I didn’t want that nasty cottonwood tree in my backyard — and I especially did not want it planted so close to my beautiful oak tree! The only thing which saved that disgusting tree was the fact that my husband was promising me that he wanted to put a hammock in the backyard when the tree was big enough — and cottonwoods grow really fast — so it wouldn’t take long to have a nice place to lay in the shade and watch the world go by.
Well, he was right — which is a rare event — but I had to concede that we were able to put a hammock up in time for the children to enjoy having their friends over and I could lay outside in the shade of the two trees to watch them. When the girls got older – it was fun to watch them laying in the hammock to share their secrets with their best friends – while getting the joy of irritating the dog who liked to chase their hands and feet which were dangling off the edge of the hammock.
So, with all the joy the hammock was bringing to the family, imagine my dismay when I went out one day and found that almost all of the ropes which holding it up were snapped or frayed! This wasn’t something that had happened over time – I had just been out to the hammock within the last week — this was a brand new development! I couldn’t imagine what had caused this kind of damage. I knew of no disease which attacked hammocks. I had heard of no mass hammock killer in the neighborhood and I knew the dog could not reach that high or mistake the hammock for a chew toy. Once all of these possible causes were ruled out, there left only one ‘thing’ which could have caused this type of damage – and probably enjoyed it – and that would be my son, Tim.
Tim was questioned extensively and he swore that he had seen a whole family of squirrels chewing on the hammock in the last week. I asked him why squirrels would do this and he told me that maybe they had set up house in the tree and were merely protecting their home. I thought that to be about as likely as saying that the squirrels were from another yard, were jealous of our wonderful hammock and wanted to either destroy it or move it to their yard. I suppose another explanation would have been that we had alien squirrels from outer space and they had never seen a hammock and wanted to take it to the mother ship to test it.
Tim’s story would have gone unchallenged if it hadn’t been for a neighbor child and Tim’s brother who felt that it was necessary to save the squirrels’ reputations and tell the truth of what happened. As usual, Tim was performing one of his ‘experiments’ and this one involved pretending to be Rocky the Flying Squirrel! Tim would climb that old nasty cottonwood tree and then try to dive into the hammock. Of course the ropes had become frayed — Tim had down this numerous times and with that kind of weight hitting the hammock — the ropes just weren’t up to the challenge!
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the story was that Tim didn’t hit the hammock every time. There were more than a few times that he missed and hit the ground, dazedly rising and climbing the tree again. So – it could be that Tim really did think that squirrels had caused the damage – no telling how many brain cells were killed every time he hit the ground — he definitely thought he was one of the squirrels – and I for one think he was one also!