The Possum Crossing
Author: W. K. Hayes
My opinion on Possum Safety
Having read an article earlier today, I was reminded of a small, but humorous event that had taken place in my life. This happened when I was around seven years old.
I would spend a lot of time with my aunt as a child, growing up. My aunt loved taking car trips to see family or friends, or just to get out and go exploring. She really loved driving as I recall and a ride out in the countryside was her favorite thing to do back then.
If you have ever driven in North Carolina, ene sign you are certain to see, here in the Carolinas is the infamous, deer crossing sign. I remember asking her about the sign and what it meant. She explained, that the signs were used to warn drivers to slow down and keep a close eye out for deer along the side of the road. She also went on to explain that hitting a deer with your car would do some serious damage, especially if it was a buck.
Of course, the only, ‘buck’, I knew of was the dollar bill. So, I asked her what was a buck? She explained that a buck was male deer for which, I replied, “Oh, I thought a buck was a dollar”.
“Well, they’re also male deer”, she explained as she laughed.
Later on, at some point in time, we had run into a friend of hers and somehow, the subject of possums came up. I would not swear to this but I’m fairly certain her friend really liked small furry animals.
Trying to fit in with the conversation and flex my little intelligence-muscle, I looked up at them and interjected, “They should have possum crossing signs like they do for deer”!
They cracked up laughing at the idea although, I felt it was a great idea. Little possums could safely get across the road…maybe even have a possum crossing guard. I had the whole idea worked out in my mind, back then. As you can tell, the idea never did catch on but, for that seven year old me, it should have.
For years, my aunt teased me about the possum crossing suggestion and to this day, I am fairly certain she still remembers it to this day. Fact is, about seven or eight years later, I was spending time with my aunt when we ran into her friend.
By then, I was my full height of six-foot-five. The lady didn’t recognize me right away and I recall her asking my aunt, who I was. Now, my aunt being the way she is, couldn’t tell the lady, “Oh, this is my nephew Keith”.
That would never do in her book. So, instead, she told the lady, “You remember him…he’s the one that wants to put up the possum-crossing signs”.
That lady’s face lit up like a Christmas tree as she ran over to where I was still sitting in my aunts car and proceeded to pinch my cheeks as though I were still five.
“Oh my gosh…look how you’ve grown”, She said as he opened the car door and made me get out so she could get a better look at me.
The redness in my face was a mixture of pinched cheeks and embarassment like you would not believe. My cheeks felt violated! Still, the fact that she remembered me and my brainy-idea was amazing to me.
I miss my Aunt…we were really close at one time but we haven’t spoken since my mom’s funeral. And, as for her friend, if you ever happen to read this…I’m still a strong supporter of Possum Crossing signs…it may never happen…but it should.
The lesson I learned from this is that, people really do remember the things you say. So, always think about what you say before you say it because those words will stick with the listener for a very, very long time. I love you Aunt R.
Oh, and for the record...I know that Opposum is spelled with an O at the beginning in every state...except mine. In the Carolinas we call'em possums...We save the O's for late at night!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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