1 January 2005

Happy New Year

In New York the city celebrates the new year with the famous apple drop.
In Atlanta they have the Peach drop.
In Brasstown, North Carolina, they have the Possum Drop.
This year we attended the annual Possum Drop to get a true experience of Southern hospitality. Arriving there at about 10:00pm with the Morris family, there was already quite a crowd gathered around the stage set up beside the gas station that has hosted the Possum Drop for the last sixteen years. The host for the evening warmed up the well-dressed crowd (lots of warm clothing and silly hats) with some good tales and commentary. Did you know that if you get lost in the woods, just find a possum trail and follow it straight to the road?
The organiser said that they had a lot of hassle from the animal rights people. He reckoned that it is easier to adopt a child than get permission to drop a possum. Four licenses were required and the fees were under $1,000 – WELL under $1000. The gas station was tastefully decorated in the possum theme, complete with outlines of run over possums on the ground. The hill opposite had a Hollywood style sign stating “BRASSTOWN” with a large possum sign above.
A very fancy limousine stopped at the kerb and a way was made through the crowd. Dignitaries then opened the car door and brought out this year’s host possum.
US possums (actually called Opossums) are NOTHING like Australian possums. They look more like an overgrown rat than a cute toy. If anyone has seen the film “The Princess Bride”, the Opossum reminds us of the ROUS (Rodents Of Unusual Size).
The possum is then carried on the shoulders of one of the assistants and placed in a specially constructed cage. Unfortunately the cage wasn’t strong enough, so they carefully rebuilt it with appropriate amounts of Duct Tape. (The all purpose repair tape – similar to The Force in Star Wars – It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together).
The cage is then fastened to a rope and pulled up to a prepared metal frame so it hangs around about 20 feet in the air. We were then shown a video of the epic feats to which the organizing group went through to capture the possum, a “beauty” contest in which various local celebrities (men) dressed up as fashion queens, “Redneck” music and jokes until it finally came time for the year’s end.

The Possum dropping in Brasstown, North Carolina.

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