Just for Fun. . .
Mo Possum Dad, Mo' Possum

Don Burleson
10 May 2005


Last week I went into the feed room at the barn, and when I turned-on the lights, I saw a huge she-Possum working to get into the feed.  Possum’s are very bad news to horses as their poop causes EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis), an often-fatal horse-disease.

I’m used to critters scurrying-away when surprised, but this she-Possum just glanced at me, dismissed any threat, and went back to work on the feed bin.  I grabbed a broom and swung at this giant prehistoric rodent, but all she did was turn towards me with her reptilian red eyes, open her mouth to reveal her sharp teeth and hiss at me!  I was able to use the broom to insist that she leave the barn, but she threatened me the whole way.  I also have a beef with the barn cats (see “Tiger”) but I guess I understand as this Possum was bigger than both of them put-together.

Anyway, this Possum encounter reminded me of my first up-close Possum encounter 14-years ago when the kids were 5 and 6 years old.

Our Cousin Hazel has been a great help to us in preserving Colonial American family traditions, teaching us how to kill bullfrogs at night with a sharp stick (their legs dance in the pan!), and how to wrestle giant catfish, how to shoot guns, and re-live our American heritage.  More about that in later installments. . . .

During her work with the Burleson Family Research Group, she located some authentic 16th-century Colonial American recipes from old family documents.  We thought it would be great fun to serve the young-uns an authentic Colonial American meal, replete with stoneground cornbread and fresh gingerbread.  The only thing missing was the entrée. 

Winner of the "It's not my job" award.

I suggested that I grab a road-kill Possum.  They really do “play possum” and freeze, especially with oncoming vehicles, and the roads are littered with them.  This is my favorite possum picture, the winner of the “It’s not my job” award:

In the original plan, I was to take a road-kill in the house and announce that we was havin’ possum, and then cook-up some Chuck Roast as Pseudo-Possum.  After some searching we discovered that Cousin Drewell worked with a lady who sold wonderful eatin’ possums, a rare and precious delicacy. 

As I’m sure you know, you have to feed them persimmons or the meat tastes gamey.  You can pack them in dry ice and ship them Fedex.  They make a great gift.

The only problem was that the possum was frozen solid.  It was skinned and cleaned, but it still had it’s long curly tail coiled-up like a spring.  The head was the worst, with it’s beady eyes intact and his pointy cone-shaped snout revealing rows of sharp teeth.   I thought that the first person to eat one of these must have been really, really hungry.  We looked up some Possum recipes, and off-we-went!

Mr. Possum was frozen hard as a rock and I was unable to remove the head, even with a sharp cleaver.  It barely fit into the microware (and besides, I was concerned that the head might explode), so we put him face-down in a large stew pot.  I’ll never forget seeing the back-feet and curly rat-tail hanging out of the pot. 

By morning he had cooked down, and we picked-out the bones, skull and tail.   and had delicious open-faced hot possum sandwiches with homemade possum gravy. 

The kids loved it (they were only 5 and 6 at the time), and they said “Mo’ Possum Dad, Mo’ Possum”.