Monday, April 10, 2017

A Slice of Life - 5


 


After today, I’m not sure I ever want to see or smell another tomato ever again! It all started this afternoon. I had just finished hanging the laundry and was headed back inside when I heard galloping hooves nearing the house. I deposited the basket on the back porch and made my way through the house.
As I opened the front door to step out, I was immediately overwhelmed by a strong smell that every person around these parts knows well . . . skunk.
More than likely Tucker had gone and found himself one of the critters. It had happened before, and I was glad the pantry was stocked with canned tomatoes, most of them from Mother.
However, as I stepped out on the porch, Tucker was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Riley was walking up the steps, his hands held away from his sides and his hat in his hands.
A moment later, the horrid truth hit me. Tucker hadn’t been sprayed by a skunk. No, Riley had!
I couldn’t keep myself from laughing. He looked . . . well, he looked like something the cat had dragged in. His clothes were moist and limp, and perspiration streamed down his forehead. The late afternoon sun hadn’t decided to do us any favors, and that fact caused the smell from the skunk to be more acute. 
He looked up at me, his eyes rivaling anything I’ve ever seen in Tucker’s puppy-dog look. “Andi, help.”
I smothered my laughter. Riley was suffering, and here I was amusing myself at his expense. I told him to head to the washtub in the back. It was still filled with water from the washing, which was just as well. He could rinse off in it before I brought out the tomatoes.
I grabbed several jars of the quickly diminishing tomatoes and headed out to the back. As I did so, I caught sight of Tucker cowering under the porch. I smirked. The smell must have reminded him of all his encounters with the smelliest four-legged beast that ever lived.
Riley had removed his shirt and rinsed the best he could, but it didn't help one bit. The water had done nothing to help the smell. I popped the lid from one of the jars and made my way over to him, holding my breath. I quickly decided I’d have to snatch a clothespin from the line when I went back to fetch the second jar.
Shutting his eyes tight, Riley braced for the smooth, slippery goo. I quickly emptied it over his head and ran back to the porch. I grabbed a second and third jar, and then snatched a clothespin from the line.
After making sure my nose was tightly closed, I opened the second jar and dumped it over his shoulders.
I had just tossed the lid off the third jar when I realized something awful. A dark, red rash was appearing on Riley’s face and chest, right in the path of the tomato juice. A horrifying thought crossed my mind, and I spoke it aloud. “Riley… are you allergic to tomatoes?”
His gaze followed mine, and his eyes widened. Without answering, he quickly dove under the water. Once, twice, three times, till every speck of the canned vegetable was floating in my laundry water.
“I can’t say that I’ve ever had to have a tomato bath before, so I’ve never had a chance to find out.” He scanned the rash. It wasn’t leaving as quickly as it had come, and I made a mental note to be careful whenever I cooked with tomatoes.
Riley grabbed some clean clothes off the line and the bar of lye soap that I'd been washing with. Then he headed down to the creek to get as much of the smell off as he could.
After he left, I set about putting the place back in order. I had only lost three cans of tomatoes, meaning there was plenty left for whenever Tucker decided to get into a mishap again.
Riley came back smelling slightly better, though I have to admit, I can’t wait till it all wears completely off. He’s promised me he’ll do his best to stay away from the small, white-streaked animal . . . now if only the skunk would agree to stay away from him!

 


16 comments:

  1. Oh, Riley I'm sorry but this is really funny at least to me, Lol. I can't imagine what that smell is up close and on you, gross! Thx Mrs M for a good laugh:)
    <3 MA

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  2. Oh my goodness! I hate to say this, but this was REALLY funny to me, too. We have a lot of skunks in our area, and one of my biggest fears is gettin' sprayed by a skunk. Oh my, think how awful that would be! My family would have to bury me in the ground for a month, with only my head sticking out so that I could breathe. Then maybe most of the smell would be gone. What's especially horrifying to me... is that that is just the kind of thing that would happen to ME! I'm always gettin' into the most embarrassing situations in the whole world. At least I think so. Oh well. Y'all just better pray that I don't get sprayed by a skunk. I wouldn't be the least surprised if I did, though. And all the angels in heaven would probably laugh their heads off. Hmmm. Is it possible for an angel to lose its head?
    ~Hope M.

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    1. Question: Have you ever run into a skunk, Mrs. M? How' bout your kids? I've run into several, but fortunately never been sprayed by one. Whew! Thank goodness for that! But you never know. One of these days......
      ~Hope M.

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  3. At least Riley will be out with the cattle so Andi won't have to smell him a lot!

    ~ Ingrid

    P.s. Where was that spot at the end of The Last Ride that Riley was originally taking Andi when they went riding after her accident?

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    1. Do you mean the spot that Riley says Andi doesn't know about but Andi insists there's nowhere on the ranch that she hasn't explored? Yeah, it's sweet spot . . . sort of a hidden spot that she'd probably passed a hundred times during her life and never thought to turn aside, as it looks barren and full of boulders. But after zigzagging through a narrow canyon and around some cabin-sized boulders, it comes out to a small waterfall and a pretty little valley. :-)

      Hmmm, maybe I should write a Slice of Life Journal entry where Riley takes her there. I'll think about it! A perfect picnic spot that the cattle can't get to but the wildlife abounds.

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    2. Ooh! That would be a great journal entry!

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    3. Yes, that spot :)

      ~ Ingrid

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  4. I don't know why Sadie's comment didn't show up. Here it is:

    Sadie has left a new comment on your post "A Slice of Life - 5":

    This has to be the worst situation possible, being sprayed by a skunk AND being allergic to tomatoes? Poor Riley! Oh dear, I hate to laugh, but it's hard not to. I know I wouldn't like being in that situation though. :P Thankfully I've never been sprayed by a skunk,but who knows if it'll happen to me someday? ;-)

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    1. Thanks for posting my comment, I was kind of confused, I pressed "publish" and thought it showed up...but I guess it didn't.

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    2. It's even stranger because I got the Email notification that you had posted it, but I never could find it. Oh, well! It's here now.

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    3. That is strange, well, thanks for re-posting it anyway! :-)

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  5. Oh dear, poor Riley! Hopefully that never happens again.

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  6. I was wondering, does Ellie's brother Jem ever get married or is he courting someone? And also does Kate still live in San Francisco or did she get a place in Fresno now that Aunt Rebecca died? Really Jack and Virginia? Hmm I think that I always thought Virginia and Johnny would get together:p
    <3 MA

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    1. Well, it could change you know. Back in the "olden days" of writing (before I created Riley for the little kids' books), I thought Andi and Cory would get together eventually. But you can see how that changed. So when I finally get around to writing a short story about Virginia, it may not be Jack after all. You just never know!

      Well, I don't know who Jem will court, but I can tell you one thing--it will NEVER be Maybelle Sterling (Jem's antagonist's, Will Sterling's sister in the books.). LOL

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    2. And Kate owns the house in San Francisco. Aunt Rebecca left it to Kate in her will. But I really, really, really need to do something about tying up that loose end, i.e. her husband Troy. I do want him to "see the light" and come around and those two get back together, but I haven't had the time to ever think about it. Ideas?

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    3. Maybe Troy could become a Christian and want to live with his family again but Kate doesn't really believe him. Then Troy could disguise himself and come work in their house in San Francisco. They could eventually figure it out and live happily ever after :). Not sure if that would work Mrs M...just an idea :D

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Let Andi know what you think!