Friday, November 9, 2012

Exploding Possums and the Like

(While this story is not about me, it is about a relative. We still speak of this incident...and laugh heartily when we do.)

She was a city girl, born and raised in the urbane Dallas metroplex, all glitz and high fashion. He was country through and through, running a South Texas ranch that had been in his family over five generations.

He was uncomfortable in the city, but a range management seminar in the Fort Worth Stockyards was enough to make him drive his 4x4 Ford long bed straight through, eight hours, to the city. After the seminar, his plan was to get a good steak at a well known watering hole and head home.

She was there, too, enjoying an after work outing with friends when he walked in, lean and tall in starched indigo Wranglers, brown boots, and tooled leather belt. His taut biceps flexed involuntarily at his unease in the midst of so many people. He took off his wide brimmed Stetson and placed it carefully upside down on the chair next to him, apparently oblivious to the flat line impressed in his hair by the hat.

She was hooked, she later told him, from that moment on. As wild love stories usually go, they rode ups and some downs until they married and she ended up a new bride on that 4,000 acre South Texas ranch.

She took a job as a teacher and put her all into learning rural life skills. She was determined to prove to everyone she could be a real ranch woman, just like those pioneer women she used to read about when she was a girl.

Her lessons came quickly.

She learned to keep a rock just inside the front door of the sprawling ranch house he'd built for them. With no one looking, she'd toss it out first before stepping out, to frighten away any snakes that might be lurking nearby. She learned to keep the rooster at bay in the chicken house with a small chair, like a matador with a cape as she plucked the warm eggs out of the nests.

She also learned quickly high heeled fashion boots weren't suitable for any length of time in a stirrup, and that thick but plain Levis were better protection in riding through barbed brush than the expensive designer ones she brought with her from the city.

When he told her of an overnight trip he needed to take to a cattle auction in West Texas, she assured him she'd be fine. She had the dogs with her, and she wasn't afraid at all, she told him, although inside, her heart did shiver a little.

He made sure everything was secure before he left her with a kiss. She got home from work that afternoon, fed the dogs near their cozy homes in the back yard, and settled in for the evening.

Her first clue something was not right was when the dogs began barking ferociously. Panic rose in her like steam in a tea kettle, but she forced herself to believe it was some small critter they were after. After all, pioneer women faced much worse, she told herself.

She was relieved the next morning when she tentatively stepped out and saw nothing, nothing that is until she veered into the back yard to check the dogs. They happily greeted her with yips and jumps and then she saw what had stirred them in the night.

It was a possum. A dead possum. A dead possum already bloated and in rigor mortis.

She sighed. If she left it there, the dogs would create an even bigger mess. She looked down at her pressed slacks and silk blouse and shook her head. She could do this. This wouldn't phase her, not in the least.

She trudged off to the barn and located an impossibly heavy shovel. Her plan was to scoop the possum onto the shovel and heave it over the fence into the pasture, away from the dogs.

She felt empowered as she lifted the distended carcass upwards. This was going to be a great story to tell her man when he got home! A regular pioneer woman, she was!

She used all her might to quickly swing the shovel around and upwards, to give it enough heft over the fence.

Her arms, though, lost a little lift, the tiniest bit of power, as she struggled to make the upwards arc with the shovel.

The possum flew off the end and reality swerved cruelly.

Instead of lofting easily over the fence, the tightly stretched, swollen cadaver hit the top rail, bounced awkwardly back and landed smack against her midsection.

Exploded would be more accurate. Exploded against her midsection.

And when the Pioneer Woman certificates are awarded, she will receive hers with an additional gold star.








63 comments:

  1. OMGLOL! Well, this is a new story, Shelly, at least to me. I knew (assumed) from the very start that it is autobiographical. I never knew about the trick of tossing a rock out the front door to scare off rattlers and other snakes. Great idea! I can picture (and almost smell) you covered in possum innards. What a loathsome task and revolting development! Of course, if you were a member of the Clampett clan, you'd have the makins of a good supper around the billiard table!

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    1. Shady: Ha! While it wasn't me (I was raised on the farm) it is a relative and we still tease her about that possum. She's tougher than I would have been!

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    2. OMG, Shelly! Even though I came from farming stock (grandparents owned a farm), I am such a city girl, I would have just fainted dead away if that bloated possum had exploded on my midsection! I, too, thought it might be autobiographical until I read your comment above. Great story! You write so wonderfully!

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    3. Dr. Kathy: I was born and raised on a farm, and still live on a ranch. I worked as a veterinary technician in school and have seen many gross things. However, if a dead possum ever explodes on me, I would probably faint, vomit, or both!

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  2. Yuck! Double yuck! We are backed up to corps of engineers property and the lake, so we get our share of critters. Having dealt with a snake in the house, bobcat in the back yard, armadillos, possums and oh no - seeing my dog with a bunny's head one day, I loved this story. Great storytelling.

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    1. Nonnie: Dogs are so sweet, and yet the things they do and bring up to the house...

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  3. Oh Shelly, I am feeling sickly after reading this, I can't imagine! I would have totally freaked out! Your relative might have kept a rock by the door to scare off snakes, etc. ... I stomp out on our deck to scare away snakes. We have never seen a snake around here and the neighbors tell me they haven't either.

    Can you imagine awaking at night and finding a possum in your bed? (No, I am not referring to Tammy Wynette :-) ), sorry, I couldn't help it. Anyway, my neighbor Mona had left the back porch door open and the possum had climbed the stairs and got into her bed. She yelled at her husband for help. He came in with a paper towel to pick it up by the tail and you can imagine the possum curling up to probably bite him. We laughed a long time about Mona and the posseum.

    Life is stranger than fiction, ain't it! ;~D A great story, Shelly!

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    1. CIndy: OH MY GOSH!!! A possum in the bed??? I could probably never recover from teh trauma of that-ever! And picking it up with a paper towel? Those things hiss and do all kinds of nasty things....I'm getting goosebumps thinking about it!

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  4. Hahaha poor girl, although I must admit I was anticipating something like that happening when you mentioned her getting the shovel and trying to heave it over the fence. Eeeek, she must have freaked!

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    1. Saimi: Although she might wish it otherwise, this story will never be forgotten in our family!

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  5. Poor girl. It must have been very hard to have to adjust to the changes from a city life to country. I would have waited until there was one more person in the house to clean up.

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    1. Munir: After having heard her story, I will stay as far away as possible from dead possums.

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  6. She really showed the stuff she was made of. Nicely done.

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    1. Stephen: Tougher stuff than what she thought!

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  7. Ewwww! I wasn't expecting that ending!

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  8. I think I would have died myself. sandie

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  9. I'm not sure I would have stayed on the ranch after that incident! Oh my gosh though!! i just can't imagine the "horror" of it all with possum spread to and fro on her!

    hope you have a great weekend Shelly!

    betty

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    1. betty: I don't think she's had anything as bad happen to her since. If she survived that, she can survive anything. Hope your weekend is the best!

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  10. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! (that's me screaming!) I could totally see that happening to me, trying to get the dead thing away from curious kids. Oh, my gosh, did she throw away her clothes?

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    1. Jamie: Yes- she stripped in the back yard (it's out in the middle of nowhere) and threw them out!

      Such good news about little Sims- hope you are getting some rest~

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  11. Dearest Shelly,
    Wow, what an experience for a lady from city with glitz and high fashion! It sure is one of the evidence of the difference of lives in the huge county of yours. How well written about the contrast; despite the precautionary measure her thoughtful husband took for her and what happened to her. I loved the way you said "reality swerved cruelly"! Oh, yes I can imagine how she had to threw her clothes; poor lady. And I am sure she deserves "a gold star" with her courage(*^_^*)

    2ps> * kind of made me proud that I didn't have to check the word "rigor mortis". Haha,I loved to watch drama of detective story or "murder she wrote". p;)
    * Thank you very much for your sweet comment. I was so busy with bits of bits of things and had low appreciate. But getting better, my friend. And with the help of the prayers and the charm from the shrine, we haven't had any car accident. It is working and hopefully longer, haha.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*



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    1. orchid: Oh, my dear friend Miyako, I am SO very thankful I was not in her shoes when that happened! You always impress me with how well you know and express yourself in this quirky English language!

      I am so glad to hear you are doing better, and with no car accidents!

      Hugs and love back to you, my friend~

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  12. Dear Shelly, what a wonderful story and how wonderfully told! I'm sitting here with a smile on my face and two pictures in my mind. The first is that dead possum hitting her midsection and exploding. (It's a cartoon strip to me with talk bubbles and I can just hear the sounds of her voice as it explodes!) The second is her standing in her glory awaiting the medal which is in the shape of an exploding possum.

    Once again I need to tell you what a fine writer you are and what a gifted storyteller. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Oh, I am glad you are thinking of it in cartoon pictures because the real life picture is just to disgusting to leave in the mind. I cracked up at your thought of the medal in the shape of the exploding possum! I will be sure and tell her when we are all together for Thanksgiving, although I'm sure she would rather at some point that we forget all about this incident~

      And thank you!

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  13. hi friend im on a blog break january will be back please bear with me..will be a new start... blessings soraya

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    1. Soraya: Enjoy your time off- see you in the new year!

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  14. Now that was a ripe story!! Awk!!!!

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  15. Oh. My. One knows not what to say! (But how cool that you found words to tell the tale!)

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    1. vanilla: I know it wasn't one of my more memorable stories, but we still have fun laughing about it! Just glad nothing of the like has ever happened to me!

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  16. I was suppose to laugh right because I did this was just so funny the thought of the exploding possum is just so funny........

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    1. Jo-Anne: Yes, I'm so glad you did! We still laugh heartily when we talk about it!

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  17. What a trooper! She has real guts, and I'm not talking about the possum innards all over her good clothes :) Good for her! Thanks for sharing this tale, and tell her she has done womankind proud with her attitude and fortitude :)

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    1. jenny_o: That she is, and that is a great, gutsy line! I will be sure and tell her, although I know she was hoping this story would have lost its legs by now~ (but as long as I'm around, it won't!)

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  18. oh my gosh! That is funny. She deserves the extra gold star!!!

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  19. You know, I thought you were going to say it bounced off the fence, then hit her and attacked her because it was actually just playing dead. Either scenario would have been horrific for me.

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    1. Lydia: Honestly, I don't know which would be worse!!!

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  20. I loved reading this.. And now I wonder, what happened next?? Were there children.. MORE MORE.
    Much love Crystal xx

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    1. Crystal Mary: Yes, several kids, and still very happy! I will work on another story about them- thank you!

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  21. I laugh because this is familiar!

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    1. Parsley: You have my forever sympathies, then!

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  22. Oh, dear! I bet she had to throw away her blouse, huh? What a mess!

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    1. Jeanette: Everything she wore that day went into the trash- ugh!

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  23. Ugh and ewwwww - weee! Hugs to all parties involved.

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    1. Just Be Real: Ugh and ewwww is right!!!

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  24. My throat is contracting as my lips involuntarily seal themselves in an effort not to inhale any of the little flying bits of imaginary possum...

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    1. Jenny: Ha! I found myself doing the same thing as I wrote it...just unspeakably gross!

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  25. Ahhh!!!! Exploding possum!

    :-) Delightfully told, Shelly. What a great story.

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: A person can never be too sure of what is going to be exploding on them!

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  26. Ewwww! Your title made me start to guess and when I started reading....ewwww.

    But you did tell this story in a great way, hooking readers in!

    Nas

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    1. Nas: It is pretty disgusting, isn't it? Thanks for hanging in there with it!

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  27. I'm pretty sure I would've fainted right there! Ugh!

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    1. Motherhood on the Rocks: I would have either thrown up or fainted, or maybe both!

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  28. What a great story! Well, not great for your friend, but that additional gold star will probably make it all worthwhile. I really enjoyed reading this post, and plan on taking a spin through the rest of your blog!

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    1. Funny is Family: Thank you! I'm headed over to yours now~

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