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Papershell Pecans

Pete has been here many years. Thirty or more, according to the story he told about scavenging rocks from the creek when they first moved here. The neighborhood would have been young then: the houses, most of the trees.

His two Pecan trees would have been young then. Pecan trees that he has cared for over the years. Pitching battle with the gradually multiplying squirrels over the ownership of the papershell pecans that fall from his trees this time of year. For years, he wrapped the trunks with sheets of aluminum, thwarting the squirrels’ ascent. But the Pecan trees grew. And the Cedar Elms and Live Oaks nearby grew. And their branches intertwined. And the squirrels multiplied. And his defenses ceased to defend.

Pete was out yesterday. In his rubber boots and gloves. Holding a long pole with a pecan grabber on the end. Out there harvesting his papershell pecans. As he grabbed one and then another, squirrels dashed from his yard. One. Then two. Then three and four. Then more. They had been up there doing some reconnaissance, assessing ripeness, until his grabber started grabbing. And they started dashing in squirrel hops to their nests in the oaks across the street. Nests within sight of those tasty papershell pecans that Pete has been so determined to harvest lo these thirty some years.

I suspect that he didn’t get many.