Rest in peace, raccoon, possum and skunk.
My wife had never hit any living thing with her vehicle until we moved to east central Minnesota about two months ago.
Since then, she’s sent a pair of critters to that big forest in the sky and ensured a third was thoroughly dead.
The road kill rampage started out with the raccoon.
Jill was heading to work early in the morning and driving on a desolate stretch of Highway 95 when the small-dog-sized creature sauntered across the roadway and met one of the front tires of her Hyundai Sonata.
The car fared well; the raccoon did not.
I saw the animal on my way to work about an hour later, taking a permanent, tire-induced nap on the side of the road.
The possum met a nearly identical demise along the same stretch of road about a week later.
After ending this animal, my wife raised a very apt point.
“Have you ever seen one of those things alive?” she asked.
I thought for a while about the question, and decided I had not actually seen a living possum.
I just assumed their carcasses peppered the sides of Minnesota roadways for purely aesthetic reasons, and had not given much thought to them being living creatures.
The animal Jill ran over most recently – the skunk – was already dead, but that didn’t stop it from inflicting its odiferous vengeance.
It was partially flattened when she squished it further with her vehicle, and that recently deceased critter packed quite a punch.
I was in the car with her when she completed the trio of creature flattening.
The skunk was, by far, the worst animal she’s hit with her car.
It made her vehicle absolutely reek.
The guy who decides to lay his yoga mat down next to you at the gym and stretch after he’s done two hours of fast-paced running on a treadmill usually smells better than a freshly killed skunk.
Jill parked her car in our driveway for a couple of days in hopes the smell would dissipate, but I’d estimate it took over a week before the stench was completely gone.
Granted, I could have probably ended the stink much sooner if I had washed her car with some soapy water, but I wanted to give the outdoor elements a chance to remedy the smell before I went to the extreme of cleaning.
I just hope that my wife, and myself for that matter, are done smashing unsuspecting animals with vehicles.
I narrowly missed a fox on Highway 95 a couple weeks back and I’m keeping my eyes peeled as deer hunting season comes into full swing.
I’d rather not mow down a sizeable buck or doe.
But if I do, I know it will have a raccoon, possum and skunk waiting to greet it in road kill heaven.
— Derrick Knutson is editor of the ECM Post Review