Never shoot a skunk in a barrel

One blustery and cold November day, I headed to the barn to milk the cow. I had to stop first at the corn crib to get the sweet feed. Sweet feed was used to get the cow occupied with eating so she would hold steady while being milked.

Just as I opened the corn crib door, I heard something in the sweet feed barrel. Ever so carefully, I peered over the top of the barrel and saw a striped kitty or pole cat — some call it a skunk — in the bottom of the barrel helping himself to sweet feed. Well, the furry intruder didn’t know who he was messing with.

I promptly headed to the house and came running back with my old .22 rifle. In those days, you shot varmints with no questions asked. Well, I did just that, and he did it right back.

Actually, he may have shot first, because I was covered with his skunk perfume. I didn’t realize to what extent until I went back into the house.

Mamma was in the kitchen preparing supper, and there was no need to announce my presence. She promptly ordered me to get back outside and strip to my undies. As I recall, she brought me a jar of canned tomatoes and instructed me to clean my entire skinny little body with tomato juice.

It was quite cold there on the back porch mostly naked covered with tomato juice. A valuable lesson in life was learned that evening — never shoot a skunk in a barrel.

Paul O’Shield is a local native who enjoys writing about his time as a youngster growing up in Pickens County.