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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: ‘Nuts' to squirrels and Ike as a boy statue


February 12. 2012 6:50PM

Grandson Ike and I walked over to the little brook the other day to throw pebbles. We brought along some nuts for the squirrels.

We had fun. How can you not have fun with a kid who still says he loves his grandfather (and means it)?

But I made the mistake of mentioning the squirrels to a colleague at work.

'Nuts to the squirrels?' she said, not sounding at all pleased.

'Someone in my neighborhood is feeding unshelled peanuts to the squirrels,' she said. She made it sound like an indictment at Nuremberg.

'Something wrong with that?' I asked.

'The squirrels bring the nuts into my yard and bury them in my potted plants.'

Being consistently reckless, I pursued the matter.

'And this is troublesome how' I asked.

'Well, what if I or someone in my house had a peanut allergy?' she replied, with a knowing nod and a look like Raymond Burr would get when he, for the umpteenth time, had bested prosecuting attorney Hamilton Burger.

For some reason, I hadn't thought of that dire possibility.

'But why blame the person?' I asked. 'It's really between you and the squirrels at that point. Perhaps you could obtain some window stickers or lawn signs, something with an X drawn through a peanut, that would warn the squirrels to take their nuts elsewhere?'

She wasn't buying it, but I'm throwing it out there, free of charge, and expect some Internet entrepreneur to be on the case within 24 hours, or at least before Obamacare declares an outright ban on feeding peanuts to squirrels, unless the squirrel is a member of the clergy.

Which leads me to another dispute raging in Washington, D.C.

Ike is not my grandson's real name. It was the nickname of Dwight D. Eisenhower, World War II leader of Allied armies in Europe and two-term U.S. President.

An outdoor memorial honoring Ike has been designed for Washington. The Eisenhower family, led by granddaughter Susan, is unhappy with the proposed main statue. It would show Ike as a barefoot Kansas farm boy, looking toward examples of his future greatness.

The family argues that the memorial should center not on the boy but on the man he became. The family is right.

Eisenhower did more than any other single individual to pull together the winning coalition that smashed into Hitler's Fortress Europe and won the war there.

He ought to be sculpted wearing his Army uniform (and Eisenhower jacket), and definitely with a cigarette between his fingers.

That's what I would like little Ike and his generation to see when they visit Washington.

Write to Joe McQuaid at

Publisher's Notebook