After Dad "retired," Mom asked him to take over a few things around the house which, she soon found, forced her to spend more time complimenting Dad than the time she would've spend doing the floors.
It was always obvious what tasks Dad had taken on that day. "Hey A," he'd say, "Don't you think the yard looks the best it's ever looked? Isn't this the best vacuuming job you've ever seen?"
The best came when Mom was complaining about cleaning the pool. It seemed that a lone squirrel had taken up residence in a branch high above the white steps that enter the shallow end of the pool. Every day, that squirrel would sit on his lonely branch and eat nuts, dropping the shells in the exact same spot, staining the white stems a dark chocolate brown and every day Mom would go out with the pool brush and scrub it away.
This routine went on for a few weeks until Dad offered to take on the task of keeping the pool clean. Day one, Dad came in grumbling about the squirrel. Day two, he was shocked that the mess had appeared in exact same place. By Day three, Dad was done.
He walked outside and saw the brown stain and floating nut bits and looked up to see the squirrel still sitting there, still watching Dad, and still eating those damn nuts, dropping them into the water as Dad watched.
Dad brushed by me on his way into the house and returned a few minutes later with, I kid you not, a shotgun. "Take the baby in the house" he told me, referring to my nephew Alex, who was only about six months old at the time. I went inside with Alex and his dad, my brother and we watched as Dad aimed at that squirrel and, I kid you not, blew him out of the tree. He tumbled down, falling just short of the pool and landing but a few feet from the pile of floating nuts and that spreading stain. Lloyd and I laughed so hard that we made Alex cry.
Dad turned on his heels and walked back in the house. "Dad", I said, "What about the squirrel? Mom's going to be home soon." He shrugged and said, "John Wayne never cleaned up his dead."
To this day, no squirrel sits on that branch and no nuts stain the top step of the pool. It may not meet PETA standards, but if you wanted a problem solved (with a shotgun), you went to Dad. Maybe next time I'll tell you how the spray marks from the gun ended up on our deck and patio furniture...