Possum hunting on Hubble Creek
May 2, 2006
Because of printing schedules, I am writing this Mother’s Day article one and a half weeks early and this is good for you! This is meant to be a FIRST reminder for you to plan your activities and gift for Mother’s Day, May 14.
All of us have a mother and grandmothers. If we think about it just a little, there are some historic moments we can reflect on with fondness. Some are personally defining moments, some are character developing moments and some are just funny.
There was one event that was especially exciting for me. Looking back, it is actually pretty silly. It was the night my grandmother took me, my sister and two cousins on a possum hunt. Now this was no ordinary possum hunt. This had all the characteristics of a Grand Safari on the grasslands of Africa. It was just that exciting! This is the stuff that memories are made of.
My grandparents had all the grandkids over to their house for this special event. We were told about it for days and anxiously awaited the calendar pages to be torn off to “the day”. After the hunt, if successful, we would have a fur to sell; after the hunt, we would spend the night at Grandma’s. This meant games, cake, milk, singing silly songs and listening to grandma’s poems and laughter. One of the great poems was titled, “How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood?” So you see, this was going to be no ordinary night.
To make this Grand Safari even more exciting was theplace we were to hunt. It was along a creek that was right across the street from where my grandparents lived. It doesn’t matter that the hunting grounds were along Hubble Creek, which runs right through the City Park of Jackson, Mo.! Seem passive to you? Not to a bunch of kids that ranged from 5 to 8 years old. No sir, this was desperate country at night, when you possum hunt.
Since I was the oldest, my grandfather gave me the .22 rifle to carry. Wow! What an awesome responsibility! Only later, when we returned to the house and got in the light did I see him reinstall the firing pin he had taken from the rifle before giving it to me. No matter, because for that one-hour-long hunt, I was one tall-standing eight-year-old. I felt that the honors of manhood had been bestowed upon me by my grandfather.
Well, a fifty-something-year-old grandmother with four flashlight-equipped grade-schoolers in a city park with no dog just don’t have much opportunity to sneak up on ole Mr. Possum. I was so disgusted with the childishness of my sister and cousins who thought this was a party. I was convinced that it was their fault that we didn’t sneak up on and find Mr. Possum.
We sure did have a lot of fun afterward. I am just sure Grandma made the best Mississippi mud chocolate cakes in the whole world in those days. That cake just demanded cold milk.
Yes, it is funny, but this little boy still remembers the adventure. In fact, it set in my heart a desire to create adventures with my sons and daughter and whoa! We have had them! Everything from tree climbing, canoeing down dangerous streams (Missouri’s Current River among our many conquests), to catching alligators bare-handed and even turning a boat over in a storm on the Atlantic Ocean! Thank you for reading about our possum hunt. Now, here’s the point of this whole article.
Take the children of your life on great adventures. The adventure obviously can be sized to fit the size of the child. It could be an ice cream cone stop every Wednesday night after church, a possum hunt on Hubble Creek, a southern Missouri float trip or a hunting/camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. No matter the age, build memories with them. Leave a legacy of memories with the children of your life or neighborhood. It’s been nearly fifty years since my possum hunt on Hubble Creek in the city park of Jackson, but I still remember it!
My grandmother is in heaven now. She met Jesus face to face about three years ago. She was a central link in the process that brought me to Christ. We will soon be reunited and maybe we can relive this high adventure just as we had on Mother’s Days past. It is the powerful influence of mothers who shape young lives.
Pediatric specialists tell us that fifty percent of everything a child learns in a lifetime is built into them by age five! Mom, be the great influencer of your child in the most critical days of their lives.