I saw the stories about skunks and it made me laugh, remembering something that happened to Kathy and me when Brian was a baby.
The summer that Brian was 2-1/2, Kathy and I decided to do the circle drive around Lake Michigan through Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Like many couples with a young family we did not have a lot of money, and we also enjoyed the outdoors, so we camped out the entire trip. Kathy’s father had passed away the previous year and had left us an old GMC Pickup truck with a “topper” over the bed. We were thrilled to have it, and for this trip, I built a loft above the bed rails and put a crib mattress on it for Brian to sleep on. Kathy and I slept on a mattress in the truck bed, and it was really a very comfortable trip.
One night during the trip we stayed at a campground between Escanaba and Menomonee Michigan, right on the Lake. We cooked a meal, ate dinner and took Brian to the playground. At dusk, which comes at 9:00 PM that far north, we put him down on the loft in the back of the truck for the night. Nowadays, with all the news about child abductions we would not do so, but that night we locked the truck and walked to the shower house about a hundred yards away to get ourselves ready for bed.
On the way back to our campsite, we saw something moving right behind our truck. I had forgotten to dispose of our trash bag from dinner and an animal of some kind was foraging in it for dinner. When we got about 75 feet away, we saw to our horror that the animal was a skunk. We had been told by the ranger that they were prolific in the park, were used to people, and to make sure we did not leave trash out, as it would draw them to our site. What to do now? What we did was sit down on a bench and wait to see if it would just finish its dinner and leave. However, 10 minutes or more passed and the skunk was still enjoying his free meal. Our next realization was that we did not have a flashlight and that it was getting dark very fast - we would not be able to tell much longer whether the skunk would be there or not when we made our way “home”. Looking around, I had an inspiration. I saw a rock on the ground and thought I might be able to throw it towards the skunk and it would hear the sound and leave. My lovely wife told me not to throw it at the skunk as it would be startled and spray when I hit it. I remember telling her in a patronizing tone that “even if I wanted to, I could not hit that animal with the rock”. So, I threw the rock………………
Well, maybe it was true that if I wanted to I could not hit that animal with the rock - but apparently the reverse is not true. The rock hit the skunk square in the middle of his back and he took off at a dead run through the campground, shortcutting through all of our neighbors campsites. Fortunately for us, he did not start spraying until he had run a quite distance from our site. Unfortunately for the neighboring campsites, he sprayed quite prolifically for them, with resulting howls of indignation from the occupants.
Needless to say I played as dumb as I actually had been that night, when the other men in the shower house asked me if we had smelled the skunk spraying all the campsites in our vicinity the night before…………..