Leslie's Omnibus

Traveling Companions

I live in a long-established neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. We have tons of mature trees, and a boatload of squirrels -- one of whom is a bit unusual. I've gotten into the habit of carrying some almonds, filberts and walnuts in my purse so that I can feed the little buggers on my way to the train in the morning.

The gray squirrels are pretty skittish around people, and you have to toss the nuts a few feet away before they'll come pick them up. But my little buddy Sweetness (yes, he's named for the great football player -- he's black, he's fast, and nobody is getting a hand on him) is completely different. I've started clucking my tongue as I get close to his end of the street, and he now associates the noise with the booty. This morning he ran halfway down the block to meet me, and sat right at my feet. Smart boy.

I can't figure out where he came from. But wherever he's from originally, I'm sure glad he's in my neighborhood now.

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