Driving home a few weeks ago, Mr. Stuck and I laughed about a particularly amusing incident that happened four or five years back on the same stretch of county road we were on. I thought I’d share the story. First, some background:
We live in a mostly rural area (“the boonies”) where horses share the road with logging trucks, bicycles, Volvo wagons and Harleys. In the summer we have a farmers’ market in the center of town, near the liquor store, medical marijuana clinic, and post office. The civic center houses tennis and tae kwon do lessons as well as a museum, Friday night skate nights and crab feed fundraisers. Historically, the people who live in our community have prided themselves on their independence and resourcefulness; mini farms dot the landscape, and the ‘old ways’ of homesteading are alive and well. The area itself has a very interesting history of radicalism, alternate philosophies, and anarchists. It is for these reasons, aside from the beauty here, that I love where we live and where we chose to raise our family.
It is also for these reasons that not a lot of things surprise me out here anymore…except for this one night, several years ago. Mr. Stuck and I had been out and about, running errands, I suppose, with Numbers One and Young at home. It was dark, probably 10:00 at night, and the night was cool, but dry. I was driving toward home on a two-lane road that proceeds downhill past the power lines and wends its way back up to meet the state highway. Posted speed limit is 40 mph, but it’s really easy to go faster as you gain momentum, so you have to be careful.
There was nobody on the road that night but us. I was just past the crest of the hill and heading down when my headlights caught something up ahead in the road. It was big and light-colored; I slowed way down as we tried to figure out what it was. Just my luck — as we approached, we realized it was a man, standing in the middle of my lane.
In a squirrel costume, head to toe. Smiling.
I gave him wide berth, moving into the other lane to avoid him. He didn’t move; he merely stood there, facing me, as I slowed to barely a crawl. It rather freaked me out, because it wasn’t Halloween, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why a man would be dressed in a squirrel costume and standing in the middle of the road in front of an oncoming car, unless he had some dastardly plan. (What the plan was, I had no idea, but I knew it had to be dastardly.) When we were merely feet from him, he waved genially with his squirrel paw, turned, and sauntered away.
After we exchanged puzzled looks and said, did we really just see that? Mr. Stuck and I laughed and talked about it all the way home, and for long afterward. We were glad that we had been together that night, because had we been alone and seen it, nobody would have believed the story, and we might have doubted our own eyes. However, since we could each corroborate the other, we could assure one another that no, we weren’t crazy — or, at least, we weren’t delusional.
There really was a man-squirrel in the road that night.
This, friends, is my life.