SOME YEARS AGO...WHEN I WAS YOUNGER AND MORE STUPID...
I was an Expert Shot while in the military ~ this meant with weapons ~ Rifles ~ pistols ~ machine guns (yes, I learned to use those as well) ~ to include Hand Grenades (lobbing them in the center of the target ~ live ammo)...as part of my training. While in Europe, I became a member of the German/American Rifle Team...which simply meant that during "off" times ~ the team would go to different German bases and trade weapons and shoot targets for points...winners, etc. A great deal of fun for me..and only one of two other women on the entire team.
That's the history and set-up for this little tale...let's call it ~ THE SQUIRREL TALE...
THE SQUIRREL TALE
Once upon a time, while I was still married ~ still in the military ~ still working for the military ~ and the Defense Intelligence Agency ~ my then spouse and I had a brand new home designed and built on the East Coast. Now ~ this home had everything ~ to include wiring in every single part of the home ~ for heat ~ Security ~ floor heat in the baths ~ meaning no cold flooring, etc. The home had a whopping deck ~ with seating built-in all around. Across the top, extending the entire length of the deck, was flat, so potted plants could be seated there for flowers, plants, etc. This also became a great resting place for birds to feed. All we had to do was take a scoop of wild-bird-seed, and, spreading it all along the length of the deck.
As a result of this ~ our backyard became a HAVEN for birds indigenous to the air ~ and, some not so...of all types and varieties. It was like a wild zoo. Incredible ~ to watch, to hear ~ and to see them bring their young to this spot and feed and be fed.
One day, little chipmunks also began to scamper along the deck...on the flooring, etc. Filling their little cheeks, I would just squeal with delight to watch all of them. Such a thrill to know my backyard housed such creatures ~ an utter gift from God. It was like opening the doors and windows to a small piece of heaven. I could not get enough. The entire backside of my home was glass ~ opening a world to me that brought the outside ~ in...for viewing and listening. I could not have been happier for this outcome.
On another day, I noticed a little squirrel. Just one. The next day ~ another ~ and another...until this grew into a slew of squirrels ~ taking over the entire deck..fighting off the birds and throwing seed everywhere...scampering ~ beating a path to the seeds each morning, noon and night. No amount of my shooing them away was heeded.
This was now war.
One of the bedrooms had a back window. This window could be opened and one could view the deck just to the right side but not all of it could be seen because the deck ran the entire length of the back of the home...but one of the ledges could be viewed...so close...one could reach out and touch anything seated there on the ledge of the deck.
I took my BB Gun...which had been purchased for me by my then-hubby. I carefully loaded it with BB's...it was a pump-action-Daisy...it stayed in the Master-Suite-Walk-In-Closet. But, now I was loading it...
I eased the window open. The squirrels scampered and disappeared. Throughout the day ~ I would check back and see the squirrels ~ now at a minimum of 50 or more at a time ~ now vacuuming up all the seeds and not allowing the birds to even get one seed, though the birds continued to try. Nothing deterred the squirrels from their ravenous appetites.
I waited by the cracked open window..pumped up the rifle...then the phone rang...or someone was at the door...I went to take care of it.
I returned once again..seated myself on the floor, peeped over the window ledge to see a squirrel preening itself on the deck-ledge. Perfect, I thought...just perfect!!
I quietly and slowly grabbed the rifle..inch by slow inch..moving it closer to me. I began to once again pump it up. Wait...I had done that...hadn't I? I was not sure how many times I had pumped it up!! Once? Twice? Three? Six?
I began to pump it again...once...twice...three...four...I stopped.
I got my position..placed the rifle in position...blew out my breath...sucked it in again...and held........
NOW, THIS WAS......the shot heard around the world...because in that very instant...that second of seconds...when this little creature was scratching himself with his little foot...and I was going to sting him in his hindquarters...at that very moment...
He decided to turn his little head and bite at his fur......on his hindquarters.
I had decked him. Dead.....not moving. I set the rifle down.......screamed......ran for the outside deck.
Surel not!!!!!! Surely.......a mistake.........surely I missed...because he was.........in a word..........gone.......maybe he ran.........I could'a missed, after all......
Outside, I stopped short. There, on the deck...under the seating of the deck.....was this little creature. This animal......a little creature that God had designed...in a heap. Still.
I could not bear it. I fell to my knees...for the very first time in my entire life...I had ended a life. That was not my intention at all. It was to sting him...to make him scared enough ~ he would not return...maybe he would tell his cousins...not to return as well..
But, not to kill!!
I wept for this creature for hours. I walked and paced the floor. I sobbed. I could not bear it.
I went back to the bedroom ~ sat on the bed...dissolved in tears. That was where my husband found me...sobbing on the bed. I could not move. Through sobs, I told him the story.
He removed the rifle from my site...and, from what he told me later on in months...that he jammed it so I could never use it again.
For three days, I could not go to work. I was too sick. It was impossible for me to even think that I had caused the death of an animal....when it certainly was not my intention to do so ~ only to sting him...nothing more.
It was ~ an accident.
For three days while I was home....my husband ~ the thoughtful person he was...would call me from his work place...and when I would answer..he would say to me, "...is this the murderer..."?................
I never held another weapon after that.
A huntress, I could never be. My shooting will be with a camera...