(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,
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
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.