The squirrel that couldn’t swim

My relationship with our swimming pool has been a long and tenuous one at best.

There are times each summer when it’s pretty nice to come home after a long hot day of work in my air conditioned office, grab a “Pepsi” and take a dip in the pool to cool off.

There also are times each spring when it seems like I’m never going to get the correct chemical balance so that the pool is even going to be usable in the two-month window of nice weather that Mother Nature allots us each year.

Every year, I tell myself — and everyone willing to listen — that the pool is coming out. Since it’s an above ground pool, I think it’s something I could demolish pretty quickly.

But each year, my wife, my kids — and now even my grandkids — know that’s not going to happen.

“You say that every year” each of them tell me.

They know I don’t mean it because the pool’s still there and probably will be long after I’m gone.

A recent incident, however, may have convinced my wife that its time for the pool to go.

Over the years, I have found a lot of foreign — and some not so foreign objects — floating in my pool or lying on the bottom of it.

That includes hot dogs and cherries courtesy of a neighbor boy who has long since grown up and moved away.

It’s also includes some pretty scary looking bugs, frogs who think they discovered a new pond to play in each spring until the chemicals hit the pool and even an occasional bird unable to escape.

After returning home from recent week-long fishing trip, however, I spotted something floating in the pool and wasn’t exactly sure what it was. My wife politely asked me the same question and I just grumbled because I knew what laid ahead.

Although I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to know what was floating in my pool, I put on my game face early this past Saturday, went outside, grabbed the scoop net and pulled out what looked to be a dead squirrel. I quickly gave him — or her — a proper burial and even threw in a small prayer.

But I’m not sure my wife will ever get back in the pool again. In fact, I’m not sure I want to get back in again. It may be time to say goodbye to that old friend.

We’re still trying to figure out how a squirrel wound up in our pool. My neighbor has a tree that could have been the launching pad for a high dive, but it would have taken a lot to make it to the pool. I’m inclined to believe that the squirrel smelled water and snuck onto our deck for a quick drink.

I know for a fact that squirrels can swim because I’ve seen them swimming across shallow bays while on my fishing trips to Dogwood. And of course there’s a catalog of squirrels swimming or in the water on the Internet.

While doing a little research, I’ve found squirrels can do a lot of things including jumping five feet vertically and between objects 10 feet apart, and they can sprint faster than most people. It also seems they do in fact know how to swim, but researchers think swimming is not something they like to do. I can just picture a bunch of searchers armed with clipboards surveying the squirrels to determine their like or dislike of swimming.

Two things are for certain, that squirrel couldn’t swim and my pool will be open for another year.

Aubrey Woods is the editor of The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].