Friday, February 25, 2005

Did You Fart?

I regularly check out a forum for Filipino/Western relationships since I fall into that category. Call it a support group for both sides to figure out and understand the other side or to just to talk to people who have something in common. Today, someone wrote a post about skunks. There aren't any skunks in the Philippines and therefore, when a Filipina first encounters a dead one on the road here in the U.S. they do what comes naturally, they blame their husband for farting! My wife was no different the first time she smelled a skunk while we were driving down the road. But the post also brought back other skunk memories, which I thought I would blog here.

In my very early teens, my parents, brother and I, along with the family dog Ted, drove to my aunt and uncle's house forty miles away on a sunny Saturday afternoon to go for a walk in the park and to hunt for some morel mushrooms. We spent the afternoon walking and hunting and were making our way back to the cars when Ted scared up a skunk and proceeded to chase it. He stopped but only after receiving a direct shot of skunk spray from just two feet away. My aunt and uncle had driven their car and of course didn't want Ted in it nor could they keep him at their house because they lived in the city and Ted was used to roaming at his will on our farm. We on the other hand had a forty-mile drive to get back home in a small compact car. This was a really big dilemma. I'm sure passing motorists were both amused and baffled when they saw that small blue car rolling down the highway with four people hanging their heads out the windows and a large reddish brown dog sitting in the middle foaming at the mouth and snorting!

Another time and several years older, I was driving home one evening (in the same small blue car) when I hit a skunk running across the highway. The odor was sickening and even after several miles, it still persisted and continued to do so the rest of the way home. The next morning as I passed by the garage on the way to the shop, I couldn't help but notice the skunk fumes emanating from the garage. I power washed the car and it still stunk just as bad the next day. Finally I thought to shine a flashlight underneath the car where to my horror, I saw a black tail with one white stripe hanging down the side of the muffler. Evidently, the force of the hit had flipped the then dead skunk up and wedged it between the car and the muffler where the heat continued to cook it the rest of the way home. I donned a mask, gloves and even coveralls but still couldn't stop from gagging as I pried the dead skunk loose and disposed of the carcass. I think I even burned all the clothes. It was awhile before that odor wore away.

Another time, Ted chased a skunk into the same garage where they battled it out. The skunk ended up escaping but all the dogs, the cats, and both cars smelled like skunk for about a month afterwards.

And yet another time a skunk decided to raise a family in one of our storage buildings. She escaped through a hole when she saw me but a half dozen babies were left behind. Not being sure if the young ones could spray their scent or not, I decided to not take any chances. I lashed a kid's plastic sand shovel onto the end of a sixteen foot section of PVC pipe and with the end, set a five gallon bucket near my prey. Then from sixteen feet away, I scooped up the babies one at a time and dumped them into the waiting bucket. After I got them all in, I carried the bucket (from sixteen feet away) into the fields behind the house and dumped them out. By that time they were really starting to stink so I got the heck out of there and immediately went back and plugged the hole that they had been using for the entrance to the building.

Since Ted died almost ten years ago, (he never did learn to leave them alone) I haven't had any more close encounters with skunks outside of driving by dead ones on the roads. I do hope that I finally convinced my wife that the one time out of ten when I am actually innocent of farting in the car, it was the skunk's fault.

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