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February 8, 2013

The lingering gifts

NORMAN — You cannot be rid of some things. Even if you pass it on or bury it, it keeps coming back.

Let’s take a skunk as an example. It may look cute and cuddly, but the skunk, like the porcupine, is quite antisocial. As far as it is concerned, don’t even think about getting up close and personal with it. This is a lesson our dog, Spaz, has yet to learn. His insistent barking at night is followed by the occasional wafting of irate skunk perfume outside the back door, which makes it impossible to go outside without hazmat gear.

When we come across dead skunks on the highway, they still have the power to offend our refined noses. This is one of those situations where the scent of a skunk lingers long after it is flat and no longer squishy and juicy. Of course, the process of flattening by countless cars and trucks continues to release that distinctive perfume. Which is why, vehicles will suddenly swear in hopes of avoiding the dead, but still dangerous, critter. A stealth skunk gift, if your windows or air vents happen to be open, is that the scent permeates the interiors of our cars and trucks in an instant. Gas mask, stat.

Did you know that aside from the continuing and odiferous gift of the skunk, other dead critters can be re-gifters as well?

Let’s say you are walking across the pasture wearing sandals or flip flops, which by the way is not a smart thing to wear outdoors in the country. Suddenly, something clamps down on your bare tootsies. And it hurts. Imagining the worst, as in a poisonous snake, you look down and see something whitish.

Did I tell you country living has its charms?

After you liberate the captive toes, you take what turns out to be a small skull to spouse. Since he grew up in the country, he immediately identifies the dead little bugger.

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