Woodburn Dragstrip
7730 Hwy. 219
Woodburn, Oregon
503-982-4461

I Think I Smell a Rat – February 2013

We have been hearing quite a bit of talk regarding guns lately, especially as it relates to the 2nd Amendment. Although the primary focus of the 2nd Amendment centers around the topic of defense, most of my experience with guns centers on the topic of hunting. Only on one occasion did I ever pull the trigger when my gun was aimed at another person. I choose to not say more about that situation, ever.
Growing up on a 160-acre farm, we were surrounded by numerous native animals. Actually, of the 160 acres, only about 35 were pasture-land while the rest was covered with timber. Deer, bear, and even cougars were spotted on our property to say nothing of the smaller animals which included grouse, rabbits, grey diggers, squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes, raccoons and birds of all kinds. Of course, rats just loved to get into the grain and hay which was intended for the cows, and they always presented quite a challenge to a young boy with a .22 caliber rifle.
My wife’s father loved to hunt also. In fact, as he grew elderly and incapacitated, he would sometimes sit in his bedroom with the window open waiting and watching for something to shoot at. A small stream was just 35 yards from his back window and sometimes nutria or other animals would make their presence. I don’t know how accurate he really was, but I can vouch for the fact that at least once, he did hit his target. It was just about one week after we were married, that Lorraine (my wife) and I went to visit her parents. The smell of skunk was very strong in and around their house. In questioning them about the smell, her father did admit that about one week earlier from his back window, he had shot at a skunk which he had then seen run through an air vent into the crawl space under the house. He suspected it may have died under the house. That would explain the dead animal smell that filtered through the aroma of skunk perfume.
With considerable pleading, I agreed to crawl under the house and retrieve the dead animal only if Lorraine would crawl under there with me to help me. With a rake , a flashlight, and a burlap sack, we slithered along the ground on our stomachs until we found the dead skunk. Once it was retrieved, it was my privilege to bury it.
Perhaps some of you saw my posting on facebook about a month ago regarding some mice or rats who had found their way under my Hyundai and chewed the rubber transmission lines causing a large puddle of tranny fluid to be on the concrete under my car. Of course, that needed to be repaired. Just a week later in talking with my neighbor, he asked whether we had a rat problem at our place, due to the fact that they had been setting out rat traps and had caught 11 rats within the last month. With that in mind, if there are rats in the neighborhood, I think rat poison is called for. Therefore, I purchased some and set it out under the eaves near where the Hyundai is parked. Within several days, I noticed that some of the poison had been eaten.
Now it seems, I may have another problem. There seems to be a dead rat smell coming from under the house somewhere near the laundry room. I guess it is time to put on the dirty clothes, get a flashlight, a rake and a burlap sack. Crawl space, here I come again.

Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Northwest Division Bracket Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980 when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip. He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy Bracket, winning with his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4-speed at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October, 1980.
Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip.

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