Some people just can’t stand to eat off the same plates as a skunk.

Frankly, I don’t see the problem. It’s not like the plate remains unwashed.

"Really, are they are going through the wash next?" asks Sagie who is washing dishes for Mama.

Unless the skunkie fools you into thinking it is washed. They will lick a plate for ten minutes and it will shine when it has not been into a sudsy dishwater bath. But we skunk people know that and we wash everything.

My family though, my dad namely, has issue. And I can see the point. But these are not dogs or cats doing what dogs are cats do. They are tidy, polite little domestic skunkies.

One Thanksgiving we had everyone to the cabin. One of the last years we were all together, we meaning all of us in the family and both my pet skunks, Jeronimo and Sequoia.

After dinner, I made a feast plate for my skunkies. Brought them out to the kitchen to eat their dinner where everyone could enjoy how cute and sweet and cuddley. Skunk people are like new parents, they never get over the pride and bragging.

Sequoia and Jeronimo usually ate off stompable, unbreakable plastic plates. But all skunk holiday feasts are served on white antique stoneware china from England. Remember the lead in antique china is real, so don’t do this often. But we humans had antique china, so did they, the skunkies. Dining with all but the candles that might set ablaze their little tail feathers.

The next holiday my sister admitted how cute they were. But Dad had a problem. She politely, diplomatically asked if I have plates for the people from which the skunks did not eat.

Since those are their special plates and I have modern day white stoneware for everyone else, rest assured, Dad did not eat from a skunk plate.

But really, only skunk people know. These are special creatures. Intelligent. Resourceful with their surroundings…..

Skunks wipe like people. Skunks do not lick their hineys. They might scoot on the nearest rug to wipe…. but they do not lick. So the plan is to place right by the litter pan the washable rug you want them to use for wiping. But no, skunks do not lick. They wipe and everyday they brush themselves and brush their teeth too. They sit on their fat flat haunches and groom their hiney fluff with their little hands. So cute.

"Can I have your bean?" "No."

Skunks do not eat gucky stuff. Unless of course, we are feeding them crickets and grubs. That more real version of skunk dining is not happening in my house, I kiss my skunks. They must be content with steak and chicken, shrimp and salmon. Proteins that I, too, am willing to eat.

Thanksgiving dinner, skunks eat turkey (no ham or pork, please) and stuffing and yams without sugar. They eat corn on the cob, French bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. They should never eat too much sugar at once but they will eat all you give to them.

Want the Thanksgiving dishes from prep-cooking to be pre-washed before they hit the dishwasher or after they are inside said dishwasher? Skunks can handle it. Just don’t put in knives or fork tines facing up.

Turn a flock of skunks loose on a huge bowl where pumpkin pie filling was mixed, fifteen minutes of licking and it is good to go. Yes, you will want to consider sugar, salt and seasoning intake. No raisin cookies or mock mince meat, since the raisins in those cause renal failure in animals. No asparagus which causes grand mal seizures.

But these domestic skunks, they are thorough if nothing else.

Skunkie moral of the story: I’ve got nothing. Except you want a dish washed right, give it to a skunk.

Thirty pet skunks stories, all about the boys.

 

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Turquoise Autumn

November 9, 2009

autumnThe startling turquoise of the sky behind russet and golden leaves made me think of my mother the moment I opened my eyes this morning.

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Mom has been gone for over a decade but the colours of autumn always bring the best of memories.  These colours were of the favorite dress I ever had.  She sewed the dresses like crazy to be done for holiday, one for her, one for me, one for my sister.  The material was crisp, medium plaid with azure and turquoise running with rust, bark, golds, maple, wheat colours.  I think she thought that plaid the loveliest material ever too.

Autumn means to me, Mom at her finest.  She was a vivacious, wild card, yet Martha Stewart-type.  A wild card, period.  Ask the family.  But she was down-to-earth.  The farmer heritage ran through-and-through.

She never stopped harvesting.  Rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, grapes.  The vegetable garden, her gardens.  I think an acre with everything consolidated.thruautumn

The best ever, I think, was Mom stealing walnuts from the farmer.  Well, the tree did stand by the road.  The walnuts did fall in the middle of the road.  They did stay there for days on end after they fell.

But every year we stole them.  She rushed in with the back of the car right by those walnuts.  Hurry Hurry.  Out we would jump, us two girls, sometimes our cousins or a friend.  We would throw the walnuts into a box in the trunk and she sped us away.  Us innocent children fearing arrest.

Did I say she was a wild card?  She was a light.  In those moments, she was a light.

Every year we dumped walnuts from the farmer’s tree on our driveway.  She would drive over and over them, crushing off the shells.  Then she wore gloves as she cracked them with a hammer and brick, and we dug the walnut meats out with darning needles.  Glass jars of walnuts were on our shelf all winter.

You know what that meant.  The first batch was chocolate walnut fudge and buttered popcorn.  The beginning of the holiday spree.   Like I said, a wild Martha Stewart, never-ending of baking and decorating.  Those were Mom’s good days.

Rake and pumpkins laying on wine barrelTurquoise autumn sky.  Dad hauling huge pumpkins to the front yard that she had milk-fed.  Time to deal with the chickens before winter.  Pruning grapes, digging bulbs.  She could wear long sleeves again, she hated short sleeves anyway.  The last chance to get out and see some friends before winter snows kept her in the county.

But mostly, it was all about that dress.

Essa Adams

Essayist, writer, novelist.

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A Breath Floats By: An Illusion for the Soul

Mature women in women's fiction.