11

Felines and Friends Academy Elections – Part 2

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Where we are: Bella Bear is frustrated that cats run everything at the Academy. She talks to the cats about it, and they recommend that she run for student government office. Her friend Daphne agrees, but Bella isn’t too sure.

Bella couldn’t decide what to do. She knew that the cats ad Daphne were right. Someone had to represent the other animals, but why did it have to be her? Maybe she could get someone else to run. But who?

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Bella: Ollie, don’t you think the rest of the animals deserve representation in the student government?

Ollie: That’s a great idea, Bella! We otters have almost nothing in common with the cats. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to understand what we’re saying.

Bella: Exactly. That’s why I thought you would be the perfect animal for us to get behind. The rest of us could help with signs, social media, —

Ollie: Wait a minute, Bella. I said it was a great idea. I don’t have time to do it. I’m captain of the swim team, do gymnastics, and still need to study.

Bella: I understand. Do you have any ideas?

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Ollie: I would ask one of the squirrels. They always seem to have extra time to run around.

Bella: Good idea. Thanks.

Bella finally found the squirrels racing around the courtyard. She asked them to stop so she could explain her idea.

Joe: That’s a wonderful idea. We’re all behind you. Just tell us what you need us to do.

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The other squirrels nodded.

Becky: We could make signs and hold rallies.

Bella: Actually, I was thinking that one of you could run for office.

Becky: I don’t think that’s a good idea. If we have two non-cats running, it would probably split our votes. You should definitely be our candidate.

Bella: I meant someone to run instead of me.

Joe: No, you’d stand a better chance of winning. Everyone takes bears more seriously than squirrels. They think we’re cute and brainless.

The other squirrels agreed. Bella thanked them and left. She talked to the sheep and goats. Everyone was enthusiastic about the idea, but no one wanted to be the first non-cat to run for office. She went through all the species in the school with no luck.

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The only one she hadn’t talked to was Greta, the red fox who was at the school as an exchange student. Bella decided to talk to her. Foxes were like dogs with fluffy tails, weren’t they? Surely a dog would want to run against a bunch of cats.

Bella: Hi, Greta. How are you?

Greta: I am well. How are you?

Bella: I’m fine. I was just wondering if you’d heard that we’re having student government elections in a few weeks?

Greta: Yes, I have. It sounds very exciting. I am looking forward to watching the whole process.

Bella: You might have noticed that all of our leaders are cats. We were thinking that it might be nice to have a non-cat run to offer a different viewpoint.

Greta: Yes. That does sound like a good idea. Other perspectives are always helpful to a group as a whole.

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Bella: I was hoping that you would be our candidate. I’m sure you have fresh ideas.

Greta: I am honored that you would think of me as a good candidate. But I really don’t understand how a student government works. Besides, I think that some students would have trouble understanding me. Not only is my native language fox, I have a rather thick accent when I speak cat.

Bella had to agree. Greta would probably need a translator at her rallies and speeches. She thanked Greta and walked away, dejected. Bella went to find Daphne.

Bella: I can’t believe it. No one wants to run for student government.

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Daphne: Why can’t you believe it? You don’t want to run. You had a great idea, and you won’t do anything to make it happen.

Bella: That’s not true. I’d do anything that was needed to get them elected.

Daphne: OK. Since no one will run, we’ll continue to do everything from the cats’ viewpoint. And you’ll keep complaining about it. But I don’t want to hear it. You had a chance to try to change it, and you walked away.

Bella: I’d never win.

 Daphne: That’s not the point. The rest of us need to stand up for ourselves. Besides, how do you know you won’t win?

Bella: I have no idea how to get animals to vote for me.

Daphne: The rest of us will work on that.

Bella went home to think about it. If anyone was going to do it, it would have to be her. Finally, she filled out the paperwork for the election. Now came the hard part.

Next week: Bella’s campaign and the election.

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11

Cat Forum: A Guide to Summer Cat TV

Snoops and Kommando here. Welcome to this month’s Cat Forum. (Yes, we have been pushed back a week because of the stupid bison story. Maybe the editors will learn to count by June. We are the second week feature, not the third week feature. How are our fans supposed to find us?)

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Oh, well. On to this month’s topic. We’re going to talk about summer Cat TV. Unlike humans, we never have to worry about seeing the same program twice. Just another sign of cat intellectual superiority. We don’t have to turn our brains off to watch the same stuff day after day. (We know some humans are like that because our Dad used to do it – watch the same stuff, not turn his brain off.)

We live in a house without air conditioning, so we are lucky enough to have sound. Some of you air conditioned cats aren’t so lucky. (Although you don’t have to deal with sticky humans, a definite plus.)

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First are the birds.We live in Michigan, so we have more birds this time of year than when it’s cold. Some of you who live in warmer climates might not see much of a difference. Our favorites are the hummingbirds. They’re small and fast, so they’re a lot of fun to watch.

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Our human brother has a really big lilac bush just outside his bedroom window. It’s full of birds most of the time.All kinds of birds: sparrows, finches, wrens, robins, blue birds, blue jays, …. He complains about the noise waking him up. We’ve tried to tell him that they’re calling us, but he doesn’t seem to get it.

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The squirrel and deer channels get a lot more active too. The squirrels like to chase each other around. It looks like fun, but they get pretty mean sometimes when they fight. We’re glad they’re only on TV.

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Every once in a while, there’s a show on the squirrel channel that we really like. The little guys look a lot like squirrels, but much smaller with stripes down their backs. Mom says they’re called chipmunks. They look like they’d be fun to chase. But we don’t know what we’d do with it if we caught one. Mom says we can’t bring it in the house.

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The funniest show is Woodchuck Adventures. Woodchucks (aka groundhogs) look like huge rodents. (Bigger than us.) They like to lay in the sun. They probably don’t have to worry about sunburn, because they’re really furry.. As soon as they hear a noise, they race for the nearest shelter. It’s great watching something that bulky and slow running that fast. It’s even better when they climb trees. One went up a baby peach tree and was too big to sit on the branches.

We get the boring specialty channels too. We don’t have many snakes in Michigan. The ones we do have just lay in the sun. If we want to watch someone sleep, we can watch Mom.

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(silk moth – we don’t have those on our channel)

The night channel is pretty boring too. We like to watch the fireflies. Mom says their tails are poisonous, so we cant play with them. Moths are the best. They’re fun to play with, and crunchy and tasty if they get annoying.

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The worst show on that channel is the skunks. We were really disappointed. They’re kind of cute; they reminded us a little of cats. But they seem to fight dirty (and loud). When something scares them, they make a huge stink (for real). It smells awful. You air conditioned cats should be grateful. We hear some dogs try to make friends with them. Big mistake. Tell your dog friends if they upset a skunk, they’ll smell even worse than usual.

We recommend you check your local channels. Chances are, there’s something good out there that you haven’t seen for a while.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

9

Tori Tabby’s Getting Married – Part 3

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Where we are: Tori Tabby and Robbie are getting married. Tori’s father Davy is living with some humans who have adopted him. She wants him at the wedding, and he has said that he would be there. He is relying on his housemates, Cleo and Caesar, to hide his temporary absence from his human family so they won’t track him down. 

The big day has arrived. Tori is nervous. She told her mother Teresa that Davy was coming, but there was no sign of him.She wonders if the Persians really could find a way to get him out of the house without his humans finding out.

Meanwhile, at Davy’s house, the Persians have hatched a plan.

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Cleo: OK, Davy. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re all going to go outside. Then Caesar is going to pretend to catch a squirrel and bring it to the door. Human mama is going to get upset that Caesar has a squirrel. She’ll be so preoccupied that you can get away. I’m going to run back inside while all this is going on.

Davy: That’s disgusting. I don’t want Caesar to kill a squirrel for me.

Caesar: I’m not going to kill a squirrel. That’s the genius part of the plan. Look at the new toy I got.

He shows Davy a realistic-looking squirrel toy. It barely fit in his mouth. Then he drops it.

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Caesar: Pretty good, huh?

Davy: Not bad. But how is that going to help while I’m gone?

Cleo: We thought about that. You know how sometimes we play hide-and-seek with the humans? And it takes them a really long time to find us? We’re going to race around a little, and then go into hiding. When you get home, you cry at the door. Human mama finds you outside and thinks you’ve been running around all that time and finally come back. She’ll feel bad because she didn’t make sure you were with us. But she’ll be so happy to see you that it won’t last long.

Davy: That might work.

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They cry at the door to be let out. The boy human lets them out. He doesn’t pay any attention to Caesar’s squirrel toy. The cats play for a few minutes. Then Caesar picks up his squirrel and runs to the door. He meows loudly. His human mama opens the door and looks down. She’s very upset.

Woman: Caesar! That’s a very bad kitty! You know you’re not allowed to kill.

She reaches down to take the squirrel and see if she can revive it. Caesar moves back and growls to protect his prize.

Woman: Caesar what is wrong with you? Let me have the squirrel.

Impressed by Caesar’s acting, the other two cats almost forget to run in opposite directions. All the woman notices is something furry running past her. Finally she reaches down to rescue the squirrel and discovers that it’s only Caesar’s new toy. She is irritated but relieved.

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Woman: Caesar! Why did you scare me like that? Don’t do that!

Caesar walks slowly past her with his prize. She looks around the yard and doesn’t see any cats so she assumes they were what raced past her while she was preoccupied with Caesar. She closes the door and sits down to read, happy that the drama has ended. 

Meanwhile, Davy is racing to Tori’s house.

Tori: Daddy! You made it! I can’t believe you got away.

Davy: Those Persians are pretty amazing.

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Teresa walks up and sees Davy. She’s surprised he would actually show up. She tries to be civil for Tori’s sake.

Teresa: Davy! I didn’t believe you’d actually show up.

Davy: I needed the help of my fellow cats. But here I am. You look really good Teresa. I’ve missed you.

Teresa: Thank you. But you’re the one who ran off.

Davy explains what actually happened. Teresa looks skeptical but decides not to fight on Tori’s wedding day.

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Teresa: Whatever. It’s almost time for the wedding. Find a seat.

That didn’t go as smoothly as he had hoped. But he didn’t blame Teresa. He had just disappeared. He understood that she would be hurt and angry. He heard music and quickly sat down.

The wedding was beautiful. Tori looked amazing and Robbie was a picture-perfect groom.The food was wonderful but before he knew it, it was time to to go. He was nervous on the way home. He stood at the door and cried. Before long, the female human opened the door.

Woman: Davy! Where have you been? I didn’t even know you were missing. I’m so glad to see you.

She picked Davy up and cuddled him. He was home.

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13

Ranger Bob – Conclusion

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. Somehow the school has lost track of its former safety adviser, and he is living across the river with his daughter. Upon discovery, Ranger Bob is invited to visit the school. You can start the story here.

Ranger Bob steps onto the stage and hugs John The young animals clap and sit down.

Ranger Bob:  Hello, everyone! It’s nice to see you.

Students: It’s nice to see you too, Ranger Bob.

Ranger Bob: I want to thank Ms. Porcupine for inviting me to speak. I used to come to the school a lot. I know most of your parents.

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Timmy Chipmunk: My mom was really excited that you’re here She says you know everything about safety in the woods.

Ranger Bob (embarrassed): Well, I don’t know everything. But I’ve learned a lot over time.

Ms. Porcupine: I invited Ranger Bob here to share some of what he knows about forest safety.

Ranger Bob: What’s the most important thing to remember in the woods?

The children shout out answers:

Don’t get lost!

Don’t eat poison plants!

Don’t eat poison bugs!

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Don’t eat each other!

Everyone laughs.

Ranger Bob: The most important thing to remember is to be prepared. Be sure you have enough water available. Know how to get back to where you started. Questions?

Wally Weasel:  Is it OK to go out by ourselves?

Ranger Bob: I recommend that you always take at least one friend with you. But if you do go alone, be sure someone else knows where you’re going and when you plan to be home.

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Becky Beaver: What do I do if I get lost?

Ranger Bob: If you’re sure you’re lost, find a safe spot and stay there until someone finds you.

Rikki Raccoon: I’d climb a tree to see if I recognized anything.

Ranger Bob: Excellent idea!

Sheila Squirrel: I’d use the squirrel chatter network to tell my parents where I was.

Ranger Bob: Wonderful!

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Louie Wolf: I’d howl to give my position.

Ranger Bob: Another excellent idea! You children are doing great!

Mama and Papa Raccoon are sitting at the back of the room with Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: He really gets along well with the children, doesn’t he?

Mama: Oh, yes. He always has.

Ms. Porcupine: He’s so big. I wonder why they aren’t afraid of him.

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Papa: They know he won’t hurt them. I don’t think they even think about his size after a while.

Mama: He’s very gentle. And talks to them as if they were all the same size.

They watch Ranger Bob and the children for a while.

Ranger Bob: Kids, I’m having a great time, but I think it’s about time for me to go. Any last questions?

Anna Raccoon: Are you going to come back soon and teach us more?

Ranger Bob: That’s up to your school.

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The children turn to look at Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: What types of things did you have in mind, Anna?

Anna Raccoon: I don’t know. Safety stuff. Like swimming.

The others join in.

Forest fires

Snakes

Floods

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First Aid

Building shelters

Finally, Ms. Porcupine holds up her paw, laughing.

Ms. Porcupine: Ranger Bob, it seems that the children have become very interested in safety all of a sudden.

Ranger Bob: They were very good listeners. And it is important that they know how to stay safe. We want them around for a while.

The children giggle and nod.

Ms. Porcupine: You seem to get along well with them and enjoy teaching them.

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Ranger Bob: I’ve enjoyed teaching kids about safety for as long as I can remember.

Ms. Porcupine: Would you be available to come in one afternoon a month for a presentation?

Ranger Bob: I’d be honored.

Ms. Porcupine: Just tell me the subject ahead of time so the parents will know. They might want to come too.

Ranger Bob: Of course.

Ranger Bob turns to the children.

Ranger Bob: OK, kids?

They race up and hug him. It looks like there might be tears in Ranger Bob’s eyes.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

14

Ranger Bob – Part 2

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. However, when they go back to invite Ranger Bob to dinner, he has disappeared. You can read the details here.

Mama: Did you find out when Ranger Bob is available for dinner?

Sally: We couldn’t find him at the park.

John: And they made me go into the forest to look for him.

Anna: It wasn’t dangerous. We hid from all the big bears. We talked to a cub.

Mama: Did the cub take you to Ranger Bob’s den?

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Anna: No. He said that Ranger Bob had gone away and didn’t tell anyone where he was going.

Sally: It sounded like he was sad when he left.

Mama: That’s too bad. I hope he’s OK.

Sally: We still want to find him to thank him. Where do you think he might go?

Mama: I’m not really sure. He was always around when I was little. We didn’t need to look for him. Let me talk to Papa and some of the other parents.

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Mama and Papa talked to some of their friends. They were embarrassed to realize that no one had noticed that Ranger Bob wasn’t around much anymore. In fact, no one could remember the last time they had spoken with him.

The parents wondered when the last time was that he had given a safety talk at school. Mama and Mrs. Squirrel decided to talk to the principal.

Mama: Thank you so much for seeing us, Ms. Porcupine. We won’t take up too much of your time.

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Ms. Porcupine: It’s no trouble at all. How can I help you ladies?

Mrs. Squirrel: We were wondering if you know why Ranger Bob doesn’t visit the school anymore?

Ms. Porcupine (puzzled):  Who is Ranger Bob?

Mrs. Squirrel: You know. The big black bear who explains safety to the school children.

Mama: You didn’t grow up around here, did you Ms. Porcupine?

Ms. Porcupine: No. I moved when I got this position.

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Mama: Ranger Bob taught us all about safety when we were little. We recently discovered that our children have never met him. In fact, he startled my kits a few days ago.

Ms. Porcupine: Was he an employee at the school?

Mama: No. They invited him to speak at the beginning and end of the school year. We all loved him. He was particularly popular at the “Fun in the Sun Day” at the end of the school year.

Mrs. Squirrel: Yes, and we’d see him all summer at the beach and river.

Ms. Porcupine: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I’d been overlooking such an important part of the teaching team. If you’ll tell me how to reach him, I’ll explain what happened and invite him in.

Mrs. Squirrel: That’s the problem. We can’t find him. We thought maybe you’d have some ideas about where to find him.

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Ms. Porcupine: I’m afraid not. But let me talk to some of the teachers. I’ll let you know what I find out.

 Ms. Porcupine asked for any information available about ways to reach Ranger Bob. The only thing she learned was that he had a daughter on the other side of the river.

She left a message at the number listed, but got no response.

Mama: I guess we’ll have to try going over there.

Papa: I would like to find him and make sure everything is OK.

Sally: Can we come too? Please?

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Papa: All right. But we have to stick together.

The raccoons left early the next morning. They weren’t sure how to find a bear among strangers, but hoped for the best.

The animals on the other side of the river were all friendly. One of the local raccoons said that a strange male bear had passed through a few days earlier looking for a female named Emily.

Papa found a bear and explained the situation. He asked for directions to Emily’s den. The raccoons walked on, paws crossed.

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Before long, they saw a bear sitting on a rock with his head down.

Papa: Excuse me, sir.

The bear looked up. Papa ran up and hugged him.

Papa: Ranger Bob! We’ve been looking all over for you. Why did you leave?

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Next week: What the future holds for Ranger Bob.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

12

Is Sammy Squirrely? – Part 2

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Where we are: All during the fall, Sammy had been acting oddly. Rather than working with the other squirrels to get ready for winter, he spent all his time on the computer. His friends and neighbors think he might be losing his mind.

It was a hard winter. It started snowing in November and didn’t let up. Soon it was higher than the squirrels. The families relied on the nuts they had stored in their trees for a long time. Finally, it was time to go out and get the nuts they had buried in the ground. It wasn’t easy.

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Sarah: Three squirrels in my class missed school today. They had to go hunt for food.

Peter: There were five gone from my class.

June: This is the worst winter I can remember. I’m glad we built our nest in such a huge tree and were able to fill it. Spring is almost here, so we should be OK. Especially since your cousin was nice enough to send us all that food for Christmas.

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Peter: My new favorite nut is the pecan.

Sarah: Those were pretty yummy. But I liked the dried fruit.

Sammy: We need to do something nice for Joey in the spring. Living in Georgia is good for food, but we can think of something.

June: I wish we could do something to help our friends.

Sammy knew it was time to see if his idea worked. He was extremely grateful to Princess ERin for telling him about the Global Peanut Positioning Satellite (GPPS). It was a little odd that a cat would be so helpful, but it sounded useful.

Between the GPPS and the data he had collected, he should be able to find the nuts the family had buried.

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Sammy: We can share the nuts we buried last fall.

Peter: If the other squirrels could find their nuts, they wouldn’t be hungry. How can we find ours?

Sammy: The project you were all laughing about last fall should tell us where the nuts are.

Sarah: Do your really think it will work? That would be wonderful.

 Sammy: There’s only one way to find out. I’ll go load my data into the positioning system.

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Sammy leaves the room to work on the computer. He finally comes out when June calls him for dinner.

Peter: How’s the system coming Dad?

Sammy: Pretty well. It looks like all of the data transferred. Now we have to wait for the next sunny day.

Sarah: Why does it have to be sunny?

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Sammy: The way the GPPS works is to get the position of the nuts from a satellite in the sky. It has to be sunny for the information to get to us.

Peter: OK. Whatever. Let’s wait for the sun.

The next few days were overcast. Finally, there was a good day.

By that time, the neighborhood knew about the experiment. A crowd gathers to see if it would work.

Sammy: OK, here we go. No promises.

He calls up the first location. The GPPS gives him directions to the nuts. The other squirrels follow him as he tracks the nuts.

Sammy: The first nuts should be here. Peter, you and your friends dig down and see what you find.

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The young squirrels quickly burrow through the snow and the hard ground. Just under the surface, they find a large stash of acorns.

The squirrels watch in amazement and applaud.

Dan: I admit it, buddy. I thought you might have gone off the deep end. But this is incredible.

Kelly: June, you’re married to a genius!

Sammy blushes in embarrassment.

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Sammy: It’s just a little technology, not genius.

Dan: Whatever. You’re set for the winter.

Sammy: We were already set. These are for you folks.

The other squirrels look at Sammy. They go back to thinking he had lost his mind.

Sammy: I’m serious. We have enough nuts. We have piles like these all over the place. We want to share them.

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Kelly: How did you get so many nuts?

Sammy: We probably don’t have any more than your family gathered, but ours are buried in piles instead of one by one. Besides, I have an excellent team of hunters. (He looks at Peter and Sarah.)

Kelly: Are you sure you don’t need them?

June: Absolutely. We’re set for the rest of winter.

Sammy: Dig in. We’ll get the rest of the nuts later and you can divide them up. Next year, we can track everybody’s nuts and won’t worry about starving.

The hungry squirrels devour the nuts in the first hole and take the rest home. Luckily spring arrives before the acorns are gone.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

12

Is Sammy Squirrely?

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Sammy and his family live with a scurry (group) of squirrels in an oak grove. It’s fall – time to gather nuts for the winter.

The group has planned a “nut gathering party,” and everyone is invited. Sammy’s family is getting ready to go.

June (his wife): Sammy, are you ready to go?

Sammy (at the computer): You and the kids can go ahead. I need to finish what I’m working on.

Peter: Dad, you never gather nuts anymore.

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Sammy: I’m retired. That’s what I have you for.

Sarah: Daddy, be serious. It’s embarrassing. All the other fathers are there.

Peter: Besides, it’s a party.

June: Honey, you can take a break for one afternoon, can’t you?

Sammy: Sorry, I really can’t. I need to finish before winter. Remember to bring the nuts home instead of burying them.

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Sarah: That’s just weird, Daddy. Why? My friends are all going to laugh at me.

Sammy: I’m working on an idea to make it easier to find our nuts this winter. Did you know that some squirrels never find more than a few of the nuts they’ve buried?

Peter: We always have enough to eat.

Sammy: I know. But I think we should know where ours are.

June (sighing): C’mon kids. Let’s get going before all the good ones are gone.

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The three of them leave the nest. It’s a beautiful afternoon, and there are nuts everywhere. The kids run off to search with their friends. June finds her friend, Kelly.

Kelly: Hey, June! Great to see you. Where’s Sammy? I haven’t seen him around much.

June: He’s working on some top-secret project about the acorns.

Kelly: That’s strange. It seems like he’d want to be out here in the sun. But I guess if it’s that important, he should be doing it.

June: I suppose. But I think the rest of the scurry is beginning to believe he’s crazy.

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Kelly doesn’t answer. She’s looking at the other squirrels gathering and burying acorns. She spots Peter and Sarah. They each have a pile of nuts near them.

Kelly: Are Peter and Sarah all right? It looks like they are just piling the nuts up instead of burying them. Aren’t they feeling well?

June: They’re fine. It’s part of Sammy’s plan. He wants to know where each one is buried.

Kelly: That’s a little strange. Why does he want to know?

June: I have no idea. He just said it’s vital to his project.

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Kelly starts to feel sorry for June. She thinks the other squirrels may be right. Sammy’s mind was starting to go. He was becoming “squirrely.”

Before long, the sun starts going down and the squirrels return home.

Peter: Hi Dad. We’re home.

Sammy: Did you get lots of nuts?

June: It was a good afternoon. A lot of the squirrels said they were done for the season.

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Sammy: That’s great! So where did you put ours?

Sarah: They’re still where we found them. In piles.

Sammy: I thought you were bringing them home.

Sarah: It was way too embarrassing. Everyone else buried theirs. The other squirrels thought we were just being lazy. Mom said we could bury them from where they are.

Sammy: I suppose she’s right. Let’s go.

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Peter: I’m tired. I’ve been hunting nuts all afternoon.

Sarah: Besides, it’s getting dark.

June: I’m sure they’ll be fine until morning.

Sammy finally agrees, disappointed.

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The next morning, the family starts burying the nuts. It’s a slow process because Sammy wants to write down exactly where each nut is. Several hours later, they finish.

Sammy: Great job, everyone! Thanks for your help.

They return to the nest, where Sammy immediately goes onto his computer. He works intently for the next few weeks. Running between the computer and where the nuts are buried. He finally has to stop when the snow starts to fall.

 Image result for squirrels acorns

Next week: Is Sammy crazy or is he a squirrel with a plan?

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