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Huntin Possum

Story ID:7999
Written by:bobby o'neill mitchum (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Phenix City Alabama U.S.A.
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This is a some what of true story,I say some what because most of my information comes from sitting around and listening to My Daddy tell me stories from back when He was a small boy growing up in Clay County Alabama.Some of the facts are a little dim these days because at the time I heard them I was probably 7 or 8 or even younger,I am now 71 years of age,so if anyone can shoot holes in any information that I herewith submit please feel free to add your two cents worth.
Since I have been in an on line conversation with a friend of mine in Florida concerning wherther or not Opossum is fit to eat,I felt it an opportune time to charm you all with the tale of how to hunt and prepare the dish known simply as Possum.
As I understand the art of Possum hunting,you first must have a very good torch or flash light,and an axe.You will like the light which you will find very handy while traspin through the darkness in the woods at night,Possums being a nocturnal animal,they mostly come out after dark,it is best also to pick a night when the moon is full as Possums seem to love the moon light nights,you will also find it prudent to have a good dog trained to hunt possums,also it's a good idea to have a dog to scare the bears and catamounts away from your possum after you catch one.
So you take your dog,torch and a friend or two and go off into the dark night woods looking for a persimmon tree because possums are likely to be up in that tree eating ripe persimmons.If you find the possum,then you cut the tree down and place the possum in a burlap sack so that he cant bite you as possums dont really like to be interupted while eating persimmons.
If you are lucky and find a possum,and if your friends didn't run off and leave you in the darknes alone,you take that possum home and place it in a cage for about a week and feed it butter milk and corn bread,this is supposed to clean all the dead cows and dead mules that the possum has been eating all his life out of that possums digestive system and make it fit for human consumption.On the appointed day you build a fire out side and boil a tub of water,you place that possum on the ground and put an axe handle on it's neck and break it,after it is dead you dunk the carcass in the hot water so that the fur is easier to remove,then you scrape whats left of the hair off and gut the body.Cut the head off and place the carcass in a huge baking pan surrounded by sweet potatoes and bake all for 2 hours,this will kill what ever worms and germs that may be left alive in the animal.
When the sweet potatoes are done then you can assume that the meat is also done.
serve the meat with corn bread,poke salad greens and field peas.the end.
Well I hope no one was really grossed out by this tale for there was a time when people lived closer to nature than thy do now,a time when people didn't have the money nor the means to go to a grocer store down the street and buy beef or ham and had to make do with wa ever they could catch or grow,my Father grew up in hard times on a small farm in North Alabama,he maybe had one pair of shoes to wear in the winter and only got those when and if the crop of cotton or corn did well.Vinison,Racoon,turtles,fish and yes,even possum were a part of the daily fare back then along with any hog or beef they might have in the smoke house.They did not have a television and moving pictures as these had not been invented yet,they drove to town once or twice a month and the Doctor made house calls.
Well I shall end this tale here as it seems that anything else I might add would be redundant,but I hope you all take time to thank God for the blessings and benefits that we modern humans have.
Bob Mitchum