Even though the occasional bear would wander through the neighbourhood, we rarely saw them. They tended to be more interested in garbage cans and would bound away when noisy humans rounded the corner.
Skunks are a different story. We were the ones who would bound away hastily when the whiff or flash of tail came across our path.
In the summer time hot humid days would break out in shattering thunderstorms that soaked and cooled everything. The hot muggy air made moving unbearable and before any of our cars had air conditioning, we would keep the windows rolled down so we wouldn't cook when we used the car. Once you've had the experience of searing your skin on hot vinyl, you always left your car windows open.
So it wasn't unusual to go out in the evening to roll up the windows because of threatening thunderstorms.
One evening my mother asked me to watch from the doorway while she went to close the car windows. The unmistakable whiff of skunk was in the air but we couldn't figure out where the critter was hiding.
No one wants to run into a skunk.
Carefully and slowly, my mother looked left and right before strolling to the car. It was dark outside and we didn't want a skunk to pop out and surprise her. Cautiously, everything moved in slow motion.
From my vantage point on the top of the stairs, nothing much was happening for a bored teenager.
Just as my mother finished rolling up the windows I screamed...
"MOM! MOM! THERE'S A SKUNK! RUN! RUN!"
She snatched up her dress in two handfuls and made a panicked mad dash for the house... where I was holding on the doorframe to remain upright and gasping for air while laughing.
The panicked look on my mom's face gave way to anger... I think. I was laughing too hard to remember.
I was in so much trouble. Well earned I'd say.