Dirt Roads



By Nikki Pelezo

Photo by Nikki Pelezo

My husband, Charlie, became an animal pacifist way before it was cool.  He decided years ago to leave the creatures of the world alone.  This has proven to be a godsend, but then on the other hand………..

He believes in live trapping the many pests here in the woods of East Texas.  He traps and hauls the pesky critters off yonder to another part of the county.  Usually not nearly far enough.

Let’s take Ollie, our juvenile skunk.  He has been in and out of Charlie’s “Have-a-Heart” trap and was getting quite bold.  His first time in solitaire came when Charlie noticed a strong aroma of skunk. He set a nice big bowl of cat food in the trap, put the trap out in the carport where the odor was the strongest.  Sure enough one bright Spring morning he found Ollie trapped and eager to get out.  The only problem was that he had put the back end of the trap right next to the dryer vent.  The spray from the skunk was so strong that it took the paint off the dryer vent as well as the side of the house.  Even after we replaced the dryer vent, the stench from drying clothes took a solid year to ease up.  Of course, Charlie didn’t take Ollie far enough away, he showed up not two days later rooting around for more cat food.  We figure we trapped Ollie about eight times, he loved that cat food.  The last time he was caught Charlie took him to the part of Upshur County that has all the roads named for animals, a good ten miles away.  If you live on Jackrabbit and have a skunk eating all your cat’s food, his name is Ollie.

Our next adventure was with a raccoon we named the Lone Ranger.  Lone Ranger was huge, and wore his mask at a cocky angle. We have a little Pekinese dog that is scared of his own shadow, so we didn’t want Lone Ranger having the run of the place.  Charlie set the “Have-a-Heart” trap out on the carport a little too close to my brand new indoor-outdoor welcome mat.

Sure enough the next morning we found Lone Ranger in our Have-a-Heart trap with the shreds from my indoor-outdoor welcome mat inside the cage.  He must have caught up a tiny piece of the material and spent eight solid hours pulling in the entire welcome mat thread by thread.  He was taken to that part of Upshur County that the roads are named for birds, let loose with a big wad of my indoor-outdoor welcome mat still attached to his toenail.  If you live on Woodpecker, and see a raccoon with a toenail full of welcome mat, his name is Lone Ranger.


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