My grampa has a few favorite stories he likes to tell about each of us. Stories he tells with a big smile that spreads his wisdom lines across his entire face. As he has grown older, the stories we hear each time we see him have become more elaborate. And my gramma always sits to the side, shaking her head with a smile, whispering to whoever sits next to her, that the story is, in fact, a tall tale. The whole process of his story-telling and my gramma’s reaction makes everyone giggle along with them.
For instance, when I was small, I liked to take pictures with his camera when we’d go fishing together. But for some reason, my finger always got in the way. He’d develop the photos for me and write “Isa special” on the back. Now, some 20 years later, he still says “she’s an expert in taking pictures of her thumbnail.”
But his favorite story, as of late, is about my skunk charming abilities, which he told for the hundredth time at breakfast this morning. According to him, when I was 11 years old, I went to the goose pen one night to collect the eggs and there was a skunk sitting on top of the nest. So I picked up the skunk with my bare hands, grabbed the eggs from underneath and set the skunk back down without getting sprayed. I wasn’t even scared. And I’ve been a friend to the skunks ever since.
This is not exactly how I remember the events of my encounter with that particular skunk. My grampa wasn’t there when it happened either. As I remember it, I went with my mom to feed and collect the duck eggs. I saw the skunk. Screamed high bloody hell. Dropped the flashlight I was carrying, and the water bucket. And we both ran back to the house as fast as our short stubby legs could take us. I didn’t get sprayed, but a teeny bit got on my feet. And sadly, I was wearing my favorite pair of acid-washed jeans that my gramma bought for me, and black gener-ass keds from payless that I had decorated with puffy paint, which we had to bury in the ground for over a month. For an adolescent girl who had to wear an ugly red and blue plaid skirt everyday and who only owned one pair of jeans, this was devastating.
I’m not sure whether my grampa actually believes that his version of the story is true. My grandparents are amazing storytellers and even if I remember the story differently, I’m convinced their stories hold truths. I wouldn’t call myself a “friend” of the skunks, but they do come up to me like cats, which is strange and interesting. However, I have never touched one and do not ever plan to do so.
this cute little skunk button can be purchased here.