FROM THUNDER TO BREAKFAST — Chapter 9
I have chosen the chapter titled Skunks and Friends for the last chapter of my blog about Hube Yates memoir, From Thunder to Breakfast.
It was about 1969. Hube was retired. He had driven his pickup truck from Heber where he had a ranch, to his home in Cave Creek, Arizona. He came for supplies, but the trip included a stop to see his old buddy, George Councilman. “He come walkin’ out to me and I thought, ‘Goodness, gracious, he walks like he’s a hundred years old.’ I knew he had a bad back a time or two and had to baby it along. This time he had a goodie. He was bent over like he had curvature of the spine. Just the pain on his face hurt me.”
Hube asked him, “George, did you go down to see a chiropractor?”
He said, “No, I’ll tell you, it’s so sore I couldn’t allow anybody to touch it. It’ll get better by itself. It always does. I have them every once in a while.”
It was a slow walk back to the Councilman house. Hube didn’t miss much. He noticed that George tried to find a chair that he was comfortable sitting in. “It was absolutely painful to watch him. He was goin’ through a lot. You could tell by the way he flinched and gritted his teeth. He finally got down in a chair — sat in it sideways.”
Hube tried again and again to sell him on the idea of going to a chiropractor to “get that vertebrae jerked into place.”
A week or so later Hube had to return to Cave Creek and, just has he had done before, he went to see George. There was no change in his condition. “He couldn’t lay down. He couldn’t get in a comfortable place. He and his wife had been puttin’ hot stuff on his back at night until he was almost blistered.”
Hube gave it one more push: “Doggone it, you know better. Why don’t you grit your teeth, or take a shot of somethin’ and let a chiropractor straighten that out? I haven’t seen you for over a week, and there’s no tellin’ how long you had it before I saw you.”
George made no promises. He said he’d think about it.
“It wasn’t any more than ten days later that I was sittin’ out in front of the house in Heber with a window-sash cord a little smaller around than an average pencil. I was makin’ a loop at the end of the cord because a skunk had got down in the basement and was walkin’ around between cases of stuff. We left the door open at night to let it get good and cool, and we’d close it up in the daytime.
“If I sat real still he’d come out and walk all around me. He’d eye me and look like he was goin’ to plaster me, but he wouldn’t.
“While I was sittin’ there makin’ the loop, a truck drove up and stopped in front of the gate. I recognized George’s pickup. I thought he was just goin’ to sit there, but he was tryin’ to get out. His back was just as bad as it was three weeks before.”
It hurt Hube to see George struggling. “He finally made it and held the truck up for a little bit. I shook hands with him. He looked like he had been run through a knothole. It took him a long time to walk that hundred feet to the house. I didn’t know what to put him on. He could hardly sit down.”
When he finally got seated he asked, “What are you doin’? It looks like you’re makin’ a lasso out of a big string.”
Hube said, “I am.”
George asked, “What for?”
Hube told him about the skunk in the basement. “If I sit here for a while he comes out. I’m goin’ to rope him, and then I’m goin’ to start runnin’ and maybe I can get out of the basement before that stinker can get his gears shifted.”
“What? You’re goin’ to rope a skunk with that?”
Exactly. “I’ve got to get him out of that basement. I can’t have him in there. When he comes out, I’ll rope him and when I do it’ll take four men and a mule to watch me pass by here because I’m goin’ to be runnin’.”
Hube sat on some of the cases, had his loop all ready, and looked up to see George leaning over the cellar door, watching the action. He said, “I wouldn’t miss this for all the tea in China.”
Hube warned him. “You’d better be out of my way when I come out of here.
“Don’t mind me,” he said.
Hube sat there waiting for five or six minutes, then quietly warned George again, “Don’t you say a word or move at all because you’ll frighten him away again.”
The skunk came out, puffed up, looked at Hube, stamped his feet and threatened him. “I just kept watchin’ him. I reached out and put the rope on him. I snapped it up on his neck and I started runnin’.
“Now I’m not built too much for speed, but I sure went out of that cellar. The skunk braced himself and up those steps he went. It was a strong window-sash cord. It would have held a horse for a while.
“I was runnin’. So was George. He outran me for the first two hundred feet. He went through the front gate like there was nothin’ to it. Run, why he went like the driven snow.
“I ran and jumped the fence. It’s only about four-and-a-half feet high. I was goin’ to pull the skunk over. I pulled, and his nose hit the top rail. I pulled him four or five times, and finally he came over. I took the slack up and away I went.”
Hube had his six-shooter with him, and, when they were far enough away from the house, he pulled it and blasted the little beast all to pieces. Job done.
Then he refocused his attention to George and his problem. He thought, That George Councilman! I feel good, and he outran me like I was goin’ in the other direction.
He went back and asked, “What in the thunder did you do? Did you snap your back or somethin’?”
George was as surprised as anybody. “I don’t know, but I couldn’t think of but one thing when I looked up and saw you drop that loop on the skunk and start out toward me. I kind of forgot my misery. I didn’t know I was such a hundred-yard man. If I’d known you were goin’ to do something like that, I’d have been up here three weeks ago.”
Hube held that memory for the rest of his life. He said, “George needed an incentive, and he had it. I can think about that when I feel bad, and laugh.”
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Copyright Gene K. Garrison 2012
Note: This is the last blog about Hube Yates’ memoir, From Thunder to Breakfast. The book by Gene K. Garrison can be purchased at your favorite bookstore, online booksellers such as amazon.com or tablets such as Kindle and iPad.
Other blogs by GeneKGarrison.com will be about various subjects.