A Bit Squirrelly

My July 4^th^ was… interesting. I was preparing to head down to the parade to capture my annual photos of the same firetrucks, when I noticed we had a bag of trash ready to go out to the can. Being a dutiful husband 1, I decided to take the bag out and have that be one less thing we had to do later.

I lifted the lid, tossed in the bag, and was used as a vault by an escaping squirrel.

It wasn’t an aggressive assault, the way the bag got tossed in prevented the rodent from fleeing in the opposite direction, and I was the perfect height to launch off of as it made its way to the fence. But I ended up with some small scratches on my nose and forehead, and two bigger ones on my elbow when the animal used it hind legs to spring on to the fence.

So, instead of making my way to the parade, I went up to med-express to see how I should treat this. They told me I’d need rabies shots and sent me to the emergency room. After being triaged I ended up on a gurney in the hallway of a local ER 2, waiting for the doctor to see me. After about two hours the doctor came back, asked me what happened, and said, “Squirrels don’t give you rabies, I’ll prescribe some stronger antibiotics.” At this point I was confused, so I texted my brother-in-law, who is an ER doctor himself 3, and asked him what was up. His response was essentially, “Yah, you just wasted your time, sorry 4.” Bummed I’d wasted half the day, but relieved I wouldn’t be spending the rest of my vacation doing a rabies vaccine regiment, I headed home.

On Sunday, I headed over to Central to worship 5 and chatted with some folks. People asked how I was doing, which meant a lot to me. And then worship started, bringing with it an endless litany of squirrel-related humor. None of it took away from the movement of worship, which made me happy as the pastor, but all of it made me laugh. It began with a public service announcement, with accompanying picture of an angry squirrel, about taking out the church trash, and got more pointed from there. It was pretty amazing. If it were Fall I’m certain bags of acorns would have been collected and delivered to my door.

I’m very glad I wasn’t seriously hurt and that I’m not getting a series of shots on my vacation. I’m glad I’ve got folks in my life who asked me how I was doing and really wanted to know the answer. And I’m glad that most of those same folks will not let me live this down for the foreseeable future. I know a lot of churches where the pastor and congregation are either at odds, or have a “professional” relationship where genuine affection and familiarity are discouraged. I don’t live there, which opens me up to the wonderful Philly-area ritual shared only with those we consider real friends, complete and utter loving ridicule 6.

Sometimes even a bushy tail trash rat can help reveal what a blessing community can be.

But I’m still plotting my revenge.


  1. Who had a rare moment of spacial awareness. 
  2. I was low priority. 
  3. I have no idea why I didn’t text him first, please don’t ask. I may have had something to do with the bushy tail trash-rat which jumped off my face. 
  4. Along with a medical entry applicable to my situation. 
  5. Because it’s my fellowship. I just like worshiping with these folks, and it’s even better when I don’t have anything do to. 
  6. I was at a party once when someone called a Hoagie a “Sub” in front of a guy from South Philly. That was an entertaining forty-five minutes. We still bring it up whenever we’re together. 

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