Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Monumental, Unexpected Visit from a Flying Squirrel

So you may be wondering why my name is Flying Squirrel Fan. It's a simple story really, and one that all of my friends are probably well aware of. Back in 2002 I was living and working at the best state park in the world (ok, so maybe I'm biased:). It took me 30 minutes to get to town, and that was where I went to church. After working on a Sunday, I went to town for the evening service at church. Meanwhile back at the house, events were unfolding. I returned home to a cat (at the time he was too much overweight) staring into a pile of walmart bags. For those of you that visit Walmart regularly, you will know that this was not a small 5 or 6 bag pile, but a monstrous, completely filled up large nook full of walmart bags. Having never seen my cat just sit and stare at a pile of bags, I asked him what he was doing. He wouldn't tell me...or maybe I just didnt speak cat, I'm not sure. Anyway, I fed him and he left the bags. I had sat down on the couch in the living room getting ready to read whatever book I was currently engrossed in when I saw it. There was a little flying squirrel running as fast through the house as his little legs would carry him. There was a large cat in pursuit. That put me in pursuit. So around the house we went, flying squirrel, cat, me. This lasted for a good five minutes and many trips through the house before I decided I needed to find advice, so I called up our friendly park ranger (he had previously lived in the house, I thought he might have experienced this before). He told me to open up the door and herd it out. Hmmm....herding flying squirrels works about as well as herding cats. By this time the chace has gone over every bit of furniture I owned, I almost lost a cat in a toilet, and I wasn't sure how it would all end. Eventually the flying squirrel ran into a folded up quilt. I grabbed the quilt and took it outside and tried to shake the flying squirrel out. He wouldnt turn loose. So....I laid the quilt down and after I had gone back inside, I saw little beady eyes peak out, look around and then glide to a nearby tree. When he landed he ran around the tree.

So, that's not the only wild animal that has ever been in my house. But for some reason that flying squirrel inspired me. I am an interpreter, and what I do is find fun ways to interpret nature. So that night, while trying to sleep an idea began forming in my head. People don't know anything about flying squirrels. They need to understand them. A program, but not any program would do. I wanted to become that flying squirrel. A phone call to my mom, who sounded like she thought I'd lost my mind, produced the groundwork for a flying squirrel costume. A few months later after learning all I could about flying squirrels, and my mother figuring out how to make a costume, Florence the Flying Squirrel became a reality. My favorite interpreter program I have ever done in nearly seven years of interpreting. I became known as the flying squirrel person and this past year even got to take Florence to the National Association Of Interpretation conference. And yes, my trademark began with just one little flying squirrel running through my living room. (Pictures to come whenever I figure out how to do that).

1 comment:

Pappy said...

A great story.