OPINION COLUMNS

The story of the squirrel

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, July 25, 2015
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It was raining when I pulled up to Whataburger this morning. I was really pleased to see someone pulling out of a parking spot near the door. I got close enough to see it was Wayne Long pulling out.

Before I had found a seat with my coffee, Dale Watts said, “We have something for you to write about.” I was interested. Dale said Wayne Long had just left with a five gallon bucket of pecans. He was mad. They had kidded him. He called them a collective-something and left.

Here are the high points of the Wayne Long story as related to me by Dale Watts and Doug White: Wayne had called Bert Caraway and asked him to bring some pecans to the coffee shop. Today was the day Bert brought the nuts. Everyone was interested in the exchange. Wayne told the guys in great detail about a certain squirrel he had been observing in his yard. Several days ago, Wayne began placing one or two pecans on his patio so the squirrel could find them. Wayne watched daily as the little rodent took the nuts and hid them. The squirrel would come back the next day and dig the nuts up – the same nuts he had hidden the day before – and eat them.

So, when Bert showed up with the bucket, the guys asked, “What’s with the bucket?” After Wayne told his squirrel story, they made the following observations and asked the following questions:

  • “You must be pretty well caught up on everything else if sitting in the house watching a squirrel seems like good entertainment.”
  • “Wayne, you’ve got a good eye. How do you know the squirrel that hid the nut is the same squirrel that dug it up the next day?”
  • “Wayne, how do you remember where the nut was buried? Did you flag the location?”
  • “What exactly does a squirrel whisperer whisper?”
  • “Is it true that you asked your squirrel, ‘Hey, little fellow. What are you doing?’ and he answered, ‘Nuttin'”?
  • “Is that an ‘I brake for Squirrels’ bumper sticker on your pickup?”

Then we started talking about the private use of drones. We discussed the following:

  • If a drone comes over your house say, within shotgun range, is it legal to shoot it out of the air?
  • How does the FAA figure on regulating the use of these little monsters?
  • Did you know there’s a mosquito-sized drone (developed by the US government)? This is the one that has folks worried. The thing’s so small it could light on your head and go with you instead of using up precious mosquito-sized battery life while trying to follow you.
  • We have it on good authority (our DPS Sergeant McKinney) that drone use for monitoring traffic isn’t in the near future. Searching for escapees might be a good application, but drones will probably not replace helicopters soon.

Residents of Wise County are not usually on the cutting edge for the use of new technologies, but there is an exception. There’s a rumor floating around that Wayne Long has bought a drone so he can keep track of his squirrel.

I made up that last part.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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