Letter from the Editor 

This is a story of man versus wild, played out in the blistering summer heat of Memphis, Tennessee. It's a story of love, passion, and persistence, of wills and willpower, of victory and defeat.

The tale began in late May, when my wife bought a bird-feeder and hung it from a plant hanger on the corner of our garage. I look back now at those days of innocence and smile — at how we watched for a week, hoping in vain for a bird, any bird, to find our offering. And then, how happy we were when they came. And come they did, in great numbers — cardinals, finches, sparrows, red-bellied woodpeckers, mourning doves, ring-necked doves, cowbirds, grackles, blue jays, and more. We had to start filling the feeder every morning.

But we didn't mind. We sat outside with our coffee and looked upon our work, and it was good. What's $10 a week in birdseed, we thought, when it brings such pleasure to all?

And then came the furry, gray intruders. Squirrels. At first, they were content to forage on the ground, seemingly unable to get to the feeder. Then I looked out one morning and watched as one jumped, from a trellis more than four feet away to the feeder. I rehung the feeder farther away. The next morning, I watched a squirrel boomerang up onto the feeder from a small bush. I trimmed the bush back. The next morning, I watched a squirrel drop off the garage roof, land in a hanging fern, then leap four feet across to the feeder. They were starting to tick me off. I moved the fern.

The following morning, again, a squirrel was on the feeder, gorging itself. I have no idea how it got there. I walked closer, and the squirrel didn't move, thinking, I suppose, that I wouldn't notice him sitting on the far side of the feeder. I grabbed the base of the feeder, pulled it slowly toward me, and swung it as hard as I could. Is it wrong that I got enormous pleasure from watching the little bastard fly spread-eagle through the air? I don't care. I want to feed the birds, not fatten up every squirrel in Midtown.

I hung the feeder farther under the eaves, and it's been several days since I've seen a squirrel make it to the promised land. They have learned to content themselves with the seeds the birds knock to the ground. I don't even mind that they've turned the birdbath into a squirrel bath. It's summer, after all. I can spare the water. I also bought a BB pistol, but I think we're good for now.

Bruce VanWyngarden



Comments (41)

Showing 1-25 of 41

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 41

Add a comment



Tiger Blue

Louisville 81, Tigers 72

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Beyond the Arc


News Blog

Public Picks Zoo Parking Lot Plan

Politics Beat Blog

Left Activists Intrude on Meeting of Shelby County Democrats

Politics Beat Blog

GOP Figure Bill Giannini Killed in Car Crash

Politics Beat Blog

Mackler Out of Senate Race, Yields to Bredesen

Beyond the Arc

The Hustle Dispatch: Week 6

News Blog

Cooper-Young Nears Historical Landmark Status

Intermission Impossible

Bad Santa: Tennessee Shakespeare turns Godot into a Holiday Hellscape


More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • This Land ...

    • Mar 2, 2017
  • Common Sense Pot Policy

    Unlike Bill Clinton, I've inhaled. So have 49 percent of all Americans, according to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Marijuana (medical or otherwise) has been decriminalized or legalized in 23 states, and measures are on the ballot to legalize it in five more states this November, including Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California (where medical pot is already legal). A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans think pot should be legalized and regulated like alcohol ...
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Paper Cuts

    • Apr 6, 2017
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation