Monday, April 2, 2012

Family Pets Hillbilly Style

 Here he is again, folks. The love of my life. So many of you enjoyed The Hillbilly's last post and asked for more, that he was happy to oblige us all with another story from his Ozark youth. Today he's telling us all about the family pet.

On my last post, I mentioned the animals I was surrounded with and realized that I had forgotten one.  We had a pet skunk! Think about it.  I don’t know of any other family, (hillbilly or otherwise), that had a skunk.  But now, you know of a family that had one.  Congratulations!

Now, I don’t remember too awfully much about this skunk.  I know that it had been descented or deskunked as I call it.  My great-uncle had captured it as a baby, and apparently knew how to deskunk it.  I have no idea why you would know how to do such things, but hey, it is the Ozarks!  And,  apparently we became the proud recipients of his talents.

Nice Kitty?

 I am guessing that to deskunk or to own a skunk would be against all kinds of laws today, so you probably won‘t be hearing of such things again.  I don’t know what the laws were back in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s but if it was illegal, all the guilty culprits are long gone.  I guess they could  award them with a ticket posthumously. 

At any rate, if I recall correctly, the skunk's name was Stinky.  Okay, not a very creative name.  But for my dad, names were kept simple.  Dad was very bright, in fact very quick with a comeback, but he many times started out trying to speak without thinking.  So, if he wanted to speak to my mom, he might begin with one of my sisters' names, then the next, and after about the third or fourth name, he would get to the right one.  So names were kept simple.

And actually, I think that they even claim dogs and some other pets are even more responsive to one syllable names.  It has something to do with how small their brains are and how they do or do not work.  Come to think of it, I have seen a lot of hillbillies and others that should have had one syllable names.

At any rate, all of our pet names were kept simple. In fact, after we children left home, dogs' names were either Beau or Tippy.  Didn’t matter if they were male or female.  Absolutely no discrimination there.  I guess that you could say that the feminist movement began early in the Meents household.

I mentioned that I don’t remember too much about our pet skunk.  In fact, due to the various head injuries mentioned back in my first posting, I don’t remember too awfully much about anything when I was two!  And it was the occasion of my second birthday party that was the beginning of poor Stinky’s downfall.

You see,  to take care of problems, skunks are accustomed to putting their back parts up in the air, raising their tail and letting go with that skunk perfume to which we are all accustomed and know so well.  In Stinky’s case, he would do all this with no result.  So, as you can imagine, people just thought it was cute and funny.

 I am guessing that in Stinky’s mind, he was thinking, "I don’t know why I do this, but it just seems right!"  In fact, it is kind of like with cattle!  A bull calf is neutered and made into a steer while very small, but even without the proper equipment they still try to breed.  I am guessing that just like Stinky, they are also thinking, "I don’t know why I do this; it just seems right!"

However, the one difference between the two is that Stinky could adapt somewhat for his problem; steers cannot.  Stinky adapted!  At my birthday party, he began trying to get everyone's cake and ice cream.  When people tried to stop him, he used teeth and claws!  People had minor injuries and poor
Stinky faced the consequences for his actions and  became an outcast.

Now I don’t know how well Stinky made it after that. Perhaps, just looking like a  skunk and hiking your tail would keep you safe.  It would be enough to stop me,  but I suspect that poor Stinky didn’t survive very long in the wild and cruel world.

At any rate, I think that in all this,  there is a moral here.  Guys, don’t be a skunk, or you might face the consequences and be made an outcast!  And, from one hillbilly to ----- whatever you are ----- definitely avoid becoming a steer!

From the Hillbilly’s corner!