(This is part of the Growing Up In Utah's Dixie series, by LaVarr B. Webb)


During those early years in Virgin, Allen Maloney was

one of my best friends. In fact, he was as much of a brother

as I ever had. We played together, hoed corn together,

slept together, and adventured together whenever we had

the opportunity. He had sandy hair, a light complexion and

a somewhat oval face. His nose was generally sunburned

and he had the typical Maloney lip. (I have the Maloney lip.

It hangs long and loose under my nose, and adds a great

deal of space to my face that has to be shaved.)


Allen was slim, loose jointed and more than a little

awkward. Yet he had no worries, no cares. He was just a

happy-go-lucky kid. Our easy-going ways must have driven

our adult relatives, particularly Allen's mother, my Aunt Jo,

to distraction.


Once Allen and I were walking up a ditch, heading

toward the falls on North Creek where we swam. We didn't

make it to the ole' swimmin' hole. We were distracted.

We found a family of skunks in the bottom of the ditch--a

momma, a papa and about five little stinkers.


Now, we disliked skunks. They killed baby chicks and

even half grown laying hens. They also ate or destroyed all

of the eggs they found in chicken nests. Moreover, they

were smelly.


There was no way for those skunks to get out of that

dry ditch, so with Allen in front , and me behind, we had

them surrounded, and our intended slaughter would have

made any Humane Society member cringe.


We hurriedly found clubs, got into position, and advanced.

As we moved forward, however, the skunks

brought out their heavy weapons. With their tails up, some

aiming at Allen and some aiming at me, I could see that

they had never heard of the Geneva Convention, or if they

had, those skunks were going to ignore it. They were going

to fight with gas! And they did!


Before we could kill all of those polecats, we were

permeated. I mean we were stinky. We were walking,

gagging, eyes and nose burning, odor factories. In fact,

we must have smelled like two legged skunks, but we went

merrily back home to brag about our demolishing of the



Aunt Jo must have smelled us coming before we got

to the door of the house, because she met us in the yard

with her nose covered, and with soap, towels, clean clothes

and a threat: "Don't you two come near this house until

you've gotten rid of that smell!"


We went down to the creek, and rubbed and scrubbed,

but, do you know, you can't wash off skunk oil. It literally

has to wear off. We were outcasts. No one wanted to be

friendly. We had to eat outside by ourselves, we slept

outside, and our work was as far away from other family

members as they could push us.


Looking back, like in some many historical conflicts, I

see we won the battle, but lost the war.