MY MOTHER AND THE SQUIRRELS. For the first ten years of my life, we lived in a house that had five pear trees in the backyard. My mother was in a continuing struggle with the squirrels over the pears. The squirrels would get to the young pears and eat them before they were ripe enough for us to eat. The ground would be littered with the remains of the unripe pears. My mother would rush out when she saw a squirrel in the pear trees, calling out shooing noises. She would pick up chewed-up pears and throw them up at the squirrels and she would urge us to throw pears at them It was treated as one of our chores. None of us was ever successful either at hitting the squirrels or at scaring them away. One day when my mother was standing under a tree throwing a pear, a squirrel hit my mother with a pear. She claimed it was intentional and after that made a point of leaving the pears to the squirrels.

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