Ricky Harpole 11/27/12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Harpole: chitlin’ boiling could be biological warfare recipe

I made landfall at  one of my relatives’ camp back in October. He was just getting ready for the “season.”

The season includes anything you can lawfully hunt or trap. Mostly it winds up in the freezer and then the pot.

Now Earl is a fairly fastidious fellow with his personal hygiene as well as his camp layout. The camp layout will vary considering his geographical location.

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Some places have a lean-to or a tent and one ‘special camp’ has a small cabin with running water and a ‘sho-nuff’ flush toilet. That’s where I tracked him down.

I was hoping for a shower and warm convenient place to tell and hear fresh lies, but as I approached the old shack I caught a “whuff” of the worst odor that had ever been in my snout.
I immediately determined that nothing very fresh was in the atmosphere, but of all the nasty situations I’ve seen and smelled, I couldn’t identify this one.

It didn’t smell like a corpse exactly and it didn’t quite fit in with a latrine.

I moved cautiously upwind and there was Cuzin Earl, his back to a tree, looking pretty starved and wore out. He had his old squirrel gun and rucksack handy but he was snoring to beat the band so I let him rest ‘till the daylight.

I still had second thoughts about waking him up until I took the squirrel gun out of the picture which I did and the wind changed and the smell got worse.

I woke him up by popping the top of a Dr. Pepper which I knew he would mistake for a Budweiser and his eyes popped open just like I expected.

What I didn’t expect was his explanation of why his cap smelt like it did and he was in a draw upwind of whatever was in it. I was thinking about calling 911 when he finally started talking.
“It started with a skunk,” he said, “but I never seen him. I reckon one of the dogs must have stirred him up. Well, just about the time the smell of the skunk started cooling down, the toilet backed up,” he said.

“Well, mamma wouldn’t cook chitlins and I never ‘et’ none ‘til I was grown at a shindig. Anyway she said boiling chitins could out stink anything smellable.

“Well, I barely stood the skunk and the  toilet back up but the smell of the chiltlins never bothered me so I thought they would overide the other stuff. But as  you and God are witnesses, them chitlins only added to the mix.

“I guess this camp is ‘rurnt.’ They ain’t been no buzzards flying in three days and I was a little closer to the camp, but I had to back up. I’m afeared that some of them Haz Mat people are  gonna earn their money cleanin’ this mess up.

“Lord knows it’s partly my fault but the skunk and the plumber played their part, too.”

I helped him down to his sister’s house and she gave him a big dose of turpentine and camphor oil and made him take a bath in tomato juice and then drink about a gallon of the bath, (just in case some of that stuff had already sunk into his vitals.)

They both looked at me like it was my fault although I was cheating in a card game in Marvel, Arkansas while the whole catastrophe was going down and can provide the losers to prove it.

I wish I’d left him in his own gully. It just goes to prove that no good deed shall go unpunished.
Ricky Harpole