By Ken Bradbury
It’s strange what’ll get a response. You can write a column about impending nuclear disaster, global holocaust, or the amount of salt in a McDonald’s French fry, all world-shaking topics, and folks will smile and turn the page, but if you tell a tiny tale of a possum loose under your house your Facebook page will be filled with advice, stories of similar wild game hunts, and very bad jokes about the ingredients of burgoo.
Since I was unsuccessful in ridding myself of the critter I’m still stopped in County Market, on the Jacksonville Square and once while filling up with fuel in Springfield as folks have shared their various varmint escapades. One of the most interesting a hair-raising came last Sunday in church when a fellow worshipper related his recent experience with a skunk. Yes, we do the necessary praying, singing and worshipping in our little Methodist church but sometimes a good skunk story will take priority over the morning’s announcements. He and his wife had noticed that some sort of four-legged intruder was making messy inroads upon the foundation of their new house so he set a live trap outside their bedroom window, complete with candy bars for bait. It wasn’t long before he went outside to check and found an unhappy skunk . . . again, right under the couple’s bedroom window. He called his wife to inform her and she told him in no uncertain terms that the skunk was to be removed before she returned home.
So my friend who I’ll call Don since that’s his name, devised a plan whereby he’d go to town and buy a small tarp to toss over the skunk since Don had heard that a skunk who can’t see what’s going on is less apt to spread of fragrance of love all over the world . . . or at least Don’s bedroom window. He returned home and with the wind against him carefully approached the striped intruder. Don had dressed himself as a very large minion complete with rubber gloves and goggles. He said that several friends passed by on the Concord-Arenzville road and gave him a friendly wave, assuming that he was practicing for Halloween. We’re a friendly community.
The fates were with him as he was able to successfully cover the cage in tarpaulin and at least to Don’s reckoning the skunk seemed to stay silent. Between you and me I doubt that my friend could have heard a skunk rustle over the sound of a pounding heart. Okay. . .so now the skunk is under the tarp and so far no unwanted fragrances filled the Arenzville country air, at least no more than usual.
I think that perhaps Don hadn’t thought this far having no hopes of actually getting this far in his polecat removal scheme. After all, the skunk was still under his bedroom window and his wife was due home that afternoon. He didn’t have time for the skunk to die of old age. This is when he devised step two of his plan: to slide a piece of plywood under the tarp, skunk and cage, then drag the critter to a spot where he could plot out the animal’s demise.
Don said that he was somehow able to indeed skootch the board under the cage and he attached a rope to the assembly. This is when problem number three raised its odiferous head. The logical thing would be to hook his lawn tractor to the assembly and drag it away but who knows how a skunk might react to the sound of a motor? This left only one alternative and that was to grab the rope and start tugging the skunk toward his heavenly reward some distance from the house where Don could introduce him to his .22. My friend had recently endured a stress test at the hands of Doc Prab and survived so he figured that he was in shape to drag the whole assembly away from the house where one of them would take a short trip to eternity.
He was almost successful. He endured the tug, made the drag, and loaded his gun but in a final act of defiance the skunk blessed him with a final smelly benediction just at the moment of his death. I guess everyone’s entitled to have the final word.
All of which makes my puny possum tale inconsequential compared to Don’s battle with Pepe LePew. The next time I see the possum crawling around my house I should thank him for not being a skunk.