One Bad Chipmunk

Abby’s rebellious streak

Every morning MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I walk our dog in a nearby place I affectionately call (in this blog) the Dog Woods Trail.
Most mornings it’s a simple and beautiful walk, slow and sauntering now that Abby is older: once or twice around the baseball field. We have plenty of time to take in nature’s beauty.

Some days we’ll venture further afield into the woods or to a nearby stream where Abby will take a dip. And then, every once in a while, Abby goes outlaw and ventures onto the baseball field—which technically is not allowed.

I was reminded of Abby’s rebellious streak (which she may or may not have inherited from her human mom) this morning when we ran across someone who in this blog will be referred to as the “Bad Chipmunk.” As in “one bad chipmunk can taint the whole woods.”

Late last fall, the Bad Chipmunk and I had a bit of a run in. In actuality, the Bad Chipmunk yelled at me for having my dog in the wrong place: the baseball field. Now to be completely fair to the Bad Chipmunk, there is a posted sign: “No dogs allowed on field.” But a light snow had fallen, ice was freezing on the covered pitcher’s mound, and the season was a distant memory.

But the Bad Chipmunk—whose own dog, while she was yelling at me, ran over to me, jumped up on me, and grabbed with his teeth (playfully, but still) my gloves while they were on my hands—chastised me for having a dog on the baseball field. She then departed, letting me know in no uncertain terms that she was a steward of the land, and I better behave.

This rebellious human mom may or may not have left an angry note on the Bad Chipmunk’s windshield about one Bad Chipmunk ruining a perfectly good dog walk.

Still, I was so shaken up that when I got home I made several calls: to the neighboring town’s recreation department and parks department and police department (all in one building mind you) who all said variations of: a) they were not the least bit concerned, b) they didn’t know of any self-appointed Bad Chipmunk, and c) the only rule they knew of was that during the sports season, dog owners should keep their dogs off the field. And, of course, “don’t forget to always ‘pick up’ after your dog.”

Which I do. And, knowing there was no rule made it easier to go back to the Dog Woods the next day. But not much.

Now, every time I see the Bad Chipmunk’s car I cringe. And this morning, for the first time since last year’s showdown, I saw the Bad Chipmunk herself….when she called out a hurried “good morning” as she headed speedily down the trail, half-heartedly yelling at her dog to come with her (although he was too busy to listen because he was jumping up on me and nipping affectionately at my now glove-free hands).
MEH rocks the dog walk
As much as I tried, I had the troubling feeling all through our walk that we were being watched. Somewhere, somehow, the Bad Chipmunk from her small woodland home was keeping her eye on me. Knowing I wasn’t doing anything wrong didn’t help one bit.

She’s one Bad Chipmunk. And she almost spoiled the dog walk, until…

MEH did his best Donny-Osmond-falsetto imitation singing, dancing, and spinning through the woods (to the tune of One Bad Apple):

“One bad chipmunk don’t spoil the whole forest, girl,

Give it one more try, before you give up on the dog woods….”

Are there any Bad Chipmunks in your life? How do you keep them from getting you down?



P.S. In case you’ve never seen it, here’s the Osmonds rendition of One Bad Apple on youtube. MEH’s the one in the middle, rocking the falsetto.


  1. LRM says:

    I love that song!

  2. Interesting you refer to her as a chipmonk – who like to scold from the branches of trees 🙂 Love that.

  3. says:

    A Bad Chipmunk. I love that! I’m adding it to my vocabulary right now. Thanks for an entertaining read, Julia.

  4. KLZ says:

    I think you need to urban dictionary that word right now. Yes, I have a bad chipmunk or two in my life.

  5. LRM, So glad!

    Cynthia, Let me tell you–I’ve had a chipmunk (real one) in my kitchen before and they are scary and HUGE-LOOKING when they’re up close! 🙂

    VV, Glad you enjoyed it! And I certainly prefer to call people chipmunks to other possibilities! 🙂

    KLZ, can you really add things to urban dictionary? Sadly we all have a bad chipmunk or two in our lives…. life’s too short to be that way! 🙂

  6. Your MEH is a keeper!!

    Thanks for the fun read JMM!! It really does show that one person can make a difference for good or bad. So glad your MEH was able to tip the scales to the good in the end.

  7. Linda, Thanks so much for the visit to my blog! And you are so right, MEH is definitely a keeper. He stays on the sunny side with a smile and a good word (or dance! 🙂 So glad for your comment!

  8. Gil Pizano says:

    It’s funny how others may not even know or understand the impact they can have on someone else with the words they choose to say or the way those words are spoken. I’ve come across many “bad chipmunks” and can say I can truly empathize with you. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we react to them. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us Julia!

  9. Gil, Thanks for the visit to my blog, the follow and the comment! I agree that it’s so funny the impact others can have on us (me). I appreciate your empathy and understanding–and completely agree that it’s important for me to control how I react to these people/incidents. After writing this–believe it or not, I wondered if I had caused the Bad Chipmunk a little stress as well, which made me feel a little sorry. Thanks again for the comment!