816 Opinion

Backyard in Brookside quickly goes ‘Beverly Hillbillies’

Somewhere, somehow, my life has morphed into an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

That realization came to me the other morning as I fought to keep a possum from getting into our backyard chicken coop.

Cue the banjo music.

I don’t have much experience scrapping with possums, and I learned pretty quickly that they don’t scare easily.

So I wondered what would Granny do.

“Jethro, fetch my squirrel gun,” I believe is what she might have said.

After dispatching the pesky possum, she would be heading to the kitchen to begin preparing that night’s very fresh dinner centerpiece. Or perhaps she might have whipped up some delicious possum sausage to go with the next morning’s newly laid eggs.

Not a practical solution for us, however.

Not in Brookside, where neighbors tend to frown on random gunfire. And I’m pretty sure that my vegetarian wife would consider a request to cook a rat-looking marsupial as grounds for divorce.

Not that I, or any of the kids, would ever consider eating it.

Plus, my daughters went all Ellie Mae on us and began begging us to let them keep the critter as a pet.

We had to talk them down off that ledge.

So we turned to Plan B, which involved grabbing a bamboo pole and whacking the ground near the creature. It just looked at me for a few seconds before slowly climbing up into the branches of a nearby tree.

And there it sat. Whacking the branch did no good. I tried to reason with the possum, but they apparently don’t respond to verbal commands.

While I was outside acting like a dimwit, my wife did the smart thing and got online.

First off, we learned that while possums will steal eggs, they aren’t likely to try to kill a grown chicken.

She then found a suggestion that music can scare them off. So she dragged out a portable radio and cranked it up.

Unfortunately, this particular possum didn’t seem to mind. It wasn’t tapping its toe (paw? claw?), but it didn’t go anywhere, either. Of course, she only tried country and gospel. I would have gone with metal or rap.

My wife, who like Granny, is small, but as Uncle Jed would say, “she’s wiry,” finally had enough.

She commenced (“Beverly Hillbillies” word choice) to dousing the thing with water.

That was the motivator to get it to leave, and at a faster clip than she thought it could move.

Thank goodness that little adventure is over. Now we can get back to more typical citified pursuits.

The root cellar needs to be tidied, and with spring just around the corner, I’m thinkin’ about diggin’ myself a cement pond.