JAQUISH: Coming face to face with a skunk

I’ve never met a skunk I liked and meeting one at 7 a.m. last week as I rushed out of my basement doorway has given me cause to ponder. He was having an early morning snack from the cat’s dish.

Now, first off, as I’ve mentioned once before, the cat does not belong to us. It is the neighbor’s cat but almost three years ago it decided to proclaim a trial separation from its owner and it started hanging around our place. So now we have a black cat with a limp and his brother who visits at meal time.

Of course, when I opened the door, the cats thought it was “breakfast” so they rushed from their spot under my car toward their bowl. The cats and I both came to a screeching halt when we spotted Peppy LePew licking up the last crumbs. The cats backed up and I threw it in reverse as well.

I yelled for the spouse to run interference so I could get to the car without setting off the varmints’ alarm system and I was on my way for the day, but it did cause me to ponder.

What was Noah thinkin’ when he put two skunks on the Ark? And where did he put them. Hopefully they had a window seat. Of what use is a skunk? They dig little holes in my yard looking for grubs. I could live with grubs in my yard; I don’t need the services of a skunk. I think I will put up a sign.

I was almost to my destination that morning when I realized what a terrible thing could have happened. I’m not always the brightest bulb in the pack that early in the morning. What would have happened if I’d gotten sprayed with both barrels? That scent would have been with me for the next week. I would have no friends. I wouldn’t even have any enemies. I would have no one… . Fortunately my Methodist knee didn’t lock up on me or I wouldn’t have been so fleet of foot that morning. It was a miracle.

One time back in the days of my youth on the farm on the Plains of Pleasanton, Foothills of Malcolm, my dad was on a mission to rid the barnyard of a family of skunks. He just could not tolerate the smell of a skunk. I never thought there was much of anything that smelled good in the barnyard, but I guess the other stuff didn’t bother him or maybe his nose just went bad after so many years in that environment.

On one warm summer morning dad and I were fixing fence when he spotted a hearty looking polecat heading for his tool shed. The building was fairly solid in structure, but the old door had a corner piece broken out about the same size of, you guessed it, the skunk.

Dad said, “You run over there and shove your boot in the hole and I’ll go get the 22”.

Now, I was about 12 years-of-age. I was old enough to know that when Dad told me to do something, I’d better do it so I ran around the corner of the old shed and jammed my boot clad foot into the hole in the door.

About that time I noticed the skunk coming around the other corner of the shed and heading in my direction.

As the varmint waddled closer, from somewhere in the distance behind me, Dad said, “Don’t move.”

From my point of view, I had two options. I could move and get sprayed by the skunk or I could move and get shot by my dad. I didn’t have enough time to make a decision because the skunk now had its front feet on top of my boot and his nose was probing the tiny cracks in the boards around it.

Sweat stood out on my upper lip at least three-quarters of an inch. My peripheral vision did not allow me a glimpse of my dad. Did he go back to the house for a nap or was he getting ready to squeeze off a round?

I began to wonder how long I could stand in that position without starting to tremble … I found out shortly. Fortunately the skunk was losing interest in gaining entry and decided to go back from whence he came. As he rounded the corner of the building and was out of sight I heard the piercing crack of a rifle. I was still standing with my foot wedged in the door which made me think Dad missed me or he got the skunk.

So, meeting a skunk at my front door some 50 years later caused a chilling flashback of the days of my youth on the farm. Sharing that experience with all of you has been good therapy, and you’ll all agree, I need therapy!

As Usual, PJ

Author of “Uncommon Sense”

Pj646@centurytel.net

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Posted by Pauline Jaquish

Pauline Jaquish is the author of “Uncommon Sense.” You can reach her at Pj646@centurytel.net.

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