The following note was found on my doorstep stuck to a half-eaten pine cone lying next to page 5 of the Daily Tidings' issue of Saturday, April 15, 2017 containing the headline “Squirrel causes large power outage in Ashland.” Since I do not profess to know who the “powers that be” actually are in this community, I felt it appropriate to send this to you for delivery to those who are. Thanks!

Dear Dr. Doolittle:

Please send this to the Powers That Be:

Be advised that the local squirrel population is OUTRAGED by the slanderous accusations that one of our members was responsible for the 4.5 hour power outage that occurred in Ashland on April 13th. Anyone who knows squirrels knows that we can barely trip a GFI or momentarily dim the lights when a squirrel screws up and comes into contact with juice.

We are sick and tired of those who ALWAYS say whenever there’s a power outage “BLAME THE SQUIRRELS! BLAME THE SQUIRRELS!” We squirrels know what really happened: one of the power lines got cut during all the utility, new construction, remodeling, trenching, etc. activity currently underway throughout Ashland.

As Chief Crisis Communicator for our population, WE DEMAND TO SEE THE EVIDENCE! Our forensics team can clearly tell the difference between a road kill squirrel and one that’s been fried. And don’t go electrocuting any innocent critter to cover up this conspiracy!

Just like many of the new residents of this place, we came to Ashland for its ambience, quality of education, opportunity for upward mobility and enjoyment of our retirement years. Call it a quest for culture and vittles with a view! Why would we EVER cut the power to homes whose warm crawl spaces and attics are where we live (and thrive!) during the cold spells?

As we relocate to our tree lodges come summer, we remain hopeful the Powers That Be will do something about those #%&+! stadium lights that keep us awake during all hours of the night. We have mentioned this issue to our cousins in California, and they said they’d be more than willing to dispatch a suicide squadron of flying squirrels to glide over the Siskiyous and solve our problem. What do you think? Should I take them up on their generous offer? I gotta say we’re really tempted…

Well, I digress. Please encourage the Powers That Be to not jump too quickly to conclusions when it comes to squirrels. As soon as our forensics team has received and examined the evidence, its report will be shared with anyone interested.

Sincerely yours,


— Emmett Fiske lives in Ashland.