Bob the Squirrel is 16 years old today. We kept things low-key. He invited a few of squirrel friends over for cake. Not a party to be at if you have a nut allergy.
Rachael Ray, celebrity chef, guru and overall dynamo, has been the object of Bob’s desire for over a decade. What blossomed in 2006 , was still blooming in 2007 and 2008, continued on in 2009 and 2010 and kept on truckin’ through 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Lauren had a school science project… to study the ins and out of volcanoes. We researched everything and actually made a pretty decent paper model. Since we had a lot of flour and paint, an unlimited supply of paper and an extra Pringles can, why not the make and give a seismic, molten gift from the heart? Thankfully, the restraining order never came. It took a week to get all the flour paste out of Bob’s fur. The things you do for love.
Operation get Rachael to dig Bob kicked into full gear in 2015. Lez and I were celebrating our first Valentine’s day as a married couple. Bob, surrounded by all this love, was on a mission like never before. He decided to make a video.
This went on for two solid weeks. A TON of video was shot and re-shot and re-re-shot.
Unfortunately, all of the footage was lost after I inadvertently dropped, hit with a hammer, spilled Coke Zero on and ran over seven times the external hard drive containing the raw video. Accidents happen.
Raquel even included snap shots of the book signing she got this… just in case we had any doubt of the authenticity. We truly have the best fans on the planet. I didn’t let Bob know about this until…
Needless to say, Bob was in another realm this Valentine’s day. After basking in the glow of a sharpie signature for a while, he began to think of the man that held back…
He’d not imagining that. And I’m NOT a monster. A story line is a story line.
Tensions were still running high in 2017. The world was changing faster than we wanted. Nothing was ever going to be the same. The cracks on Bob’s devotion were beginning to show.
So, that’s where we are now. Basically, the same place we were twelve years ago. Do I ever see a day where tv chefs and squirrels can live in peace, love and harmony? Sure, why not? If he’s still willing to put himself out there, I’ll back him up.
But, we’re dome making volcanoes… do you know how messy they are?
Rachael Ray, celebrity chef, guru and overall dynamo, has been the object of Bob’s desire for over a decade.
As Bob likes to say: “Rachael Ray is awesome. I love the fact that she’s pint sized. I love that she smiles a lot. I love that she can take ingredients and MacGyver it into dinner in less than 30 minutes.
I love that even though it seems like she’s not real, she is real. I love that she’s goofy in a very smart way. I love that I can turn on the TV at pretty much any point of the day and be able to find at least one show she’s on.
I can always count on Rachael to be there when I need something familiar.”
But where and when did this all begin? We’re going to have to go back a long way.
To be fair, I myself have always had a soft spot for Rachael Ray. When I was a student at the University at Albany in the early 90’s, she was working at a gourmet shop not that far from where I lived. Of course, I didn’t know that until much later. As a freshman art student I never did any gourmet grocery shopping, but I did frequent the shopping plaza where that store was. I’d like to think we crossed paths once or twice. If she saw me then, her path may have crossed the street.
It was hard to miss Rachael in the early 2000’s. The strip was about four years in when I decided that Bob needed a celebrity crush (don’t we all?). Rachael was an easy choice…not much explaining was needed.
A one-sided love affair was born. A love affair that, at last count, has spanned 12 years and 102 strips.
Bob heard nothing from Rachael in 2006. He was determined to change that the following year. To that end, he commissioned me to paint her a portrait.
He waited and waited and waited… nothing. Not so much as a mention or a cease and desist order. But squirrels are stubborn.
Coming tomorrow: A glimmer of hope and ultimate disappointment.