Shorty the Squirrel
Died 1963 - Tyler, Texas
Shorty lived outside the Smith County courthouse for 15 years. He was a panhandler and a beggar, but beloved by the town -- and particularly by Miss Geneva Pillow, who fed him daily.
The citizens of Tyler honored Shorty with free medical care, a special pedestrian crossing, and a lower speed limit on Broadway -- all with the goal of prolonging his life. But no squirrel lives forever (or even for very long) and Shorty died in 1963.
He was buried in a park across the street from the courthouse, his grave surrounded by a brick wall, marked by a Georgia granite headstone engraved with his likeness. A replacement squirrel was quickly run over by a car (another testament to Shorty's genius for survival). With no one to fill his snack-grubbing shoes, Shorty's legend grew. Paul Harvey told his story on the radio. He became even more famous in death than in life.
When the 1990s arrived, two young punks out for kicks stole Shorty's tombstone. It says something about the transience of fame that no one in Tyler noticed that the tombstone was missing -- until the dad of one of the hoods found it in his car trunk a week later, and made the kid turn himself in.
Shorty's headstone was boosted in March of '96, and Shorty's fans feared that it would never be found -- or replaced. "You know how things are nowadays," a source inside the courthouse told us. "Most folks don't remember Shorty any more." The tombstone was replaced again in September of 2006 and can be found today (as pictured above) on the southeast corner of the square.
Miss Pillow is dead. So are most of Shorty's powerful friends. It's up to us! Let the people of Tyler know -- no tombstone, no tourists!
- mostly taken verbatim from the roadside america website about shorty the squirrel.
Michael and I saw this last weekend when we were heading to Rick's on the Square for his birthday dinner. I wanted to go back to blip it tonight before we headed out to his mom's house to hang out for the weekend. Michael is apparently a relative of Shorty's.
Movie time! Double wedding tomorrow night to celebrate Chauntelle DuPree (and Todd) and Jessie Munns (and Weston).. Hooray!