A couple of weeks ago, Janet and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. Yeah, I know that’s a long time to put up with someone, but I’ve managed, somehow.
Back when I was un-retired, our anniversary consisted of me being out of town at a trade show, like we did on our 36th anniversary.
It’s the same trade show every year, and I always had to go, so to keep from gettin’ in trouble with Janet, we would usually go out the night before I have to leave. We have a nice dinner somewhere and I give her a little bauble, and she gives me a little something, and that’s it.
On our 36th celebration the trade show didn’t start until the day after our anniversary.
This was the first anniversary in I don’t know how many years that we were actually goin’ to celebrate on the actual day we were married.
Now, bein’ me, I had not gotten Janet a present yet, but I knew I had all day, so I started off doin’ stuff that I needed to get done to get ready for the trade show.
Well, I have to haul a trailer full of displays and junk when I go, so I figured I’d get my oil changed on my truck Ol’ Copperhead. Ol’ Copperhead has 319,000 miles on it, and that’s because I change the oil regularly.
Well, I was headin’ up to Medder’s to get Rick’s men to take care of it for me, when I noticed I had a missed call on my phone. I listened to the message, and it was from our Pastor Robbie Caldwell.
Do you remember back when you were in school how it felt when you got a message that the principal wanted to see you? Well, that’s how I feel when I get a call from the preacher.
I start thinkin’ what I might have done that got back to him, and how I was gonna explain why I did whatever it was I did. No, he never gets on to me for stuff I’ve done wrong, because if he did, he’d have to ignore everything else he has to do just to look after me. It’s just that I get that feelin’.
Anywho, I listened to the message, which said, “Brother Rusty, we need your help with a skunk problem.”
Now, for some reason people think I’m an expert when it comes to skunks because of everything I’ve written about my past problems with skunks. Well, I called Brother Robbie, and he told me that Brother Gary Mason, our music director said that a couple of young skunks were hangin’ around the side entrance of one of the church buildings, and they thought of me, and was wonderin’ if I would come and take care of them.
Now, I was not privy to what their conversation was about these skunks prior to callin’ me, but I’m pretty sure it went somethin’ like this.
“Brother Robbie,” said Gary.
“Yes?” answered Brother Robbie.
“When I walked in the side door of the old church building, I noticed a couple of young skunks beside the door under the shrubs.”
“Oh my!” said Brother Robbie. “We will need to do something about them.”
“I agree,” said Brother Gary. “But what shall we do?”
“We need to get someone to come and take care of the problem.”
“I agree,” said Brother Gary, again.
“Let’s see,” said Brother Robbie. “Who do we know dumb enough to tackle skunks?” Then they both look up in thought. Suddenly, they look at each other and simultaneously said, “Rusty!”
Like I said, I really don’t know if that conversation actually took place, but I’ll bet it was something like that.
Anywho, after gettin’ my oil changed, I drove over to the church and Brother Gary showed me the skunks. They were a couple of little bitty skunks whose momma probably left them there and got ran over or somethin’. Bein’ as dumb as they know I am; I said that I’d take care of them.
I drove home and changed into some old clothes, got my old jeep Jeb out of the barn, gathered up a extendable pole of which I have a minnow net zip-tied to the end of, and grabbed a plastic trash bag.
My intention was to extend the pole, slide the dip net under the little ones, pick it up gently and deposit them into the trash bag, tie the end of the back, and haul them off.
But nothin’ I ever do goes according to plan.
When I got back to the church, I was hopin’ the skunks had left. They had not. I positioned the trash bag so that I could drop the little skunks in to it and extended the pole as far as I could, so as to be as far away from them as possible.
If they had been full grown skunks, I would have put a live trap down baited with canned cat food, and left it for a while. I should have tried that here too, but I didn’t.
Anywho, I slowly slipped the dip net under one of the skunks and tried to lift it. I didn’t get it but a few inches off the ground before it crawled out. I tried the other one. Same result. Finally, after several more attempts, I turned the dip net over and set it on top of one of them and dragged him over toward the other, lifted one side of the net and dragged it on top of it, too. Now I had both little skunks trapped under the net.
Slowly I dragged them out from under the shrubs and positioned them beside the trash bag. Hand over hand on the pole I moved closer to the skunks, until I was about three feet away. My plan was to quickly turn the net over and scoop them up and deposit them in the bag in one motion. Believe it or not, it worked.
Unfortunately, while I had them in mid-air, one, or both sprayed. Undeterred, I managed, though gaggin’, to get them into the bag, and quickly tied a knot into the top.
Fortunately, the spray was minimal, so I really didn’t think I got hit too badly. I threw the trash bag in the jeep and took them away.
When I got back home, I took off all of my clothes in the back yard, went into the house, and took a good shower. By the time I was through, I could no longer smell skunk.
I thought I had dodged the bullet. I then dressed and climbed into my truck and headed for town to find an anniversary present for Janet.
Like most women, Janet likes jewelry, and so I went to one of the department stores that had a jewelry counter. I walk through the store until I reached the counter and started lookin’ at necklaces.
Janet’s birthstone is emerald, so I found a section specializing in emeralds. I saw three little necklaces that I thought she might like and I tried to decide which she would like best. About that time a man behind the counter walked up.
“May I be of any help?” he asked.
“Yes sir,” I replied. “Can I look at those three necklaces right there?”
“Surely,” he said, and he unlocked the showcase, removed them, and placed them in front of me. I was studying them when I noticed the man was movin’ his head side to side as if he was lookin’ for somethin’. I looked up at him. His nose was all wrinkled up and he looked at me.
“Do you smell a skunk?” he asked.
“Uh,” I uhhhed. “I did when I walked in,” I said.
“Man,” he said and rubbed his nose. “It must have drifted back here.”
“I’ll take that one,” I pointed and moved back a few feet.
“Whewww,” he said. “Will that be cash or charge?”
“Uh, better charge it,” I said, figurin’ the cash I had probably smelled like skunk, too. I stepped up and handed him my card.
“Whewww,” he said. “That smells gettin’ stronger, don’t you think?”
“Yeah,” I said, “now that you mention it.”
“Man,” he said as he processed my card. “That’s about to make me sick.”
“Ugh,” he ughhed. “Would you like that gift wrapped?”
“Naw, just throw it in a sack. I need to be gettin’.”
“Very well,” he said. “I’m really sorry about the smell.”
“Oh well, don’t worry about it. How about dem Cowboys?” I said, tryin’ to change the subject.
“Sir?” he said and looked at me funny. “Here you go,” and he handed me the sack and my card back. When I reached for it, he gagged.
“I’m sorry about that,” he said.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I feel the same way,” and I grabbed the sack and made my way back to the front of the store.
As I passed the people on my way out, I could see them gettin’ surprised looks on their faces, and wrinklin’ up their noses, and then they’d look at me.
“Do you smell a skunk?” asked one lady I passed on the way out.
“Yes Ma’am,” I said, and then added, “How about dem Cowboys?” But I didn’t slow down waitin’ for an answer.
Finally, I was outside. I jumped into my truck and headed home. I jumped back into the shower, but this time with my anti-skunk concoction that I use on dogs that have been sprayed, which consists of hydrogen peroxide, bakin’ soda, and dishwashin’ detergent.
I doused myself in the stuff, rinsed, and repeated the process three more times.
That night, when Janet got home, she changed clothes, and we headed off for dinner.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
“How about steak?”
“Sounds wonderful,” she said, and then her nose wrinkled up. She sniffed a couple of times.
“Do you smell a skunk?” she asked.
“Did earlier,” I said. “How about dem Cowboys?”