I Don’t Know Why I Remember… by Daniel Patteson
I don’t know why I remember always wanting to watch my father shoot squirrels out of the flower garden. My father had beautiful flower gardens. There seemed to always be a magnificent color scheme of flowers surrounding the premise of our yard. Rings of dew covered rainbows poured around the huge Oaks and Sweetgum trees in the front yard. There the squirrels would be, those little rascals, digging up all the pansies, roses, and other assortments of flowers my father planted for my mother, trying to find all the acorns they could shove in their overflowing cheeks. Then I would hear it, the stomp of footsteps coming from the hallway closet; it was time! My dad would come running to the glass door with his brown pellet rifle in one hand, bbs in the other, checkered boxers his only clothing. Quietly he would open the glass door as to not startle the little creatures. At the first shot chaos ensued; blurred balls of fur shot fast as lightning to the nearest trees. Somehow my dad managed to hit every single one. There I was, little five year old me, jumping up and down at his side, one hand holding his underwear, the other waving wildly in the air along with shouts of enjoyment and laughter. I don’t recall how often this occurred throughout the week, but I remember it being quite enjoyable.
I Don’t Know Why I Remember… by Josiah Patteson
I don’t know why I remember skinning a squirrel with my biological father when I was three or four years old. The expanse of our backyard consisted of a beautiful array of flowers, stepping stones, an older swing set and play house, and a koi pond in the making: the creation of a skilled landscaper. This was his domain. Every blade of grass, every flower, and every stone was exactly where it should be. He was the creator and maker of this land, and the squirrels only disrupted it. It was within the realm of the pond-in-the-making, on the wall of clay which resembled a water fall that cascaded into the pooled ground, that the furry critters met their doom. My father calmly walked out the back door, pellet gun in hand, as my brother and I played on the play-set. I watched as he raised his weapon towards the darned rodent. The squirrel was completely unaware of the danger it was in; for, it continued to paw the earth and dig up my father’s grass. A click sounded and a puff of air escaped the barrel. Down the enemy went, my father victorious. I followed my dad as he casually walked through the lush blades and soft pine straw to retrieve his kill, curious to see what he had done. Once the squirrel was in hand, we retraced our steps and made our journey to the picnic table. I remember the large skinning knife my father used to remove the scratchy, bristly fur and how it revealed the pink muscles and warm maroon blood that hid underneath the skin. I was fascinated by the colors and shapes of the inside of this small mammal. Once the skin and the guts were removed, my father grabbed a Ziploc bag and placed the squirrel inside. He then went back inside the house and placed his fresh kill in the freezer with the others, never to be touched again.