As happens in most people’s lives, there comes a moment when someone says something is a fact that is simply hearsay. Johnny may have heard it from Sue who heard it from Tim who read it in a magazine that displays alien heads as their main topic of interest. Where ever it came from, the “truth” that is, it will inevitably wind up costing you a lot of money, an arm, a bad headache, or a night sleeping outside under the stars.
One such instance of folklore came my way several years ago, shortly after I became Mr. Blinda Haden, or she became Mrs. Charles Lee. It was all a blur and things were kind of confusing at the time. Anyway, my recently acquired brother-in-law had taken up trapping as a hobby. He was pretty adept at this sport and therefore was doing pretty well at it when one day he had to go out of town for some sort of business. I was left with the duty of checking his trap line while he was out of town. It was these set of circumstances that caused me to be extra careful in years to come about taking advice from someone who heard something from someone else and therefore it must be truth. It’s kind of confusing.
The day in question was a blusteringly windy day in the month of December. I had taken my wife’s younger brother with me with his newly acquired .22 caliber rifle. He was anxious to use the gun and I too had gotten caught up in the excitement. One of the traps was in an open field, so it was easy to see that it had gotten a skunk in its grasp from a distance.
“I heard if you shoot a skunk in the head it won’t spray.” These were words spoken by my accomplice that I would later regret believing. With an incredible shot that would have put him in contention for sainthood on the miracle basis alone, he dispatched the hapless animal with one shot, right in the head.
After a moment of disbelief, we went to take on the undesirable job of removing the skunk from the trap. Upon arriving at the scene, I assessed that the trap had caught the skunk by the two hind legs. Expecting my nose hairs to be assaulted by the foul odor that usually accompanies a skunk; I was pleasantly surprised to find there was no odor at all. I would later deduce that the combination of the back legs being pinned together along with the gale force winds had been the reason for the lack of smell. This would be remedied when my defense system relaxed.
“I told you he wouldn’t stink if you shot him in the head!” Somewhat disconcerted that my young brother-in-law had actually been right, I bent down to release the skunk from the trap’s grasp. As the hind legs shifted, the wind lulled and a greenish, oily film arose and attacked my defenseless olfactory system. This has later been called the skunk’s revenge.
While wiping fluids that were coming out of every pore of my face, my brother-in-law attempted to console me by rolling on the ground squealing with laughter. I made him pay for this little show of merriment by driving home with the windows rolled up.
Through this mishap, I was taught a valuable lesson concerning the truth. Our concept of truth is many times based solely upon what someone has said. Sadly, this has filtered into the church. Grandpa said it so it must be true. As much as I love Grandpa, he is capable of being wrong. Ultimately, we have to base the truth on what God has said. Otherwise we may find ourselves covered in the stink of tradition and myths.
Well, Charles, as I read this I could actually smell the stinky animal. So, well done!
One suggestion though: the article would have been more effective if you'd put us right in the scene of hunting with your brother-in-law then gone on with the spiritual application. This seems to be what editors prefer.