I grew up in the city. My dad never took me hunting and the only time I went was with a group of friends. We found more natural weeds and beer than we did red meat. But we had fun, and shot our guns and almost got arrested for being stupid.
My family did go camping every year. We rented some cabins in a state park for a full week. We’d fish and walk trails and hang out around the campfire at night. As it turns out, the last time we got together before mom passed away was the year I booked late and had to get a primitive site on the other side of the park. Which was fine, we had a three room tent and all the accoutrements for a proper camping week.
It also necessitated driving across the park a couple of times a day for supplies, clothing changes, and other things which I dutifully did without complaint. This trip was special to me because I had missed the prior couple of years due to a nasty divorce. I also had my beautiful new lady friend with me. Showing her off to my family, especially my clearly jealous brothers, was sweet satisfaction. For whatever reason, she brought her daughter too.
They grew up in the country. They can skin a deer, carry fish eyes in their pocket for fun and running the four-wheeler on the levee at night was expected a few times a month. They also spoke with a full southern accent that my Indiana family enjoyed for all the wrong reasons. Being a city boy I preferred a night at the theater or experiencing a new restaurant with close friends. But she was so pretty and fun and spoke like that and she really liked me a lot.
My beautiful girlfriend’s Satanic spawn of demons and I didn’t have a good relationship. She was used to burping and farting and being really loud whenever her country barn raised self said it was okay to be like that. That didn’t sit well with my full range of words spoken in God’s English while properly dressed for dinner self. We clashed and, much later, I found out her recent ex-dad was coaching her on how to make my life miserable. He was a good coach.
So, the country demon child, my angelic daughter and I were riding back across the state park nearing dusk and I spotted an animal that I couldn’t easily identify. The park was full of raccoons. This raccoon looked a bit thin but was alone and in the light of near dusk appeared to be really lightly shaded. So I stopped the car and backed up to a safe viewing distance and declared it an albino raccoon. I went on to explain that at my advanced age I had never seen one and they, my daughter and my girlfriends spawn of Satan, should take it in because no matter how long they live, they may never see one again.
Regardless, we are in the country, at the state park, in the devil’s lair and the little demon is shining with her fishing, farting and burping skills. She and my mom hit it off so I had to be openly nice to her or get in trouble with mom. Anyway, we’re parked on the state road parkway, a tree-lined slice of heaven in the Indiana summer sun, near dusk, staring at this unique creation of our Heavenly Father. Behold, an albino raccoon.
I see the demon child fidgeting in the back seat like she is about to let go of a deeply held broccoli fart so I give her that look. She looks down and in the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard her emit says “David, that’s a Possum’.