Looks like the squirrels owe President Barack Obama an apology - and rightfully so. Although there was no conspiracy to upstage him, Monday, Jan. 21 - Presidential Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King Day - just happens to fall on Squirrel Appreciation Day. As conflicting major holidays go, this is turning out to be a real contest for the hearts and minds of the American people.
Granted, the president gets a parade - but how does one day's pomp and procession possibly compare to the grand promenades queueing down daily from the trees in our parks and outside our homes?
As for the Oath of Office? Think about this, folks: Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution - which establishes that oath - isn't necessary for squirrels. Do they really need a formal, public and pre-scripted affirmation of their mission?
As for inaugural banquets, visit any outdoor venue with more than a half-dozen pecan or filbert trees and you've got a gourmet gorgefest right there. Washington's ceremonial 3,000-calorie binge on clam chowder, bison and wild huckleberry reduction holds no appeal to the squirrels.
However, we do understand: Squirrel Appreciation Day is a solemn occasion, so it's no wonder the president wants in on some of the action. The squirrels are willing to share some of their 24-hour period and let the light shine on someone else for a bit.
No doubt, however, one of the best-kept secrets in Washington is sure to get out by the time the ceremony gets going. In the color of his suit, the most observant among us will surely discern the truth: If it is a subtle shade of grey - as is likely - we know President Obama is really using the occasion of his return to the White House to express his inner squirrel.
And on Jan. 21, of all days, the squirrels are certain to appreciate that.