Monday, April 11, 2016

Squirrel Call: Iowa City 1981

I was working at the University that summer at Burge Hall, doing maintenance and cleaning and housekeeping when needed. I was working along with a number of other students, some who I had known, some who I met while working there in the summer. It was my second summer doing this.

But I--or we, as the case may be--met other people, too. Full time workers mainly, who were often from the smaller towns around Iowa City. People from the likes of Tipton (or is it Tifton?), Solon, Washington and so forth. People like Alfred (which was not his real name, but we called him that and I can't recall his true name any longer) and Norbert (who died in a pick up accident) and, to the best of my knowledge or simply my fallback name I seem to use, Jeff.

Jeff was from Washington, south of Iowa City. He was young--maybe twenty at most, maybe eighteen or nineteen. He was pretty much a country boy and wasn't sure what to make of we student outsiders (nor we to make of him). At first, at least. But he was a good kid (even though I was, in many ways, still a kid myself). Anyway, Jeff taught Steve Bowers and I how to make a squirrel call using three quarters.

(Steve was a close friend of mine. We had lived on the same 2000 dorm floor our first year there, though I had never really knew him well--but we became pals while working together.)

Jeff hunted squirrels.  In the woods he called them out of the high trees with the use of quarters. He showed us how you can cup two quarters in the circle of your thumb and index finger, then using the third quarter, you tap it rapidly on the two suspended quarters to make that hollow knocking sound that squirrels make: thnock thnock thnock.

I have never hunted squirrels. But I did try it out with back yard squirrels once. They certainly paid attention.

Of course, I don't know whatever happened to Jeff. I hope he never ended up like Norbert.

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