I bet you didnt know # 2

“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.    I feel certain that when the Apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he had not met the Squirrel of Negley Avenue.  I, on the other hand, encountered said squirrel on an otherwise lovely spring morning many years ago.   

I lived in a quaint red brick apartment at the corner of Fifth and Negley in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh.  I rode a bus to and from work and since spring showers were a common occurrence, I carried my umbrella never suspecting when I opened the front door that this umbrella would be my savior.  I was completely unaware that The Squirrel of Negley Avenue had a nest of babes very near that door.  I startled her and like any protective mother she was poised to protect her young ones.   I did a dance, a jig of sorts I think, and cleverly used my umbrella to keep some distance between the squirrel and me.   I successfully backed my way away from the door and onto the sidewalk and ran to the corner for my bus.  My heart was pounding so hard in fear of the Squirrel of Negley Avenue, I was nearly doubled over.   

It would have been enough if the story ended there. But as you might guess, the saga continued. There were numerous cars stopped for a red light while my scene of terror from the Squirrel of Negley Avenue played out.  One of my co-workers occupied one of the stopped cars.  As you can imagine, the story was told over and over again throughout the day and the laugher rose through the office as more people joined in the hilarity.  It’s hard to know what was worse. The encounter with the squirrel which left me terrified of squirrels, or the rolling laughter of all of myco-workers.   

My bruised ego healed from being the joke of the office until the next laugh-worthy event happened, yet my fear of squirrels has not abated.  Having experienced this face-to-face encounter on that morning long ago triggers fear each time I am up close and personal with a squirrel.  Be it a standoff such as I experienced that day, or having a squirrel stop and stare at me on a walking trail.  The memory, along with the fear, was triggered once again just the other day.

As I opened my backyard gate to allow the lawn crew in, a squirrel fell at my feet. Mere inches away between me and the gate was the squirrel.   I don’t know exactly how it happened but I landed at the top of my backyard stairs in a flash!  Thankfully, the squirrel was only mildly injured and slowly made its way out the gate.  I don’t for a moment believe I was of sound mind in that ever so brief encounter with my new nemesis the Squirrel on Blake.  No, I nearly lost my mind.  

There you have it.  Now you know.  I am terrified of squirrels. 

Go ahead, laugh.  Laugh out loud and laugh hard just keep the squirrels away from me!


Rev. Karen