Thursday, April 30, 2009

All Kinds of Nuts

Yesterday I almost ran over a squirrel. I make a point to slow down when I see one close to the street and have successfully avoided any squirrel fatalities over the years. This particular squirrel had a brush with death due to his indecisive nature. He was in front of my car, darted back to the curb and abruptly changed direction as I started to accelerate again. He wouldn’t have stood a change against my large SUV so I think we were both relieved when he finally ran for his life, finally reaching the safety of the curb.

My mom ran over a squirrel when I was little and came home and cried. The only road-kill that I have been personally responsible for was a raccoon. He ran onto the dark rainy highway and I had no choice but to hit him. I had a baby in the car and couldn’t risk slamming on the brakes. It felt horrible when I drove over him but I didn’t have a choice.

I am happy that the squirrel survived. I have always liked squirrels and even have a squirrel feeder on one of my trees. They are so cute and amusing to watch as they run through the yard. I remember watching the squirrels last fall busying themselves preparing for winter. They were scurrying around hiding nuts and whatever else they eat in the yard. They would get into fights and chase each other through the trees. It looked like a lot of work to get ready for winter. I think that if I was a squirrel, I might not spend so much time on the nut-hiding deal. I would be much more interested in the nut finding aspect of the squirrel business. I would probably just try to keep track of where all the other squirrels stashed their nuts. I don’t think I would be up for any squirrel good citizenship awards but I would be a fairly efficient squirrel.

On a different, non-animal subject, I saw something bad yesterday. I saw a woman abusing a little girl. This was at a dance studio that was not here in Pleasantville. The woman was screaming and spanking a little girl that looked like she was about three. I say spanking but it was really not what you would think. It was more like hitting her butt with as much force as she could muster.

I also saw her pick the little girl up by the wrist and ankle and throw her on a couch. I was in the room with another mom that confided that she had seen the same abuse on different occasions. A while later, the little girl again ran into the same room I was in. The mother was screaming and running after her daughter. The little girl clearly wanted to play and be chased. She just seemed like she didn’t quite understand that she was being chased by an actual monster. She ran into a corner of the room and stopped laughing when she saw the hateful look on the monster’s face. She then cowered in the corner as if that would offer her some protection. As you might imagine, it didn’t help.

So imagine a dance studio filled with five and six year-old girls, all dressed up and practicing their dance moves in their recital costumes. Other parents waiting in various areas of the studio, many with their own rambunctious toddlers. Another three year old continues to climb up on a couch and bounce while his mother gently reprimands him, telling him that he isn’t making good choices. The guy that looks like a Mexican gangster was carefully placing his daughter’s long hair in a ponytail. Toddlers and babies were tickled and admired as they were passed from one lap to another. And then we have the crazy screaming woman. The contrast was startling, to say the least.

Most everyone seemed aware of what was going on but would make a point to not look. I spoke with the owner of the dance studio following the class. I told her what I had witnessed and that I was not comfortable with ignoring it. She agreed that it was time for someone to turn this over to the authorities and quickly supplied all the required information. I called the police and followed up with a trip to the police station to make a formal statement. Most people are reluctant to become involved, which is understandable in my opinion. I don’t want to have to testify and I certainly don’t want her to know where I live. She looks like she is one of the tougher broads in her trailer park. If she came after me I would have no choice but to run. With my recent knee surgeries, it is likely that she might outrun me and beat me to a bloody pulp. I had to ask myself, who is supposed to speak up for such children?


Stacie said...

Yay for not hitting the squirrel. I am not one to speak. Since I grew up in the country, I ran over many a animals including but not limited to: 3 raccoons at a time, opossum, a cat, and too many birds to count. Yes, you can hit birds. I swear on my life they would fly under my car.

Kudos for doing the right thing by contacting the authorities. Poor little girl. Had you not done that, who knows how much worse the abuse may have gotten [in public].

kinsey63 said...

YOU are the one that is supposed to step up when a child is being abused, and thank God we have people in the world like you that will be an advocate for the child. You know me and my big mouth, I would have said something to the mother right then and there when I witnessed the abuse. I've done it before. I often wonder if it was the right thing to do. It stops the abuse for that moment. You going to report the abuse might be the better option as if authorities get involved, perhaps it would change the behavior permenantly instead momentarily.

Oh, and lucky you didn't hit a squirrel. I was not so fortunate last week. I hit a skunk last week on the way to work and my car still smells!

Noah's Mommy said...

Wow...I'm so glad you went to the authorities...of course I'm the untactful type that would have walked up to her while she was in the middle and ask her what the h-e-double chopstix she thought she was doing?...then call the I'm glad it was you and not me.....I just feel so bad for the little girl...because who knows what happens at home...not in front of people....

Anonymous said...

I too avoid running over the squirrels, unless of course, like you, I too had children in the car.

Applause and standing ovation for doing the absolute right thing regarding the "devil spawn Mom!" I couldn't care two spits about her but I know the little girl will at some point realize a real life hero saved her life one day.. That would be you.. ;)

Pop that "S" on your chest and wear your cape proudly!!

Julia said...

Good for you for saying something. Too many people tend to just ignore what they don't want to see. Poor little girl.

And congrats for not hitting the squirrel. I get mad at them for eating my bulbs, but wouldn't want to squish one in my car either.

bernthis said...

I just cringed reading this. I will NEVER hit my kid. To me there is no good reason for it EVER. Do I yell at her? Yes. Have pulled her wrist a bit too hard, sure BUT never to the point where my daughter cowers when I come near. Good for you. I would have done the same thing. This is just so upsetting to me you have no idea. These kids did not ask to be born and we bear the responsibility to make them feel safe.

Karen (KayKay) said...

Sounds like you handled the situation wonderfully. I'm so glad that you did something. It's a good reminder that too many times we let things continue under the guise of "none of my business." Children being hurt? That's everyone's business.

Bambi said...

I like squirrels too- except when they try to move in... but whatever.... you did the right thing... with the gangsta's kid. I probably would have said something right to her (quietly of course) but you did the right thing. Sometimes it makes me sad that kids are raised like that, i wonder if they end up beating their children? God I love my daughter, i can't imagine throwing her around like that. Hell she shuts up when i get to one... two.... (silence) and i've never beat her. :)hugs

Sarah @ said...

Most important things first: THANK YOU for advocating for the little girl. I'm not comfortable discussing the details of my personal encounters with child abuse(rs), so instead I will just say that. You may never know what a huge difference you make in her life, so just in case she doesn't have the opportunity to say so down the road? THANK YOU.

Squirrels second: I think our squirrels around here are cut from the same mold. What is with the changing directions as soon as they're safe?! I have two rules about animals in the street. First, try not to hit them. Second, if they've already been hit and will not make it? Run over their neck so that they don't have to suffer through it.

Bulldog said...

Who needs to speak for the children? Everyone! Too many people are afraid of getting involved.

There's a quote from a Tom Selleck movie. "You don't have to stand tall . . . but sometimes you just have to stand up."Good on you for standing for the little girl.