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04-13-10, 05:00 AM #1
Never attempt to revive a dead possum while you're still sober
This was just too funny to not share.
Gene Owens: Never Revive a Dead Possum While You're Sober
Like many dedicated Southerners, I spend a lot of time contemplating the mass tragedy that occurs daily on Dixie highways.
I'm referring to the turning of thousands -- maybe millions -- of innocent possums into road kill. The natural reaction: All that meat going to waste!
But though I truly regret this squandering of white meat beneath the wheels of speeding SUVs, my regret has never reached the level recently exhibited by Donald Wolfe of Brookville, Pa.
A Pennsylvania state trooper arrested Wolfe after spotting him trying to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dead possum -- a possum, incidentally, that had been dead so long that it was beginning to return to the dust whence it came.
State Trooper Jamie Levier said one witness spotted Wolfe kneeling beside the moribund marsupial and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance. Another said he saw Wolfe trying to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. According to Levier, Wolfe "did have his mouth in the area of the animal's mouth, I guess." He was probably trying to figure out how to fit normal human lips over the long, pointy kisser of a possum.
I should emphasize that Levier didn't arrest Wolfe for attempting to save the life of the possum. He arrested him for being "extremely intoxicated."
That bit of detail reassured me as to Wolfe's overall mental state. If you're going to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dead possum, getting drunk would seem to me to be the logical first step.
Wolfe, of course, is a Yankee and Yankees have soft spots in their hearts for wildlife, having always relied on the delicatessen rather than the hunt for sustenance.
A Southerner would never hold a seance over a dead possum in an attempt to communicate with the departed varmint or to bring it back to life. In the first place, I've never heard a possum, dead or alive, make a sound, much less utter speech, except in Walt Kelly cartoon bubbles. In the second place, what are you going to do with a possum once you've brought it back to life?
Southerners skilled in backwoods cuisine would take immediate steps to prepare the resurrected possum for the pot. They would take due note of the possum's diet in the wild: bugs, grubs and other stuff that would gag a Frenchman. No cultivated Southerner would want to eat meat that had been recycled from that kind of fare.
So they would cage the little beast and feed him a nourishing diet of fruit, grain, and maybe a little grits and gravy. Once the captive was convinced that it was in possum paradise, they would go out and slaughter it.
If you're of a mind to run over a possum for food, most Southern highways make good hunting territory. Hardy Jackson, an accomplished raconteur who is resident historian at Jacksonville State University in northeast Alabama, likes to speak of the "Armadillo line." North of that line, road kill is predominantly possum. South of it, the armadillo dominates. In Alabama, that line is, roughly, I-20.
An armadillo is an armored beast that looks like something out of the Pleistocene era, or perhaps one of those mutant robots that scampered under foot in "Star Wars." I suppose you could eat one, but it would be a mite bony.
I must confess that I have never, to my knowledge, tasted possum meat, but a skilled Southern cook can probably make it taste like chicken. I suppose that raises questions about my claim to being a true Southerner, although I will say in my own defense that I have eaten chit'lins and even went back for seconds and thirds, with the help of some appetite enhancer poured from a bottle.
Phil Harris once sang a song called "Is It True What They Say About Dixie?" One passage went like this: "Do the sweet magnolias blossom 'round everybody's door? Do folks eat possum and 'taters till they can't hold no more?"
We are not all fortunate enough to have sweet magnolias blossoming around our doors; neither do we all make a habit of gorging ourselves on possum and 'taters, but we do love to sing about them.
I remember attending a confab of editorial writers in Charleston during the Spoleto Festival. Miss Peggy and I fell in with a charming couple from the Midwest, the male of whom was an accomplished operatic singer. He heard me sing a song I learned from a schoolmate from high school and prevailed upon me to return to their hotel room and sing it into a tape recorder.
The refrain went:
"I want to die from eatin' possum pie;
"I want to get enough before I'm through
"I want a million waiters
"To bring me sweet potaters,
"And a million more to bring me possum, too."
I probably could bring myself to have a taste of possum, if the stakes were high enough, but I don't think I could ever get wasted enough to give one mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
All the more reason to give Donald Wolfe a commendation instead of a citation. I'll bet Trooper Levier wouldn't dare to give a possum mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while stone sober.
Write to Gene Owens at 315 Lakeforest Circle, Anderson SC 29625. E-mail: Swampscum2@aol.com
Last edited by Ducky; 04-13-10 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Fixed the link & added the text. Yes, I am an idiot.
04-14-10, 08:13 AM #2
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