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Most of my experiences with possums have been with either fright or disgust. Though the years, they have ended up a victim in my late husbands junk barrel that he kept behind the shed in the back yard. They would get in but couldn't get out. At night, they take up residence on your front porch, and scare you half to death if you go out when they are there. They ramble through garbage/dumpsters looking for food. Many times, I have seen them on the road as roadkill. A few times I have encountered them while out walking around the neighborhood. In the warm weather, I like to walk at dusk - it's much cooler. Most animals will run when you walk by - or at least bark or retreat farther back into the the yard. Not a possum. They will stand there and stare you down. Once, while walking past one, it even hissed at me. I believe this is why they are infamous for *playing dead* when other animals get after them. They don't have the sense to retreat or run.
Uncle Buck and the Possums
The first time that I ever saw a possum, I was about 10 years old. My maternal grandparents lived in Atlanta. Every now and then my grandmother's brother, Buck, who wasn't in good health, would come to stay with her for a while. Buck would piddle around in the basement. We kids never went down there much. We knew that Pop kept his tools down there and that uncle Wayne [my grandparents son] kept a model train set. Apparently, at some point, Buck decided to build a couple of traps.
One day, me and my sister went into the basement and saw that he had captured some kind of small animal in them. When Pop came home from work, we ask him about the animals and what Buck was doing with them. Pop went down to take a look and later he told us that the animals were *Possums* and that Buck 'was just taking care of them'. Well, that was the truth - but only half of it!
Five or six months later, Buck still had those possums. All summer long, into the late fall, he kept them in the basement. By that time, they were getting big and fat. One day, me and Sis went into the back yard and saw the possums. We ask Buck if he was ever going to let them go. He replied "No. I'm getting them fat so I can eat them." Well, this upset us, so as soon as Buck went back inside, we let his possums go. They ran toward the woods, full speed. We were happy - we had rescued the possums from Buck. But he wasn't happy at all - and the crap hit the fan. We kids got into big trouble.
A few years later, Buck was at it again, keeping his possums in the cages in the basement. This time, he and my grandmother got into arguments about it; she wanted him to get rid of them.
One night, while Pop was at work, she and Buck got into an argument about them again. Buck went downstairs to the basement. A few minutes later, he opened the kitchen door and threw in one of those possums. My sister was there, her and my grandmother both almost had a stroke. The possum was running all over the house and there they were after it with brooms, the possum running and hissing. Chasing it out of rooms and closing doors behind them, they finally cornered it in the den and got it to out.
Needless to say, Buck spent the night, and a few more nights, in the basement with his pet[s]!
I came in after everything had happened. I still can't believe my grandmother was moving that fast - she had arthritis in her hip real bad.
I always thought Buck was eating those possums by himself. However, last year at a family gathering, uncle Wayne told me that Buck had a few friends across the river that wanted them. Buck would catch them, fatten them up and sell the possums to them and whoever else wanted one.
That makes me wonder.....exactly how many possums did Buck have flowing in and out of that basement through the years?
Uncle Buck and my grandparents are all gone now. Me and Sis laugh about this now - but it wasn't so funny when it happened. uncle Buck, we loved him, but at times he could be mean as a snake.