Skunks & Magpies

My husband just got back from a camping trip. While there, he and his buddy found themselves up-close and personal with a skunk. (Note to Self: Don’t spread out breadcrumbs for the magpies; odorous mammals are one notch up on the food chain.)

So our curious campers kept their cool as they carefully considered the cute, crunching critter. After awhile, my husband had the wherewithal to crawl into his tent to retrieve his pistol. But he wisely predicted an attack on all the senses, and settled on a flashlight. (Still risky, IMHO.) But it worked, and the hungry little intruder wiggled away.

This isn’t our first run-in with one of these stinkers. A few years back, our daughter’s dog got skunked!  I had her keep him outside while I rushed to the Internet. “Okay, Honey, get the hose and soak him down—keep him wet. I have to wake Dad up and send him to the store.”  So, picture this: in the middle of the night, this middle-aged, bleary-eyed dude places on the grocery counter a very sketchy collection of items! Hydrogen peroxide, a bottle with a long, rubber tip, baking soda, feminine hygiene douche, and latex gloves. The checker looks at the stuff, slowly moves her gaze up to Dave, then back down. She looks scared. He scrambles to find the words: “It’s for the dog! A skunk sprayed him!”


But I digress. My favorite part of this week’s story is how David tells it. I had already known he was infatuated with magpies: their rich coloring, chatty banter, and an affinity for collecting anything with Bling. (And I read that they’re one of the few non-mammal species that can recognize themselves in a mirror!)  Anyway, on this occasion David was especially enamored with the skunk. He said it was really cute.  (Hmm. I wasn’t convinced. Okay, so I Googled it. Yeah, he’s got a point.)

I think even cuter was Dave’s excited storytelling of all the assorted black-and-white beggars at their campsite. He’s always had a soft spot for animals and birds.

Had he not married the queen bee (“I don’t HAVE a dog”), I could see David with a couple of pets. He did bring home a dog once; it didn’t work out.

Now that we’re in this empty nest, the thought has crossed my mind. But, “yeah, no.” Dave can enjoy nature (even in our backyard!), then return to a house devoid of paw-prints, hair on the couch, tickley allergens, and other surprises.

Unless he reads this blog post and gets an idea. [NOOOOOO….!]


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