Sketch by Michael Gruber

This was rural New York State in the early 60’s and we used to burn our garbage in the clearing across the road from our country house. One morning we all stood around, a bunch of New York city people, watching a skunk with his head caught in a jelly jar. He ran in circles, banging his head on the ground in his anguish.

I didn’t care if he sprayed or not. I grasped him firmly between my ankles, bent over, grabbed the jar and gave a swift hard tug. It came off with a pop. He hesitated a moment with his back to me as he headed for cover in the brush. He radiated relief and happiness, no spray, then he was gone. I got a morning of glory and praise from everybody, and some powerful gratitude from a skunk.