With this drought we are going through on the gulf coast right now, I got to thinking’ about the last time it really rained. I’m talkin’ about a cow peein’ on a flat rock, frog stranglin’, turd floater type of rain! This brought to mind one that happened about two years ago, I’m not saying we haven’t had any rain in two years….this is just the one that came to mind.
It had been raining really hard all day and of course we got home after dark. So I ended up going down to put horses up and feed in the dark. It must genetic, this working after dark thing, because it seems all of the Johnson’s do it! Anyway, I was down at the barn in irrigation boots (which I needed, because the water was running about six inches deep!), slopping around putting horses up and trying to get everything fed. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, fussing (whining) about the rain, telling my horses how stupid I thought they were (I guess for being owned be me….) and being an all-around whine bag! I finally got everybody put up and grained.
I then moved to the hay shed, which had an eight inch raised floor, so the hay was high and dry. Now all the time I had been down there, I kept catching a whiff of ol’ Peppy Lepew, so I knew one was out there somewhere. I just figured he was in the woods, up a tree or something. As I entered the hay shed, the smell got stronger! I thought, surely I have been making enough of a commotion that Peppy would not stay in here! But it wasn’t so strong that I thought he was close. I know when skunks are close, I have had to kill a couple…so I know what they smell like up close!
As I cut the string on the hay bale, out of the corner of my eye, I see some movement in the dark. I also see a little bit of white. Time seemed to slow down and I started having one of those conversations in my head.
“Is that what I think it is?”
“Surely not, they generally don’t let people get this close…it has to be the cat”
“It does seem to have a white stripe up its back…”
As I tore out of the shed (did I mention the door is about 5’6” and I’m 6’2”?) my head came into contact with the top of the door frame. In the space of about three feet I must have been doing 60 mph! It is amazing how much speed you can gather in a small area with the proper incentive! Needless to say momentum carried me out the door and fear carried me, not just away from the hay shed, but about hundred yards away from the barn area. I really don’t remember anything about that run. One moment I am turning around to run and the next I am standing a hundred yards away! Those NFL players didn’t have anything on me that night; it had to be some kind of world record for the hundred yard dash! I’m guessing I covered it in one or two seconds.
Once my senses kinda came back to me, I decided the horses didn’t need hay that night. If Peppy LePew wanted to spend the night high and dry, the anthropologist in me decided it was my duty to make sure that he was taken care of. Of course I also realized that in my haste to leave the area, I had left the door open. Now, growing up I’d had enough whippings for leaving doors and gate open that my instincts said I had to close the door. I was pretty sure he had not sprayed me, but I also knew that the oils in the spray were probably still in the air.
So I eased up to the hay shed, by ease I mean I went around to the upwind side before I approached the door. All this time, I was talking to Peppy, “calm down, easy now. I don’t want to disturb you, just want to let you know that I am coming back to close the door, tucking you in nice and dry. Just stay in there in the dark, snuggle down in that hay and stay warm and dry. Check out is at 9am, leave your key in the room”.
I stretched my arm out as long as I could (did I mention I am 6’2”? I have pretty long arms) and flicked the door closed. As it turns out, my arms were not long enough. As the door closed (and of course, instinct said I had to latch it) I could feel the oils hitting my arm. Now the smell in the air is the smell of a skunk who is reeeaallyy close! The further I got away from the barn I remember thinking “that wasn’t so bad, I can smell it...but it’s not that strong”.
I knew I could not just barge into the house. At the very least it was on my clothes, my hope was that the rain coat I had on protected me from most of it. I knocked on the front door. Alicia opened and quickly closed it again, turning the lock! What did she think that it was some kind of monster? I beat on the door again and she asked through the glass, “What do you want?”
Well, duh! You have to ask? The next thing I know, she left. I thought "has that little devil locked me out of the house?" Next to the door was Felicia, she said “your not coming in!” What do you mean, I’m not coming in? …I live here! She opened the door a crack and said “take off your clothes”. If I was not already a little miffed, I might have been excited about that statement, but then she added the rest…”you stink”.
So here I am, 9:30 at night, standing on my front porch giving the neighbors a peep show while I undress. I piled the clothes up and she handed me a towel. Thanks, babe…just a little late…I’m already naked on the front porch! As I start to come in she says “pick up your clothes and put them in the washing machine”. Wash em? Heck I was just going to throw them away! I’m not putting them in the washing machine!
So as I was putting them in the washing machine, I was looking at what I could wash with in the utility room. It turns out the smell was only on the one arm…but wow, what a smell! So I took the laundry detergent to wash with. Once I got in the shower, none of the “soaps” I had were working! So Felicia started bringing me Clorox and stuff from under the kitchen sink. I washed with things that I don’t think you are supposed to get in contact with your skin, trying to get the smell off. At one point I even think I had some Pledge in there, anything that we thought might have a chance or working! As all of this was going on all I could think of was my Aunt Dianne getting sprayed and how she said nothing but time would get it off (that’s a story for another time). Surely something would work; I was even considering getting some battery acid! But eventually the smell toned down. I think my saving grace was it wasn’t a full on spray and just getting the over spray from closing the door (stupid, leave the door open), it was mostly on my clothes. I say it toned down, we could still smell it a little…but you had to be close to my arm.
I could smell it a little for the next couple of days. It made sleeping hard, every time my arm got up around my head it would send me into a gagging spasm! Of course, my trooper of a wife, hung in there the whole time. She said, “It’s not so bad that we can’t sleep in the same bed, but you stay on your side of the bed, waaay over there!”