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The Story Of The Drunken Squirrel

7/22/2012 1:52:17 PM

Tags: Torreya State Park, Florida, torreya trees, scuppernong grapes, camping and a drunken squirrel., Bruce McElmurray

ID 1003344

Everyone likes a story so here is one that I hope readers will enjoy and smile at.  When we lived in N. Florida we used to love to go camping at Torreya State Park, near Bristol, FL, located in the panhandle, where it was quiet and quite unique.   The park is named from the torreya tree which is a rare species of conifer that grows in the park.  The trees grew high and provided a shaded canopy over campsites.  The torreya tree is a very rare tree that only grows in a few places in the world. In the USA it grows in N. Florida within the State Park,  also in California.  The Florida Torreya is also known as gopher wood.  Some believe this tree is the same gopher wood that Noah used to build his ark.  

We enjoyed our camping trips to Torreya State Park because of the quiet and the thick luxurious cushion of pine needles on the ground.  The smell from those hot needles was intoxicating.  It was also like walking on a foam mattress which forms the basis of this story. This didn’t start out to be a botany lesson but it helps to understand if the reader can picture the serene setting and the thick carpet of pine needles.  

Also there was a wild grape that grew within the park and that was the scuppernong grape known as “the big white grape”.  These vines grew up the trees and they had managed to grow across the canopy of torreya trees.  We were laying in our hammocks reading and relaxing and happy to be away from the stress of our jobs. As we gently swung in our hammocks engrossed in our stories we kept hearing this “thump”.  When we heard it we would look around and not see anything out of the ordinary.  A squirrel on the ground or birds but what was making that thumping noise?

The thump kept occurring so I finally put my book down and waited for the next thump. It didn’t take long when I heard it again and when I looked around to see what caused it, all I saw was a squirrel spread eagle on its back laying on the cushion of pine needles.  I watched it for a short while and pretty soon the squirrel hopped up and climbed the nearest tree. I had never observed a squirrel fall out of a tree before and couldn’t understand why it had but was glad it was alright. Then I watched as the squirrel tightrope walked  across the scuppernong vines to a grape and sat up and started eating the grape.  The squirrel had eaten a few grapes and then it just slowly fell off the vine and would hit those soft needles on the ground with a thump.  It would lay there for a few minutes until it recovered and do the entire sequence over again.  

The grapes had apparently fermented on the vine and the squirrel was getting seriously drunk.  This was repeated all day and continued to happen throughout the weekend.  I would have thought that the squirrel would have had such a hangover that he would stop after a while but the squirrel just kept peeling off its perch in the tops of those trees all day long and falling to the ground. So that is the story of the drunk squirrel and a lesson on the torreya tree and scuppernong grapes to boot.  I’m sure there are several morals to this story but I don’t think I will go there. Still makes me smile today thinking about that drunken squirrel.

Anyone interested in Torreya State Park type it in your search engine and it will take you to a page that tells all about the park.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and our lifestyle and living go to:

Photo courtesy of Tim Seed and

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