Thursday's Memories

Night Sights, Sounds and Scents

The night has always been a mixture of friendly and frightening for me. Most of my childhood was spent in the country and it was dark as pitch for security lights were not invented yet. Remember this was way back in the dark ages. When it got dark, it was dark and all kinds of good and bad things happen in the dark.

Catching fireflies was a good thing. Summertime brought the lightening bugs, as we called them, forth in great numbers in our yard. We would cut out most of the lights in the house, get our pint, canning jars with holes punched in the lids and go on our bug hunt. We would run and run, catch the lightening bugs, carefully put them in the jar and try to catch more than the other 2. It was a race to the finish or until mama called us in the house.

Mama always made us turn them loose before we came in for we were not allowed to keep wild animals, reptiles, insects, fish or fowl. These were created to be free and free they were at her house. This was a bit hard for us to understand for we wanted to use the lightening bugs as night lights in our rooms and we tried to convince mama we would not kill them but to no avail. Turn them loose or you can't come in the house was the rule and because there was no way I was going to stay outside in the dark, I turned them loose.

Listening to the "night sounds" was also enjoyable. We didn't have TV when we were children and mama would turn off the radio and the quiet would prevail. We would sit on the front steps and quietly talk, play guessing games, listen to mama and daddy tell stories of their childhood and visit as a family. When we would grow tired and the talking slowed and stopped we could hear sounds of the night. There would be owls, doves, and the other birds quietly singing as they roosted and prepared to sleep. Occasionally we would hear the fox hunters running their dogs and listen to the dogs baying at the moon. Chirps, coos, barking and buzzing of the insects would fill the night with sound and it was a symphony of peaceful sounds which lulled us to sleep.

Mama and daddy would pick us up and carefully tote us to bed and forgive our dirty feet for one night. Deep sleep would come easily and off the Land of Nod we would go. All would be quiet except for the hum of the window fan running to keep us cool and pleasant dreams would fill our heads.

THEN, we would be awakened by the dog barking under the house and then the air would be filled with this horrible, sickening scent. We would cover up our heads, hold our nose and scream. "Skunk." Why Smokey or one of our other dogs enjoyed cornering a smelly creature like a skunk and scaring it into spraying that awful smelly spray is beyond me. It would be sucked into the house through the windows and permeate the whole house and we would be about choking to death under the cover.

Not only would the house smell terrible, but the dog smelled even worse. We couldn't pet the poor thing for days and would hold our noses whenever he would come close. This was painful for us and the dog for we always loved our dogs dearly. Washing wouldn't get rid of the smell and mama even tried tomato juice on the dog one time for someone told her it would get rid of the skunk odor. Wrong. It only wasted some of mama's good, homemade tomato juice and made the dog mad. She only tried that one time.

We would wash the dog, put perfume on him, baby powder or anything else we could find that might get rid of the smell. Poor thing would be smelling like baby powder, Night in Paris perfume, soap and aftershave. We couldn't stand the smell and neither could he. It was a "smelly" situation.

It seemed to me that the dog would not repeat that deed after experiencing the terrible consequences but I guess he was a slow learner. We would be sound asleep, dreaming our dreams and would be roused rudely from slumber by loud barking, a thump under the house as he would chase the intruder and then here came the smell. Oh me, here we go again.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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