Posted by: storywriter45 | August 21, 2014

Front Porch Memories: Grampa and his skunk.

One of my favorite memories as a child were the vacations we took in the summer to visit my grandfather on his farm in  the rural area out side of Cummings, Georgia. My parents would pack us all in the car with luggage and enough snacks to last us through the fifteen hour trip. This was before Interstate 75 was complete and included a treacherous trip through the mountains in Jelico,Tennessee. I was always so excited. I was the only one of us three girls that could stay awake for most of the trip. I didn’t want to miss anything. There were times when the only people awake in the car were Dad and I. Mom would tell me to keep talking to him so he wouldn’t go to sleep. I think about it now, he must have hated it. He is definitely not one for much conservation.
It was like going back in time in those days. We would finally come to the long dirt road that bore our family name, Nichols Rd. Of course, there were no street lights, convenience stores, or even gas stations. We traveled down the bumpy red dirt road, the air heave with humidity and pungent smells of livestock mixed in with the smell of hay and corn crops. We would pull up to his small farm house and he would be sitting on the porch with that same grey felt hat that he wore for years. I probably wouldn’t have recognized him without it.
There were chicken coups over to the right, the occasional bull in the back, a couple hunting dogs running around, and the occasional pig that got loose from the pen. It was exciting for us city children to experience all the sights and sounds of rural life, but, I could have done without the strong smells.
One summer, we arrived early in the evening and found Grandpa sitting in his usual spot on the front porch. So excited, I jumped out of the car and ran up to greet him. He held his hand up as if to stop me. I stared at him in amazement when I realized what he held in his lap.
“You have a pet skunk?” I asked him. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He told me to approach slowly so as not to frighten his little friend.
“That’s close enough,” he said.
The rest of my family stood still by the car, not sharing my enthusiasm in Grandpa’s new pet.
I asked him if he had the scent glands removed from the skunk. “No,” he said.
I just stood there staring, afraid to move at this point. Grandpa had raised him from a baby and the skunk was very close to him.
Mom and Dad insisted he put the skunk away before any of us were sprayed. I couldn’t wait any longer and needed to use the bathroom. My uncle finally convinced Grandpa to put a bathroom inside of the house. This was no easy task as Grandpa couldn’t understand why you would want something like that inside.
I walked through the front door past a hen in the living room, then past a bucked of crawdads, and finally to the bathroom. I smiled, relieved that I wouldn’t be sitting in the out house hoping a one of the hogs or hunting dogs didn’t push their way through the little wooden door.

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