By O’Ceallaigh and Santa Ward –
After reading our Blog entitled, “The Little Old Glad Lady,” my cousin Sandy got in touch with me because she had been reminded of an episode from her past, too.
Sandy was born and raised on the old farm that our grandparents had, just up the road from ours, and she- well, let’s let her tell the story, um, in her own words!
By Santa Ward-
The year was about 1960ish and I was 12ish. It was early spring, the snow was melting and the earth below was becoming visible in spots.
I was a tomboy. I could jump higher, run faster than any boy my age, no boy was going to best me at anything, not at a-n-ee thiiiing.
My Uncle was visiting from Ohio with his stepson, Jed.
Jed and I, and our old dog Mickey were off to the woods to play, when off in the distance, across the field, something dark moved against the white snow.A mystery to be solved! I set off running with Jed and Mickey running to keep up. Mickey got the scent and bounded ahead. It was a skunk! Mickey quickly began barking at it. The skunk, feeling threatened, sprayed Mickey in the face.
Poor dog! He ran off to wipe his face in the snow. The skunk retreated down a water logged hole. I challenged Jed to reach in and grab it. He declined.
“A-ha,” I thought, “I’ll show him!’
I rolled up my sleeve and stuck my arm down the hole. I felt around until my hand came upon something. I took hold of it and pulled it out.
I had the skunk by the tail!
I opened my mouth to exclaim this with excitement when the little devil sprayed me in the mouth.
Now I don’t think there are too many people know what this is like!
Let me give you an idea!
If you have ever eaten a very hot pepper or had too much horseradish in your mouth, you know how it permeates rapidly up through the nose, into the sinuses. Well, this was worse! But it didn’t stop at the sinuses but kept going. I thought my head would explode and my eyeballs were going to pop out of their sockets at any moment.
And then there is the foul, bitter taste that will not leave your tongue.
While I suffered this pain, I kept a tight hold of MY skunk.
We decided to return home. I was spitting with every step. The skunk kept struggling so I held its head underwater until it stopped moving. (I’m still ashamed by my callousness to this day, what was I thinking?)
Jed decided to go home.
Here I was, alone with my great catch, my prize, my example of besting a ‘boy’, caught with my bare hands. I was SO proud of myself; I had to share this, but with who?
I stood at Grandma Todd’s door, put the skunk behind my back and knocked. As Grandma opened the door I pulled the skunk out from behind my back and thrust it forward at full arm’s length, proclaiming with the pride of a big game hunter!
“Grandma!……look what I caught!”
Her face grew pale and a look of horror took over. She yelled in a shaking voice “Oh, Sandra!” and slammed the door in my face! Not the reaction I was expecting.
I stood there stunned, puzzled and very perplexed.
“Didn’t she get it?” I thought to myself, “that I caught this all by myself”?
I was very disappointed.
As I walked away I wondered who else might appreciate my great feat? Then it came to me! – MOM!
Once again I’m standing at the door, skunk behind my back, I knock.
As Mom opens the door, I bring the skunk around thrusting it forward at full arm’s length, full of pride, proclaiming “Mom! – Look what I caught!”
Again, – not the reaction I was expecting.
Mom let me know in no uncertain terms to “get rid of that thing! Go to the trash barrel and remove your clothes, – throw them in the barrel for burning and come into the house for a bath!”
“What?” I thought. “Get rid of MY skunk”? I couldn’t – I wouldn’t.
I walked across the road and gently placed my skunk across a branch in a tree, intending to return for it.
I went to the trash barrel, stripped off my clothes, praying that a car would not come up the road and catch me naked, and then I bolted for the house.
The minute I was inside, Mom scooped me up, plunked me down in the tub, poured mustard all over me and began scrubbing me with a brush. I thought she would remove my skin.
When I was finally dressed again in clean clothes, she released me back “into the wild”. I decided to retrieve my trophy, my prize. As I neared the tree I could see that My skunk was GONE!
My first thought was “Someone has stolen MY skunk!”
I decided to track down the perpetrator and get it back! I looked in the snow around the tree for tracks. The only tracks visible were little skunk tracks heading for the woods!
It was alive!
I felt very relieved. “Could it be that skunks play ‘possum, too?” I wondered.
First and foremost, 1) skunks are best left alone. If you can’t leave them alone then remember this: 2) keep your mouth shut! (Protective eye-wear is also helpful.) And then, 3) If you get it by the tail, keep the business end up! If the feet touch the ground, it has leverage.
Finally, number 4)- If you’re looking at it and it begins to pucker, drop EVERYTHING and run like HELL! !!