Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!!

Dear Liza,

We have all been on edge the last few years. We had uneasy feelings brought on an unstable person in the White House. Our new President has been around for years, and we know what to expect. I have not always agreed with him, but he is, most definitely, not nuts.

A good thing to be able to say about one’s President, as it turns out.

Agile little buggers…

But you know who IS nuts? Squirrels. And January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day, so I am appreciating them.

And I love ‘em! These fluffy streaks scamper about our sidewalks, power lines and rooftops. They chatter at us from trees and shinny around trunks to stay just out of sight. They make adorable grey arches as they rainbow hop across the road.

Squirrels have helped make our Lone Fir Cemetery what it is today, their forgetfulness accidentally planting of hundreds of trees.

Squirrels can be a nuisance. They can get in attics and chew wires, not to mention making nests where they are not welcome. I’m sure they make terrible roommates.

But outside, in the park, on the roofs or lurking on the other side of a tree trunk, they are adorable.

And that’s your dose of silliness from Portland for today.


Grandma Judy

After Christmas Quiet

Dear Liza,

Even in lockdown, it felt like a rush before Christmas. Auntie Bridgett worked hard at SideStreet Arts Gallery making sure folks got their art gifts delivered. Last minute shopping, even online, is stressy. I baked for us, and extra for neighbors.

And now that the holiday has passed, it feels quiet. A little sad. A little more lonely than usual. In need of perspective, I went to visit the Dead People at Lone Fir Cemetery.

The place was more crowded than usual. There was a well-attended memorial for people who had been killed by police brutality, saying prayers for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many others. There was also a private funeral in a far corner. Needing just my own company, I avoided both.

I saw what seemed like a million squirrels, mostly plump and happy, dashing about. This fluffy friend had found a corn cob and was enjoying herself heartily.

I stopped by the memorial for James Frush, beloved bar tender, who passed away in the 1870s. The story goes that when Mr. Frush died, his friends carried a large urn from his bar downtown, crossed the river on the ferry, and continued up the hill to the cemetery, to drink to his memory. How much truth is in this we may never know, but the current marker is delightful. Even more so at this time of year, as someone has placed festive fir branches and ribbon around it.

I left the cemetery feeling better, as usual, but I still don’t feel at peace. There is so much emotional support we are doing without these days, even in the midst of our own more-comfortable-than-many circumstances. I miss being able to visit and hug family and friends. I miss having options.

I will make some art, have some Christmas cookies, and take a nap. That should do the trick, for sure.


Grandma Judy