Grandpa’s Voice

Grandpa Reads The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Ballad of Squirrelzilla

by Vincent Bath

The American Grandpa used to run the Scout camps just 2.5 miles up Millcreek Canyon in Salt Lake City. Each season and we had a wonderful time hosting 13,000 Cub Scouts and 3000 new Boy Scouts

One of the wonders of the canyon was the variety of wildlife we encountered so close to the city. There are all types of birds including Coopers hawks, owls and swans. We’d see insects, mice, bats, snakes, muskrats, and skunks on a regular basis.  Occasionally we’d get a visit from deer and at least once a year the Millcreek Canyon Moose waded in our lake.

Most of these creatures were timid, prefer to be viewed from a distance and otherwise left alone.  We did, however, have a few that were not so shy and were even bothersome. These included the pesky raccoons that invaded our garbage dumpsters and bordered on aggressive.

And one year we even had a cougar sighting. Our ranger walked out into his front yard one night and felt something brush by his leg. He looked up into a nearby tree just in time to see a cougar with a limp prey in her mouth. She leaped from the tree and crossed the creek. I have to admit I did not feel sorry to hear the prey had been one of the raccoons.

But there was one animal that gave us more trouble than any other.  If was big, and aggressive and destructive. It struck fear into the hearts of our staff and we knew we had to deal with it if we were to feel safe. The story of that monster is memorialized in a little piece of cowboy poetry I have entitled The Ballad of Squirrelzilla.

Let me tell you all a story ‘bout a critter named Hog,                              A Millcreek pot gut squirrel ‘bout the size of a small dog. He chewed into our trading post a hole oblong and crude, And made himself at home enjoying our delicious food.

(‘Thought he’d died and gone to squirrel heaven.)

Next morning early when our staff came through the door, They found the mess that Hog had made all scattered on the floor.                                     He’d open every package up and tasted every one.            And when he'd finally had his fill, he pooped on shirts for fun.

(Disgusting little Critter.)

At first the staff – they didn’t know that he was still inside. He’d eaten til his little gut was stretched six inches wide.     Too fat to fit back through the hole, too full to chew it bigger.                                   Hog found himself a prisoner of his expanded figur’.

(Hoisted by his own petard.)

Pretty smart as squirrels go, not being loud and squirmy,      Hog posed himself against the wall like squirrel taxidermy. But a chirp slipped out, the jig was up and  he scampered ‘cross the floor, Made several laps around the store and bolted out the door.

(Like watchin’ rodent NASCAR.)

Our story ends, in cowboy verse, 'cuz this is not a rap.      To be humane, we laid a plan and caught him in a trap.        We took the time and drove the miles to relocate the little booger,                                   But secretly we really hope he got eaten by that cougar.

(There GREAAAT!!)