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Tuesday, 08 April 2014

The Great White Hunter

By Old Bill Weatherstone who blogs at The Diesel Gypsy

Lately my cousin and I have been discussing about how far back our memories can retrieve. In my case it was/is at three years old. These discussions (over drinks of course), triggered another memory, but at the age of seven, 1942.

As usual in my case, it was again another Great Lakes shipping season where I was boarded out to a different family in a different location - a small farm just outside the town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada.

The old house had an outhouse inside with the same function as if it were still outdoors. There was a small barn housing some pigs and a cow. There was also a dog (breed unknown). He and I became inseparable.

One day it was time to replenish the meat supply. A neighbour from the next farm came over and with Alex, my guardian, went into the barn. I was curious so I followed them.

They had a large pig separated in a smaller pen. The neighbour proceeded to chase the pig and jumped on his back and wielding a large bayonet, quickly dispatched the animal.

Between the squealing and action I was sort of paralyzed and could not take my eyes off the event. I can still visualize the incident as clearly today. I learned quickly that you have to do unpleasant things to survive this life.

A few days later, I decided that it was time to learn how to hunt and live off the land. I picked up my trusty Red Ryder 1,000 shot BB gun, called Jake (the dog) and headed out into the pasture. Being very careful not to step on a land mine (cow pie), I carried on to a very heavily wooded ravine where I envisioned all the huge animals lived. You know; the bears, moose as well as unknown monsters.

Jake was on the move and I tried to keep up. He was barking up a storm having cornered a large skunk whose tail stood straight up and was ready for combat.

He was about 25 to 30 feet away, part way down the ravine.

I pulled my trusty rifle into action, took aim and missed. I could see the copper BB in flight and then compensated for range. Three fast shots hit the animal and I guessed he was sort of pissed off because he shot back, first hitting Jake as he was only about two feet away.

Jake retreated, whelping like crazy and digging his nose into the ground trying to get relief from the skunk’s barrage.

I took one more shot trying to finish him off and save my dog when the skunk charged at me and got me with a full blast of his secret gas weapon.

Both Jake and I retreated in great haste and never looked back. Once across the open field, I climbed over the back yard fence.

Violet (my guardian also) was at the time hanging the wash on the line in the back yard. She suddenly stopped and got a good whiff of what was returning from the hunt.

Letting out an ear piercing scream, she yelled, “Stop right there, you little buggar.” That included Jake as well who by this time was cowering at her voice, which he knew better than me.

Boy did the crap hit the fan then. Back at the fence was a giant round (like a wooded barrel) water tank about 40 inches deep and ten feet wide, filled by a windmill pump.

She told me to take off all my cloths and get in. I immediately responded in high gear. I brought the dog in with me while he swam around and then wanted out.

Violet then called Alex to get over to the general store and get as much tomato juice as he could. He responded quickly to the voice of authority and was back in a flash.

The dog was first to receive the antidote, a thorough scrubbing in and out of the tank, a rinse and then locked into the barn. I guess that was the dog jail.

Expecting the same treatment, I was next. While Alex set fire to all my cloths and burned them in the field, Violet doused me with tomato juice and scrubbed me down and threw me back into the water tank for a rinse.

When the attack was over, I was expecting to be locked in the barn with Jake but was escorted back to the house. It was a quiet next couple days until the trauma cooled off.

Jake and I were set free from our prisons and allowed to venture out to explore the universe again, but without our trusted (confiscated) Red Ryder BB gun.

Another lesson learned by little Billy Weatherstone.

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I love the story from the first sentence on--about how far back you can remember. Sometimes with those really early memories, it's hard to be sure whether you really remember something or whether you remember hearing the story many, many times from your parents.

All the detail in your unforgettable story suggests that you remember it now and always will. As a grown-up, I once had my dog get sprayed by a skunk, I and used the time-honored tomato juice treatment. Some things never change.

Great memory. We had skunks living under one of the empty beach cabins. We children all had been warned to stay away, but being curious we didn't. Yes we got the same treatment only we were bathed in the cold beach salt water and scrubbed with cans of tomato juice.

Ah, I remember it well, sitting in a washtub with the tomato juce treatment, outside, my best girlfriend and me...such

Laughing a lot! Thanks for sharing the memory.

My great-grandfather, when my grandmother was an infant, once found some baby skunks and put them on her highchair tray to amuse her. He thought they were too young to spray, but found out differently when her baby hands went thwack on them and you know the rest of the story.

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