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From the Farm

Playing possum posse

May 8, 2009
By Kerry Hoffman

Never before in my life had I found the need to draw up arms in self defense.

Not against any type of creature. So I was somewhat amazed when I found myself digging in the gun cabinet for purposes of self defense. For years I was really opposed to having any type of guns in my house. OK, eventually I gave in and purchased cap guns, AirSoft guns and eventually some real, bonafide 12-guage shotguns.

And just in case you didn't know, shotguns do not take bullets. My boys have told me over and over, "Mom, a shot gun takes shells."

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Even the shooting instructor, at trap shooting the other night, laughed when I referred to the ammunition as bullets. My boys really laugh when I ask if they want to play a game of "Shoot 'em up."

"You don't shoot 'em up, Mom! You shoot 'em down!"

Technicalities. Anyway. This particular morning, when I was finished feeding my beautiful chickens, I started walking back toward the house to get ready for work.

I noticed this thing on my sidewalk. It was ball-like and fuzzy.

"What in the world did those dogs drag out now?" I said out loud. (A sign of insanity.) The closer I walked to the animal, the more I realized it wasn't a piece of material at all. It was a freakin' 'possum! And he was playing dead on my sidewalk! How dare he! Play dead somewhere else - like in the woods! I kicked the thing and it moved just a smidge. Apparently, this possum thought I was as unintelligent as Lilly, the Great Dane. She would have assumed he was dead. (By the way, I am absolutely positive, without a doubt, it was a male!)

Contrary to popular belief, 'possum are really ugly animals. They have fangs and claws that will rip me to shreds and that tail - worse than a rat's. Those beady eyes will forever be a nightmare for me.

And germs! And fleas! They are just disgusting! This possum was huge too.

I went into the house to get the gun. When I returned Joey was outside the milkhouse, so I called him over.

He kicked the stupid thing too.

See, they really are stupid. He had all this time to get away, and he still pretended to be dead. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad would yell at us several times to, "Be quiet and go to sleep!"

Eventually, he would walk, or stomp, up the stairs and we would all "fake sleep."

Then we caught heck for pretending to be asleep.

Of course all we could do was continue to pretend we were asleep, with Dad knowing all along that we were not dreaming of puppies, kittens and the cute boy next door.

Moving on. After observing the mangy creature, it was time to do something. If our previous rat terrier, Chopper would have been alive yet, he would have been willing to turn that 'possum into mincemeat. The way it is now, the two puppy rat terriers, Digger and Eddie, didn't even want to go near the huge ball of ugliness.

I handed the gun to Joey and let him do the handy work.

He's a much better shot than I am.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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