The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Possum Stories

By Dan East © 1992

Issue: February, 1992

Editor's Note... In the January 1992 issue of The Mountain Laurel, we asked readers to send in their "possum" stories. These two short stories from Dan East of Morehead City, North Carolina are the first we received.

Before I moved to Morehead City, North Carolina, about twenty years ago. I lived in the Dry Pond Community of Patrick County, Virginia. We used to possum hunt a right much.

One night three or four of us were possum hunting when the dogs treed a small possum up a fairly large poplar tree. This poplar tree didn't have any limbs for the first twenty or thirty feet.

I decided to climb up and get the possum. I had to wrap both legs and arms around the tree to get up it. After getting the possum in one hand and holding my flashlight in the other hand, I started easing back down the tree. I had both arms and legs wrapped around the limbless tree and could not tell how far I was from the ground.

One of my possum hunting partners, Will Lawson, said he would tell me when I was close enough to the ground to let go. Well, as I was letting myself down the tree, Will yelled, "Turn loose, Dan."

I released my hold on the tree. I bet I was twenty feet from the ground. I thought I would never reach the ground. When I did, I was sore for a week. After that, every time I saw Will or the others, they would say, "Turn loose, Dan."

Another night three or four of us were possum hunting. Where we stopped to rest and take a little nip, a log was sticking out of a creek and one end of the log was in the creek and the other end reached up to level ground. The creek was about ten feet below the level of the ground.

The moon was shining and the log cast a shadow out past its end. One of my possum hunting buddies, Simon Bowman, walked up to the log and sat down. But, he didn't sit on the log, he sat on the shadow and went about ten feet down the bank into the creek. As luck would have it, he was the one carrying our "refreshments."