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Wednesday, 01 April 2015

My Skunk Skin

By Clifford Rothband

Sometimes in life we meet, remember or approach a situation that seems to dwell. Is it a revelation? Did I see the light?, Did I meet our creator?

I was reminded of a bit of wisdom offered me. Question everything, but never look directly into the light! It will blind you.

There is so much that our America can offer. I've sat in discussions with folk who have complained that they have missed out in life. They never achieved their goals, dreams, carriers, jobs, spouses, kids, tangible or intangible items seemed to have alluded their souls.

Now I learned long ago that keeping a positive attitude and laughing at the most mundane occurrences has helped me maintain my mental clarity. Not that anyone has really had a better life than I, or worse. Even those who have lost so much.

Have you noticed that we all seem to have a similar sized head on our shoulders although some of us have different abilities, capacities and above all experiences.

A old friend, a comedienne, salesman extraordinary and advisor or mentor freely offered this advice: "Everybody carries a satchel. Forget what is in it, don't allow it to weigh you down. It's all attitude whether it be feather weight or heavy. It's all in our perception.

When I was a kid in Brooklyn or was it in Miami or maybe New Haven because I did live there for awhile. These school kids made fun of me. The black kids would taunt me that they never met a white man named "Clifford.”

Back in the 1950s, it took me some time to answer these kids back."Hey, I ain't no white man, my father was a member of a tribe. He had relatives in Texas and was brought up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and we had relatives in Brownsville Texas. We were Apache mix or Malonquin or plains Indians or just members of the Tribes of Israel."

On my 33rd birthday, it started out as a joke for a gift, my super Karing Kousin Karen [oKKK], an Irish Jew. She bought me an American Indian artifact, a wolf skin robe.

From then on, folks started buying me a stuffed fox, deer mounts, trophy heads, a wild boar head, stuffed fish mounts, a Texas deer goat mix head with a beard and horns four feet wide and a jackalope.

When I decided to sell this chateau in the woods, people showed up to look and a few were aghast! A house full of dead animals. I only had 29 and I did not kill any. I am not a hunter nor am I a vegetarian, I still eat meat. Either I eat vegetarian beasts or meat in moderation. One never knows what nutrients we may benefit out of having a varied diet.

So 33 years later we are on the road outside of Beaumont, Texas. I enjoy visiting those roadside junk stands or antique establishments.

The wife and I stop at this ramshackle village of a bunch of self-employed collectors. This was just after a hurricane had hit the area and there was so much collectable junk for sale including mounted animal heads.

Here I am starring at a KKK white, pointed bonnet and brass badges mounted on a wooden shield, like a hunting prize. This fragile, old, dark-chocolate skinned, sweet lady comes up next to me. Lilly? Or Tilly?

She explains that she opened up here after the last hurricane hit New Orleans. "Ain't that a hoot?” she says. “It was a family heirloom, proof that we won. You seem so curious, are you Jewish?"

Well, yes.

“Well, forget the price tag,” she said. “It's a gift. Take it.”

"Shoot” says I. “Just throw it out or give it to a museum. I already have a skunk skin hanging in my cave.”

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


Wonderful stuff, Clifford. Last line is a killer.
I particularly liked what you said about carrying a satchel. And I often say, 'Don't walk around with baggage someone else packed.'

Great story Clifford! I agree there's not a lot of difference between the hood of the KKK and a skunk skin, except the skunk is cute, as long as you keep your distance.

Just love it! Happy Pesach!

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