In 1939, I was a freshman at Texas A & M. My roommate, Sam Wheeler, and I were assigned to “E” Battery, Field Artillery, and were living in Dorm Four in the New Area. One of the nicest sophomores in our unit was “Stinky” Stevens who lived on the third floor and shared his room with a pet deodorized skunk. Naturally, the cute little animal was also called “Stinky”. It was prohibited to keep any sort of pet in a dormitory room, but somehow Stevens always managed to hide ”Stinky” wherever Lt. “Chick” Sales inspected our facilities. “Stinky” had the run of the dorm and was welcomed in every room. We all knew where he belonged and someone always brought him back to Stevens’ room. On rare occasions, he even ventured outside the dorm and anyone seeing him would put him inside and carefully close the door. “Stinky” was the unofficial mascot of “E” Battery F.A.
Late one Sunday night, Sam and I were returning to campus after a weekend in Houston. As it was long past “Taps” , we stayed in shadows as much as possible to avoid being seen and reported. But to reach the rear door of the building, we had to risk crossing an open and well lighted area. Holding our breaths, we dashed towards the door and were aghast to see “Stinky” also trying to sneak in the same way. While Sam reached for the door handle, I reached down as I ran to scoop up “Stinky” so we could drop her off at Stevens’ room. Only it wasn’t “Stinky” this time. but a full-grown wild Brazos Bottoms skunk which savagely bite my right hand and sprayed me with its horrible perfume as it scampered away.
I stripped my civilian clothes and threw them in a nearby dumpster and ran for the third floor shower room, trailing blood as I ran. An hour and two bars of Lifebouy soap later, I dressed and headed for the hospital as my hand was still bleeding and a sympathetic upper classman said I needed to start a series of rabies’ shots. The hospital was on the other side of the campus but I was no longer worried about being caught outside after “taps” – I was still dripping blood and obviously needed medical attention. Both the front and the emergency doors were locked, so I rang the bell and loudly knocked until a sleepy aging nurse opened a side entrance. But after one sniff (I thought I had washed most of the smell off), she slammed the door in my face after telling me to wait.
In a few moments, she returned with a five-gallon bucket full of a strong lysol solution used in mopping floors. She ordered me to strip and then scrubbed me from head to foot with the stuff. Only then would she allow me to enter and she put me in an isolated small room. The doctor had gone to Waco with the football team and was expected back the following afternoon. My torn hand was bandaged. I received a tetanus shot and waited for the beginning of the dreaded rabies treatment.