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Hartselle Enquirer

Gift that keeps on giving 

By Laura Lee Myer 

My sister and her husband give each other the most romantic gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and really any gift-giving occasion. In the past, I would have been hard-pressed to pick the most romantic, but Christmas 2021 has set an all-new standard for romance.   

This year they gave each other a spray-proof skunk trap.  

It was exactly what they wanted. 

Most people would say I live “out in the country.”  My across-the-street neighbors are a herd of cattle. The woods behind my house are home to deer, coyotes and bobcats, along with the usual field mice, rabbits and a few foxes. We do have the occasional polecat, but they are the exception rather than the rule. 

My house is more than 80 years old. In the pantry next to the dry goods are baited mouse traps.   

It’s been a while since I’ve had to empty one, but I accept the fact that there will be mice. I laughingly tell people I don’t mind the mice because it means I don’t have snakes. 

Jenny and her husband do not live out in the country. They live in the city, in a very nice subdivision with walking trails.   

Truth be told, next to their beautiful screened-in porch, the walking trails were what sold them on the house. Jenny can now get her daily walks in without worrying about falling in the sewer because the grate has been stolen or being menaced by aggressive dogs who have slipped their fence. 

The one thing that was not included in the disclosures portion of the contract on the new house was that in the past, skunks had been known to make their home in the crawl space under the house. 

Fast forward to the 2021 holiday season. They smelled them long before they saw them.  

They talked to exterminators. None of us knew what a lucrative business skunk trapping has become.   

My brother-in-law turned to Google. For one-sixth the price the exterminators wanted to trap and remove one skunk, he was able to purchase a top-of-the-line spray-proof skunk trap. 

The day they installed it, they caught “Ellie.” Yes, my niece named the skunk. The next day they caught “Walter.” My brother-in-law referred to him as “Skunkzilla.” 

Thinking their work was done, they closed up the hole the skunks were using to get under the house.  

Too soon.   

Jenny woke her husband up in the middle of the night to have him unblock the opening because something was making way too much noise trying to scratch through.   

The grandchildren named skunk No. 3 “Skunky.” They were thrilled to get to go along for the ride on the re-homing of Skunky.   

My sister commented to me that while they might not be the most fun grandparents in the world, not many grandparents could provide such scintillating entertainment.  

The skunk count is holding steady at three, but Jenny said it is only a matter of time before the little stinkers find another way under the house, and the fun will start all over again.   

At this rate, the skunk trap might count as a Valentine’s Day gift, too. 

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