that much for a first book?” as he reels.)
Many children’s book editors warn against submitting talking squirrel tales. Seems they’re overdone. Was Elizabeth from Funny Farm to blame for an influx of fluffy rodent submissions? The world may never find out.
Despite the creature caveat, I’m writing about squirrels. But non-fiction, based upon our recent experience.
A violent July storm blew a squirrel’s nest from a tree near our property. A neighbor and I found day-old squirrels on the bike path. Gently, we moved the nest onto the grass. I assured her since the tree was closest to my home, I would contact the proper authorities. I assumed the police or animal control would be the right call.
I was wrong. Had I telephoned those authorities, the squirrels might have been destroyed.
Instead, I found an informative resource in Squirrel-Rehab.org. I learned that if the babies were cold, the mother would not take them back. The nest was covered in hail from the storm. The pups were indeed cold and wet, squirming and chirping, in obvious distress. I followed the instructions to warm the babies and tried to reunite the family, but by 10pm, the mother was still missing as another raging storm began. I brought the babies into my home.
I cared for them for nearly 48 hours and then brought them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators Wild Baby Rescue in Blairstown, NJ. The video below documents our short time with the squirrel pups, the inspiration for a new story. Elizabeth, you ain’t stopping me.