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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: A Skunk and a Prayer
By Valora Otis


“Val, I just had the strongest feeling that I should have taken that last exit” Terry said while running his fingers through through his hair.

“Honey, just take the next one, don’t worry everything will be all right." I felt my breathing become audible as I remembered the last time he had a prompting like this.

The next exit was a mile down the road. We were anxious. It didn’t help that the van reeked like the skunk we’d hit the day before in Nebraska. This was one family trip I might want to forget.

Thinking back, I was amazed the hotel manager let us into our rooms that evening. The aroma of six skunked travelers wafting scent as we walked by was enough to make a grown man weep. Relief swept us up, as the manager offered to let us swim in the chlorinated pool giving us a chance to make the smell nearly bearable.

A smile played on my lips as I recalled this morning’s “complementary” breakfast.

A well-dressed woman huffed into the hotel, blue hair spiked high like a peacock past its prime. “Please be careful everyone,” she waddled over to us, squeezing her fluffy poodle in a protective grasp to her ample bosom “My poor Mr. Pugsley has discovered a skunk in the parking lot!”

My kids tried masking their laughter with snorts and squeals, until I stood like a bank robber under arrest, holding my hands in the air. “That would be us ma’am, guilty as charged!”

All four of the boys lost it! Milk sprayed from Hunter’s nostrils. Side holding laughter ensued. My husband let out a snort; I joined in on the fun. To be able to laugh about the ghastly accident was truly therapeutic.

The blue haired lady was frantically trying to control her wild poodle. Her eyes narrowed in the attempt to give us the “hairy eyeball”.

“I’m sorry,” lowering my arms, “I should explain our bad behavior. We hit and killed a skunk last night. We parked as far as possible from the hotel. Aside from the smell, you and your husband Mr. Pugsley are completely safe. ”I gave Ryan a gentle kick under the table as he started to writhe with laughter again.

“Mr. Pugsley is my puppy” she sniffed, annoyed by our ignorance.

I was startled back to the present from my musings as the van decelerated while exiting the highway. As we crossed the overpass a noise from the engine tore some of us from our travel weary daydreams.

“Val! It’s the engine. The oil pressure just bottomed out.” This is all we need!” Terry growled.

The noises of broken pieces of engine clacking under the hood continued. We sat there in shock. The silence was so complete it made my gut-ache.

“Terry, the cell phone is dead, the car is dead and the skunk is dead. What’s next?” I panicked.

We felt taken off guard when Hunter replied, “Mom and Dad, Father knows where we are and he will send help if we ask him to. Say a family prayer,” he pleaded.

“Out of the mouths of babes” my husband whispered softly.

Terry gnawed on his bottom lip holding back emotion, before reaching for the hand that I had been wringing with worry.

Tentatively offering comfort he said, “Val, he’s right, let’s put it into the Lord’s hands.”

In the darkness of that distant cornfield we bowed our heads. We placed our wellbeing in Fathers hands.

Three minutes later the headlights of a lone car appeared getting off at our exit. It was miraculous.

“Mom, look! I knew Heavenly Father would help us!” Hunter beamed.

The boys cheered. My husband kissed me. Tears ran through my smile as I shared cheers of joy with my family.

Father heard our prayers for assistance. His aid will never be forgotten, nor the faith of child to prompt a simple prayer asking our Heavenly Father for help.

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This article has been read 1018 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss03/01/06
This is a great story. I always admire those writers who can inject so much humour in a tight situation. That scene in the hotel was awesome. Father coming to the rescue at the end after Hunter's reminder for prayer just clinched it for me.
Jessica Schmit03/02/06
This story was great. I could tell you took the time to make this story "perfect." Each word contributed tons. You did a great job on this article.
Jan Ackerson 03/03/06
That blue-haired woman is a great character! Cute story.
Jessica Schmit03/03/06
Valora! This was yours? I already left a comment, but I must commend you. This was fabulous (like I said before.) lol
Marilyn Schnepp 03/04/06
A humorous story for sure! AND...Well written also, Thanks for sharing!
Karen Rice03/05/06
I love this! Really good writing!

Brought back a few aromatic memories...we've got tons of skunks out here...
Shari Armstrong 03/05/06
Oh the joys of family trips! :) Well done :)
Amanda D'costa03/08/06
dear Val,

This is great work and good humour. Keep writing. You are a gifted writer.

Amy Michelle Wiley 03/11/06
Great story! I love the "the cell phone is dead, the car is dead and the skunk is dead" line. As requested, I will send you a more detailed critique. :-)
Julianne Jones04/19/06
"Terry, the cell phone is dead, the car is dead and the skunk is dead. What’s next?” LOL. Great humour and well written. I'm so thankful we don't have skunks downunder (no smelly animals really). Good writing. Blessings, Jules.

Val Clark04/19/06
Very funny, a great read. Clever mix of fact and fiction. Out of the mouths of babes....
Ann FitzHenry06/09/06
What a fun read! I enjoyed it very much. My favorite line: blue hair spiked high like a peacock past its prime. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! :-)