For six months a squirrel made her home in our eaves, gaining access up the crepe myrtle ladder and through a rotted board. I named her Miss Suzy.
As Lucy and Annabelle pulled me down the driveway for our daily walks, Miss Suzy often poked her head through the hole watching us from above. Sometimes she spit bits of pink insulation down on us, chattering and yammering, clearly upset we were disturbing her nap. Or trespassing near her stash of nuts.
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was Miss Suzy by Miriam Young and Arnold Lobel. If you aren’t familiar with it, Miss Suzy was a gray squirrel who lived in the tip, tip, top of a tall oak tree. She liked to cook, she liked to clean, and she liked to sing while she worked….
Her life was fantastic until a band of six red squirrels took over her home, chasing her away. On a stormy night, she moved into the attic of an old house, into a beautiful dollhouse no longer enjoyed as the little girl had grown up and moved away. To Washington DC… (my words).
My mother read this book to me over and over and over every day. I can recite the words today. And, of course, I still have my copy of Miss Suzy (first edition, copyright 1964, Parents’ Magazine Press.) The pictures are art, the pages heavy and matte, significant.
I’m not sure where Texas Miss Suzy is living now – maybe back in the tip, tip, top of a tall live oak tree with her firefly lamps and acorn cups, where she belongs. But I know where she likes to spend her afternoons – in our backyard, her new home base for nut gathering. We catch her digging holes in the potted plants, the plants that have barely survived the summer. She jumps from the trees onto the fence, and runs along beside the swimming pool. Lucy and Annabelle are on full alert.
Miss Suzy is fat and very busy. Maybe Texas will actually have a winter this year.