Chicago Sun-Times
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Ramble with Storm: Smell of memory

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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

The scent was unmistakable.

Not quite fresh enough and thick enough to make my eyes water, but skunk spray all the same.

So I had to pay attention.

My morning ramble with Storm is when I let my mind wander and try to tune into what is happening in the world of nature.

Because of my job, that is a good combination. My mind wandering often overlaps with what is happening in the world of nature.

But skunk spray is a quick pull back into the immediate, the reality of right now.

I have no desire to be trying to descent (is that a word?) even a relatively short-haired Lab.

Once I hunted pheasants with a guy with a Brittany that had been sprayed weeks before. Even after that length of time, every time the dog loaded in the truck, the odor was thick enough irritate the eyes.

The slight scent (would odor be more apt) of skunk this morning also brought back good family memories.

My dad grew up on a farm before and during WWII.

Hunting and trapping skunks and opossums was just part of picking up extra money.

Their one technique for catching skunks was one I still find hard to believe.

They would get a line of farm boys and sweep through meadows, hayfields or fallow fields. Each boy would have one of those old-time six-battery flashlights.

They would sweep the field with the lights until a pair of eyes stared back. Then they would freeze the animal with light, walk up and grab it. They all carried burlap bags to store animals.

For opossums that sounds plausible. Where I was never quite sure about Dad's stories was with the skunks.

He said one boy would keep the skunk distracted and blinded with the light. Another would sneak behind the skunk, grab it by the tail and quickly lift if off the ground.

The idea being with its hind legs off the ground and with no traction, the skunk could not spray.

I am not too sure about that.

But, on the first real spring morning, it was a memory good enough to warm my heart.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 31, 2010 8:31 AM.

Midwest Fishing Report: Smelt, Heidecke, trout was the previous entry in this blog.

Doing well: Just gone fishin' is the next entry in this blog.

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