Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eau de Skunk

Yeah. Don't let him fool you.
He only looks like a college student. Studying.
Dad was a veterinarian student in Guelph, Ontario.
That fact, alone shouldn't strike terror into anyone's heart . . .
Christmas 1946 was a special time.
The veterinarian students (hereinafter known as the Vets) had pooled their resources and bought some decorations and a small tree.
These, they had used to decorate their balcony.
It looked quite festive and they were rather pleased with themselves.
Something that happened often.
But I digress . . .
Other students also noticed their efforts.
Students who were either too broke or too lazy to decorate their own area.
Not a good situation.
The Vets came back from class a couple of days before Christmas to discover that their tree was . . . missing.
Investigation was indicated.
After a short, very short search, they discovered that the thief or thieves had left a trail of decorations down the hall.
Obviously the work of amateurs.
The Vets followed the telltale trail into their neighbour's corridor and, further, into one of the dorm rooms there. (Oh, if only NCIS could have it this easy!)
They knocked.
Politely.
Actually, they probably hammered violently, but my way sounds better.
Several young men answered the door, then vehemently (good word) protested their innocence.
And as strongly denied that they had access to the closet to which the trail subsequently led.
Undaunted, the Vets demanded that they open the door or it would be pulled from its hinges.
Gently. 
At that point a key was quickly produced, the door opened, and the disclosed tree retrieved.
The Vets wasted no time in restoring it to its rightful place of honour on their balcony.
All was well.
Or almost well.
Remember. These were young men.
In college.
Payback was indicated.
Two of these young men had recently uncovered a den of skunks.
As part of their training, and because they were bored, they de-scented those skunks.
But saved the glands.
Weird.
One of them suddenly came up with a brilliant plan.
They would chop up the glands, add a little water, then carefully fill a syringe with the resulting goo.
No sooner imagined than accomplished.
Now, I should point out here that, in the late 40s, each door in the dorms at Guelph, and indeed, everywhere, opened with a large, old-fashioned key.
The keyhole was big enough to peek through.
And certainly large enough to accommodate a syringe needle.
While everyone else was at class, the two vet students took their syringe and squirted a little of their prized 'essence' through the keyhole of every door in that corridor.
The smell was immediate . . . and indescribable.
Hmm. Maybe they had been a little precipitate? (another good word!)
But the damage was done.
For the last day before vacation, everyone who had anything to do with that building, did it in as brief a time as possible.
Sleeping was out of the question.
Most of the young men simply left town as soon as their last class was over.
Perhaps distance would lessen the smell.
Dad didn't give the prank much thought during his Christmas vacation back in Alberta.
Some things are best forgotten.
And, astonishingly enough, by the time they got back to the campus, the smell was all but gone.
Good thing carpets hadn't been invented yet.
But everyone learned something from the experience.
            1. Leave skunks alone.
            2. Never, ever play tricks on veterinarian students.
Guelph - 24 years later - the smell is almost gone . . .
          

20 comments:

  1. Oh! I Remember Daddy sharing this story! The way you describe it makes me almost smell it!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh dear. Is that what is meant by clean, wholesome fun? LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never met your dad but I REALLY like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Most of the time, I really like him too!

      Delete
  4. Fun yet horrifying at the same time. I have a sudden urge to find any Vet schools in the area to be sure I stay far away.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hilarious! I believe they got what they deserved...and then some! I bet your dad is a riot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never ever mess with the guys with the sharp instruments!

      Delete
  6. lol Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm kind of surprised the eau de skunk faded away that quickly, to tell you the truth. I've known people who've had a skunk spray under their house and are still smelling it in humid weather as much as six months later. Maybe Albertan skunks aren't as stinky as their Nova Scotian counterparts. Or maybe once the scent glands are removed the scent isn't getting constantly renewed or something ... now you've got me wondering :) I expect your dad's reputation began to precede him after this incident, if it didn't already!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That part of the story surprised me as well. But he affirms that there wasn't much smell by the time they got back. Maybe they had more magical cleaners in the late 40s!

      Delete
  8. I love all your stories - but especially the ones about your dad since my younger son wants to be a vet. I could just picture them gleefully preparing the "skunk goo"!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love that caption-24 years later, the smell is almost gone.
    I've never actually smelled skunk odour, but I've heard enough about it that I know I never want to.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You didn't say which vet came up with the brilliant plan ... could it have been your dad?! Having smelled skunk on our animals one too many times ... ugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Between you and me, I'm pretty sure it was my Dad. He won't ever admit it, though . . .

      Delete

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