Wednesday, 6 February 2008
An Uncle Bob Story
Uncle Bob lived next door but he spent most of his life on his father's farm in King County. His pride and joy was a little paint pony. He used the pony to patrol a line of skunk traps on neighbouring farm properties along Highway 9 in King County. Skunk pelts fetched a lot of dough in the 40's, I guess. Did they make coats out of them?
After he harvested the traps, he slung the carcasses over the pony's flanks and headed home.
On wet days, the pony stunk. After all, when you wear skunk, you're gonna smell like Eau de Skunk after a while. Especially when it rained. Maybe Uncle Bob noticed, but perhaps he got used to the funky odour. The pony was still pretty, even if he stunk occasionally.
One sunny (dry) day, Uncle Bob ambled along Highway Nine on his striking steed minus their usual odious cargo. He heard the crunch of tires on gravel behind him, but didn’t take notice.
A large automobile with sleek lines passed him and slowed.
Bob and his pony drew alongside, and a gentleman inquired through the open passenger window, "That's a mighty handsome mount you have there. Is it for sale?"
Bob regarded the stranger and spit tobacco into the ditch. "Nope."
A low murmur of voices drifted from the interior of the vehicle while it rolled languidly beside the ambling horse, and the man in the passenger seat said, "Mr. Elliott here will give you fifty bucks for that pony."
"No thanks. He's my only horse, and he's worth more than that to me." Uncle Bob kicked the pony into a trot.
The long, black automobile appeared beside him again. "A hundred bucks," said the passenger.
Bob simply shook his head and kept his eyes trained ahead.
The car hummed behind him for the full two miles to Bob's father's farm, and it followed them up the long dirt drive. Uncle Bob was someplace between annoyed and amazed at their persistence.
As he unsaddled the pony and prepared to lead it into the barn, the driver slid out of his car and strode up to him. He held a roll of bills and began to unravel them. He waved them around like a fan. "I'll give you two hundred dollars right now, and arrange for my groom to pick him up this afternoon."
Well, Bob was a shrewd businessman – he knew a fantastic price when he heard one, so he said, "You've got yourself a sale."
They picked up the pony within a few hours.
Two weeks later, Uncle Bob strode toward the barn and noticed the sleek black automobile heading up the driveway. The gentleman approached him, his fedora tipped over his eyes. After a few pleasantries, the man said, "Listen, Mr. Jewitt, I noticed something strange about that pinto you sold us. After the rain a couple of days ago, he started to smell a bit. In fact, he stunk to high Heaven."
"Well," said Uncle Bob, taking a pouch of chew from his pocket, "I say, I say... (Bob always talked like that) did you leave him outside at all?"
The gentleman looked at him with narrowed eyes for a moment. "Well," he drawled, "He spent a few days outside."
"Hmm." Bob tucked some chew into his cheek. "Maybe a skunk got 'im. You gotta watch them skunks; they're all over the place. One got my hound last week."
It didn't occur to the man to ask WHEN the skunk got the pinto. "I guess you're right. I should take care of those skunks."
Bob smiled and spat. "For five bucks, I can take care of those skunks for ya."