There is a show on the CBC’s Radio 2, Sunday mornings, called In the Key of Charles. The host, Gregory Charles, picks a theme each week and plays related music while he sings along, does commentary, pauses for breath. It is my kind of show. About 50% of my Sunday mornings I am a) at my parents’ house with the rest of my family (my mom’s radio is where I heard this show for the first time) so surrounded by noise or b) not near a radio. How can I have a favourite Sunday mid-morning radio show that I never listen to? Easy! Once in a blue moon I hear it and I love it and it’s my favourite.

I am specific about the mid-morning part of that equation because our Sunday early-morning radio show of choice has long been the “South Slavs” radio show on Vancouver co-op radio. Your host has this great, gravelly voice and he says “Yesta!” a lot and the music is very accordian-heavy and we love it.

Yesterday I was in the car with Fresco going to Costco to exchange a bathing suit and buy three months’ worth of coffee and I put the CBC on and there was Mr. Charles doing a show about solitude. “No one can do it alone,” he said (or something to that effect) “everyone needs friends.” And then he played a song about working together and getting it done (and no it wasn’t from Bob the Builder OR Thomas the Tank Engine may they both burn in a hell of their own lighting) and just as I was tapping the steering wheel thinking life was good I saw them.

Two squirrels, darting out into the road from between parked cars. The car ahead of me slowed and swerved a little and the squirrels ran back to the sidewalk, then darted back out again. The road is a traffic-heavy one and we were proceeding downhill at a good clip so it wasn’t until I was almost past that I realized what they were doing. A third squirrel lay dead just in the path of traffic. The other two were freaking out, losing their little minds, running in and out of traffic the way you advance and balk when every inch of you needs you to do one thing but common sense keeps yanking you back.

“Oh,” I said. “The poor little bastard.” And kept going.

I know; squirrels. Not people. But if they’re just rats with tails, why hadn’t they run back to the yard and left their buddy behind? Part of me couldn’t help thinking about war. Another part just hates seeing dead things on the road. A third part of me thought, “Wow that’s creepy that the dude on the radio was talking about friendship and solitude just then. We do all need friends, if only to drag our dead asses off the road.”

On the way home I was going the opposite way on the same route and I had already forgotten about the squirrels. For some reason I glanced across the two lanes of traffic just at that spot. There were, by then, two dead squirrels in the road. I didn’t know what to make of that.

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