Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Drop that Possum!

Some 35 miles away from where I live is a town called Tallapoosa Georgia.  For the last 14 years, Tallapoosa has had a "Possum Drop" on New Years Eve.  Apparently, Tallapoosa was originally a township called "Possum Snout" until 1860 when they changed the name to Tallapoosa (In Cheerokee-Creek "Tallapoosa" means "Golden River" which really? I'm not too sure is a great name either if you think about it too hard.)  ANYWAY, Tallapoosa has a long, rich possum-related history...thus the Possum Drop at NYE.   You know, like the ball in Times Square, but with more fleas and the potential for rabies.
Kidding!!  They don't use a live possum (anymore).  They have a PETA-friendly taxidermied possum named Spencer who allegedly was found already having schucked off his mortal coil.  A taxidermist named Bud happened along and found Spencer and thought to himself "You know what this town needs? A stuffed possum for New Years."  And thus, a tradition began.
So in honor of end of 2013, the beginning of 2014 and the proximity of a dead possum dropping from the sky, I thought I would dig up and brush off my possum story.  I first posted this story back when I first started this blog...it was actually my second post.  Re-reading it last night, I realized it could use some editing before reposting.  So, below is a slightly abridged version of that first post.
Several years ago, Jeff's father was undergoing Cancer treatment at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, OK.  We made many, many trips from Alabama to Tulsa...one or both of us taking him there & back.  I love my in-laws DEARLY, but one particular trip to/from CTCA was absolute HELL.  Nothing went right, no one felt good, the flights were awful, we got in late and THEN had an hour drive home from the airport in a torrential downpour. 
When I finally get home, Jeff grabs my bags and hands me something to drink and tells me that I should grab a book and Rosie, the three-legged wonder dog and go sit where I can hear the rain and unwind and relax a bit.  It’s about 10:30 by this time and I’m wound tighter than a spring.  “Don’t worry about anything, babe, I’ll unpack your bag,” he says.  So, I raise the garage door, grab a book & my drink, invite the three-legged wonder-dog, Rosie to join me and start trying to loosen up. 

(Pictured above: Rosie, the wonder dog, giving a terrifying yawn)
I’m readin’ and sippin’ and starting to unwind a bit when out of the corner of my eye, I catch something moving.  I look up, and there is a POSSUM crossing the driveway.  Not a big possum, one about double the size of a squirrel, but STILL!!!  Are possums not the most skanky looking animals in the WORLD (or at least in the Southeast) or what? 

Well, Rosie jumps up and runs her three-legged self right out into the driving rain, runs around the car parked in the drive and then comes back WITH THE POSSUM IN HER MOUTH!!!  She’s trotting around in the driveway, getting soaking wet, when I holler at her (I want to say right here that I am a college degreed mechanical engineer, but certain circumstances cause me to revert to behavior such as HOLLERIN’) “Rosie, drop that possum RIGHT NOW!”  She opens her mouth and THUD!  Right in the middle of my driveway she drops the dead possum and comes back up the drive and into the garage.  I shoo her in the house, and walk to the bottom of the stairs and holler (I’m still in hollerin’ mode), “Jeff!  YOUR DOG has killed something!”  I then stalk back out to the garage and sit back down in my chair and look at the possum…it’s still in the drive, it’s fur getting all matted and nasty looking in the rain.  Jeff comes out and takes a look…he’s barefoot, because he had gotten up in a hurry to see exactly what was going on.  Then he actually looks at me and says, “Ah, I can’t get it, I’m barefoot.”  I put THE LOOK on my face and said, “Look, bucko, if you think I am going to deal with a dead, nasty BEAST after the three days I have put in…not to mention the NERVE WRACKING drive I just made, you are so, so mistaken.  I’m sure if you look it up, dead animals DEFINITELY falls under the “Man Duty” heading.  You may have been lucky enough to marry a woman who can put the gas grill together, but I am NOT taking care of a dead possum.”  I believe I had my hand on my hip by this point.
 So Jeff shuffles barefoot back into the house (I hear him stop to praise Rosie for being such a “good girl, gettin’ that bad ole possum”) and up the stairs to get his shoes.  He’s up there awhile…maybe 10 minutes.  Then I hear him back in the kitchen looking for rubber gloves (wuss) and getting a trash bag.  I’m trying to read my book and sip my drink, but I keep looking up at the carcass in my drive.  Jeff’s still banging away in the kitchen after the rubber gloves (you KNOW he really wants me to come in and find them for him) when the possum TWITCHES!!  Creepy, unnatural, not healthy-like twitchin’…”Well, crap!”, I think,  “The only thing worse than a DEAD POSSUM in my driveway is a HALF-DEAD POSSUM in my driveway.”  I’m thinking that Jeff’s going to have to go to the shed and get the shovel and put the poor (but disgusting) thing out of its misery.  This is not going to make anyone’s night…not mine, not Jeff’s, certainly not the possum’s.  I stand up to go give him the good news, just as the possum raises its head…it looks around, gets to its feet, gives itself a good shake and then trots on off to the bushes.  The tip of its gross, pink rat-tail had just vanished under the boxwoods as Jeff comes out of the kitchen and into the garage.  He has donned his rubber gloves and has the possum disposal bag in hand.  His jaw is set as he gets ready to do his manly duty…and I have to tell him that the possum was, well, playin’ possum.  It had lain there mouth open, eyes glassy, fur matted in the torrential downpour for AT LEAST 15 minutes, and then just trotted off!!  We both go back inside, Jeff stripping off the rubber gloves…to be confronted by Rosie, the three-legged wonder dog.  She is giving us such a REPROACHFUL look that I can almost hear what she is thinking which must have been something like, “I am a three-legged dog…do you KNOW how often I see that kind of action?  Not only do you call me OFF my possum, but then you let it get away.” I did the only thing I could do to make amends…I gave her some bacon and promised her I’d tell EVERYONE what a brave, brave dog she was for “gitin’ that possum.” 


  1. I had a possum hide under my car one afternoon when I went outside to leave on an errand. When I tried to shoo it away so it wouldn't get run over, it had the nerve to hiss at me.
    Possums are skanky looking AND ill-tempered.