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Chrysler Critter Carrage

OSFB HeadshotOne winter during a heavy cold spell, one of our cows had a calf. By the time it was found, the little critter had become very chilled and required veterinary attention. Enter the machinery for this story: my parents 1972 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham that looked docile, but under the hood beat a 440 (non HEMI ) with a four barrel carb that would propel the boat 118+ miles per hour (experience talking here) and still knock out 22 miles per gallon on road trips without breaking a sweat. But I digress and direct my writing to the story at hand.

1972 Chrysler New Yorker 

Rather than subject the critter to an additional frosty ride to town in the back of the pickup, it was put in the trunk (that was about half the size of the barn) and Mom and Dad set off for the Veterinary clinic."Doc" as we called him was one of those entertaining characters that was always thinking out loud and had a colorful vocabulary that though not personally offensive, requires some judicious editing.

Mom and Dad pulled up outside the clinic and Dad went in to get Doc. When they came out, Doc asked Dad "where's the calf? Dad took him around to the trunk as Mom pushed the electric trunk release to reveal the calf nestled in some old blankets, gaining much needed body temperature. Doc made the comment of all the years of being a vet, it took Dad to be the first one to bring livestock to him in the trunk of a luxury automobile. The calf was checked over, medication administered, and the critter was deemed OK to go back to the farm to take up space basking in the warmth of a heat lamp in the barn.

While Dad and Doc walked around the front of the car, Mom said she smelled something like burnt hair. After determining that the calf was not in any danger of becoming BBQ, Dad popped open the hood and revealed a skunk perched under the hood, left feet on the valve cover and its right feet on the inner fender well. The critters fluffy tail hairs had come to rest on the exhaust manifold, however it was cognitive enough not to allow the meaty portion to come in contact with the heat. Doc went into his office and returned with some type of large caliber hand cannon and told Dad to poke the skunk and when it jumped out, he would send it to oblivion. Dad, unsure of this hasty request was none too eager to start poking the critter under the hood of his car resulting in a massive under hood pungent air freshener. Doc replied "ah, don't do that, I don't want a dead skunk in my yard, take it downtown and park in the intersection of first and main, open the hood open and let the police deal with it!" Fortunately for local law enforcement, Dad just said he would just let the skunk travel back home by the same means as it came. 

All four of them made the journey home via the long way as Mom and Dad thought it better to avoid town in case something went terribly wrong that would result in a pungent mess to clean up. They went to the house where the calf was rejoined to its mother in the nice cozy barn; Dad picked up his .22 rifle and the pickup and sent Mom out by the oil well tank batteries where the goal was to dispatch the skunk. Upon trying to coax the critter out the skunk exercised sound judgment and was able to traverse the engine compartment and car frame to avoid Dad from getting a clear shot. After a few minutes of synchronized critter flushing out, Mom and Dad determined that it was too cold to be worried about the skunk. The New Yorker was left out at the tank battery for a period of time that allowed the cold to sink in encouraging the critter to seek a warmer residence. The car was later retrieved with no physical or smelly damage.

Perhaps this skunk benefited from the farmland critter safety course inspired by the earlier baling incident. Human contact 101: how to keep safe while humans are in pursuit.