Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Squirrels, silly subject, but one that has been one my mind. I have always loved the natural wonders found in nature. When I was growing up, I used to have a squirrel that would eat peanuts out of my hand. For a couple of summers, a grey squirrel would come running down the street when I would make a silly clicking sound. He would take the peanuts right out of my hand. He would crack open the shell and nibble away on the peanuts. And then one summer, he stopped coming…

Occasionally, Beth and Shane would make fun of me when I would talk about the birds and squirrels. Beth and Shane were great at ganging up and picking on me – always in fun, always in jest.

Our dog, Lola, does not like squirrels. One of Lola’s favorite pastimes is to chase the squirrels right up the tree, even though they are on the other side of the fence!

I still like to feed the birds and squirrels. The feeders are right outside the kitchen window. We have a wide variety of birds and critters that like to come and eat. This spring I have been watching one momma squirrel in particular. She has a routine about her feeding schedule, almost as if she can tell time.

Last week I watched as she came down the maple tree. The tree is magnificent in size, offering shade for much of the house. The bark is old and worn, just like the side of a weathered barn. The branches are heavy with green leaves and whirlybird seeds. As she approached the bottom of the tree, she stopped and checked for Lola. When she realized the coast was clear, she touched the earth. There she sat and ate her dinner. And then I noticed a baby squirrel coming down the tree. Oh, this put such a smile on my face. There was the momma and her baby eating. The baby still wanted to nurse, so the momma squirrel would be patient for one or two sips before she would move to gather her next nut. I know it is so silly, but this simple act of a mother’s love for her baby put tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

The next day two more baby squirrels were feeding under the tree. Now, there are three baby squirrels that eat under the tree. I have been placing extra food out for the baby squirrels.

You see, I have been placing extra food because the momma squirrel is no longer coming down the tree. She has stopped coming…

The momma squirrel was killed when attempting to cross the road. I scooped up the squirrel so no other cars would run over her and properly disposed of her body.

Poor babies, poor momma squirrel.

I wonder if those baby squirrels are missing their momma. For some odd reason this has made me miss Shane even more. I did not know that was possible, but it has.

As I continue to “put one foot in front of the next.”

Always and forever,
Shane’s Mammy and Beth’s Momma