Buddy and the Possum
(The further adventures of me and Buddy)
by Jim Porter
Now, me and Buddy don’t look for trouble, but somehow it always seems to find HIM!! If a cow had fallen in the boat on a certain trip out with Buddy, I'd probably be grateful. Buddy and I are on one of the little controlled lakes over in Suffolk, Va. Can't run motors over 10 HP, in those days. We are running around on trolling motor power only.
Buddy, eagle-eyed devil that he is, spots this yellow cat stranded on a log out in the lake. Never figured how it got there. It was dry and darn ready to climb off that log and into Buddy's lap.
Well, we fished on. Had a good old time. Went into a small, narrow cove with overhanging trees. Plop!!! 'Plop?', methinks. 'What goes plop in the boat?' Ah, ha!! Old eagle-eye has already spotted the possum that fell out of one of the trees. Landed right on a loose lure and stuck a hook in his foot, too. Buddy is up in the pedestal seat with his legs drawn up somewhere about his receding hairline. (Having stepped on courting possums in a briar thicket in the dark one time while making my way to a duck blind, I understand their temperament a little, so I'm looking for the nearest 'exit - stage right', too.)
The hook apparently made the possum either mad (or madder than falling out of the tree did)--- and, then, possum-sees-tomcat and tomcat-sees-possum. (For you who are uneducated in these types of worldly things, possums got small, VERY sharp teeth; hiss like cobra snakes; and, have no sense of humor at all.) Tomcats that have been stranded on logs in lakes recently appear to have no inclination to share their new-found dry boat place. Beside, a possum looks kinda like a big mouse!! You would have thought a hundred high-pressure air hoses had sprung leaks at the same time, with all the hissing and spitting and squalling going on.
By now, I was on the trolling motor heading for the nearest bank. I was going to be out of there. Buddy, of course, would have critters between him and the front of that boat (and the bank) when we got there, but that was a hazard of fishing. You really won't believe the next part. Buddy realized that the Speed Shad lure adorning the possum's leg was his and his 'cheapskate Charlie' mode shifted into gear. He decided he was going to get his lure back. Now, Buddy's hissing at the possum, too. Outnumbered, the possum goes under the console. Buddy comes down off his seat perch and gets the cat and starts sticking it under the console trying to get the possum to come out (after the cat, I suppose; never did figure what he was gonna do if the possum really did come out). The cat did not take to this as well as Buddy had hoped. The possum hissed and bit at the cat's nose, the cat hissed and climbed Buddy's arm and face, down his back and wound up on the top of the bib motor cowling.
By this time, I am laughing like blazes (partly because I am also coming to the bank). I jerk the trolling motor up at the last minute, the boat slides up on the sand and I jump out. Since the possum is under the console and Buddy can now get by him OK, I ask Buddy to pitch me a beer from the rear cooler before he gets out. He did. But, of course, he forgot one for himself. Then, he climbed forward to the bank and we waited. The cat, seeing the land, ran down the gunnel of the boat and jumped off. 30 minutes later, the possum came out from under the console and got up on Buddy's seat.
Now, Buddy realizes he didn't get himself a beer and the possum is sitting almost on the cooler lid. Buddy also wants the lure back. So, what would any enterprising angler do? He takes one of MY longer rods and rigs a slip-knot noose in the end of the line. Gonna catch that possum like the old dog-pound guy, he was. He inched out and, sure enough, he lassoed that possum. (Possums appear to have 4 major dislikes: falling out of trees, tomcats, hooks in the foot, and being lassoed; methinks they dislike the latter the most.)
Buddy's only saving graces were that he had tied a good knot that didn't slip and he could reel down to the possum and hold it safely at rod's length while he contemplated his next brilliant move. He shook that possum on the end of the rod and jerked him all around, trying to get the lure to fall loose. Finally, it was obvious to even the most casual observer, that the lure was embedded and NOT coming out. So, Buddy pulled (also spelled 'dragged')the possum down the length of the boat and onto the bank. Then, he turned and said, "here's you rod back." Wait a darn minute. It still had possum on it. By the time I tried to give him the rod back and tell him to get that damn animal off, Buddy was back in the boat and head-down in the beer cooler.
Well, what the hey. I dragged the possum out into the trees a way, cut the line and ran like hell back to the boat. It lightened my heart to see Buddy was sitting on the edge of the casting deck scraping that possum dookie off his shoe.
And, I didn't worry much about the pile now smeared across the carpet. It was his boat.
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