Monday 26 Sep 2016

Minnie Moocher
AJ Robinson

Around our apartment complex, there are many squirrels, as I’ve often written of, especially when it comes to Juliet, our dog, and her antics. Well, it turns out, there are also some interesting squirrels where I work, a Marriott Vacation Club Resort. The place has a nice big pool area; the pool bar and restaurant are very popular. There’s a nice big deck area, the bar overlooks the lake and pool and a small landscaped area separates the pool from the walkway.

Ah, now that landscaping area is the key to this little story. It reminds me of the opening to the movie “Over the Hedge.” RJ the raccoon tells the other animals that where they live is now the only remaining “green space” in a huge residential development. So, what can they do about food? Well, he shows them how they can get all the food they want, they just have to snatch it from the humans.

We have a similar situation at the resort. We have a family of squirrels who, well, they mooch off the staff and guests. These days, almost daily, no, wait, I tell a lie: they do come daily, Mama Squirrel and one or more of her offspring scamper across the deck area. Their chief goal is the trash can. Despite the fact that it’s quite tall, they are all equally quite adept at scaling the smooth walls of the can. Once at the top, they grip the edge with their back paws and then dive into the trash. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, but they always manage to find something to nibble. Their favourite is good old French Fries. Once they find a fry or something else, they pull up, leap down and zip off to find a nice spot to sit and dine. What I find funny is that they seem to love sitting on one of the chairs!

Then there are the guests. They find the squirrels cute and thus they toss food to them all the time. It may not be the wisest act, as feeding squirrels does tend to encourage them to come back and beg for more, but it is cute. For myself, I’m guilty of it myself. Occasionally, I’ll toss one a nice maraschino cherry; they really love them. Lately, there’s been a young squirrel, quite the tiny baby, that’s been making many appearances on the deck. He’s a cute little fella, more tail than body, and he loves to snag a snack from anyone willing to feed him. Just the other day, I saw him try to climb the leg of a highchair one family was using for their little boy.

He quite the bold one, isn’t he.

The family tossed him a few scraps and he was happy. T then I noticed someone else angling for a snack, a couple of the local birds. Again, it seemed they were used to feeding and, thus, had no fear of taking on both humans and squirrels. They “dive bombed” the little guy and snatched up a few fries. One of the servers informed me that they called the big black bird, “Cuju.”

That’s quite the colorful moniker! At least so far, the bird has not lived up to its name. Anyway, between the squirrels and the birds, the resort is quite the colorful and fun place to work. Guess I’m a lucky, how many people get to work in a fun place?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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