Distress call

Many years later as mother and I were just talking, she heard the distress squeak.

Parenting does not encompass the process of a formal education, or social courtesy only. There is more to it, like inculcating the reading habit, hobbies and others. But there is one other thing my mother taught me that is to recognise distress call of squirrels. But before that a little anecdote on an incident in her life and how squirrels became important to her.

When she was a little girl she lived with her father in a bungalow with a sprawling garden. Huge trees were home for many birds and playground for innumerable squirrels. A baby squirrel lost its mother and became her pet. She was delighted to have this pet, because she was otherwise lonely as her father would be busy with his business and the mother ill and confined to bed.

One day the squirrel went missing and could not be found for three days. And then finally she heard the distress call and found the squirrel in her father’s cupboard, caught in the pocket of his suit. Needless to say, the clothes were completely wrecked, bitten and rendered unwearable. Let me tell you her father dressed always wore suits.  He was very Brit in that way—the tie, bow tie, dress shirt, breast coat and the suit were all bitten and destroyed. The amazing part of this whole episode is that the father did not reprimand her. To date she praises her father’s show of restraint.

Many years later, as my mother and I were just talking, she heard the distress squeak. We rushed to the garden and sure enough a cat was staring to frighten the squirrel. We were there in time to chase the cat away.

That’s how I learned to recognise the distress call. Recently, I was on my computer, working on a chapter of my book and I heard a distress call. I looked around and couldn’t find any squirrel. Then it seemed like it was coming from a water storage tank. As I looked inside, a squirrel was swimming and was desperate to come out. But the water level too low for the squirrel to jump out of  the troubled water. I lowered a little can and scooped him into it.

Squirrels are known to panic, but he cooperated and I set him on the stone. He shivered from being wet, then huddle into a curl until he dried and jumped onto the wall nearby and from there onto a tree.

“How did you guess he was in trouble?” my mother asked, forgetting the lesson she had taught.

“I heard the distress call,” I told her. She nodded; it was an all-knowing-nod. This isn’t much of an incident but the the day wasn’t so dull after all!        

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