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Generally, I need no help from others to embarrass myself. I have a lifetime of experience at this. I can not only tangle both of my left feet, but also have one foot in my mouth at the very same time.

But for this most recent red-faced moment, our squirrel had the assist.

We recently spent a little over a week in Hinton, West Virginia at Don’s family’s camp on the New River. Our dog tends to get car sick, so we boarded him with a friend and made the trip with our cat and the squirrel.

Since we’d be returning with a truckload of items I had stored in my parents’ garage, we took two vehicles, with Don and the cat in one, and me with Rudy, our squirrel, in the other.

Uncertain how Rudy would behave on such a long drive, before leaving Atlanta, we hid about a dozen hazelnuts throughout the truck to help keep him entertained. What ensued was a bit like an Easter egg hunt, except with Rudy finding and then hiding, and re-hiding, his “eggs.” This strategy worked so well on the drive up that we hid some again prior to heading home.

Aside from this trip, we severely ration the number of nuts Rudy can have. Like most squirrels, he would eat nothing else if allowed, which can lead to a deadly bone disorder.

To have so many nuts at his disposal for hours on end was more than Rudy’s little brain could handle, and he worked himself into a frenzy trying to find the best hiding places to guarantee his horde was safe from any squirrels who might manage to enter our locked, speeding vehicle.

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Rudy’s favorite place to hide nuts was generally in my hair, which was pinned up in a loose bun, but other places on me as well. This scenario happened so frequently over the course of all those hours that I stopped paying attention.

I should have been paying attention. If I had, I could still show my face at Aldi.

A few minutes after arriving home from our trip, I put Rudy inside and made a quick run to the store to pick up a few items. At some point during my time in the store, I realized I was getting some strange looks from fellow shoppers and then again when talking to the cashier. They kept staring at my chest.

I’m pretty much past the age where this region draws much attention, so I glanced down at my shirt to see if I had perhaps not noticed a spill.

This was when I realized that at some point in the trip, Rudy managed to tuck a few hazelnuts into the sports bra I was wearing. One left. One right. One looking way up, the other further down and well off to one side.

Symmetry is not Rudy’s strong point.

Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes, like two.

Karin Fuller can be reached via email at

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