Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Easter

As we all know, the celebration of Easter is a mélange of Christian and pagan celebrations. One is the commemoration of the ministry, death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, Jesus; and the other is an observance of the vernal equinox, the coming of spring and the new life offered thereby.

So you have the Easter bunny, decorated eggs and the Risen Savior, all at one time. In East Texas, however, there is a fete involving not the Easter bunny, but the Easter Possum.

While considered a nuisance and an ugly, prehistoric, giant rat-like creature, the opossum is a gentle marsupial with no malice for anyone. Actually, they have a taste for snails and slugs and snakes, the three favorite creatures to hate.

In the Eastern part of Texas, the locals revere the possum as a food source and the harbinger of spring. This time of year, the woods are rife with possum. You can’t drive down a country road at night without risking a close encounter. And at Easter time, you need to watch out, because the possum you swerve to miss may be the celebrated Easter Possum. This messenger of the season is decked out in a gray fur coat and the special set of 42 teeth. In the marsupial pouch, she carries eggs, candy and baby possum, the symbol for summer barbeques. Typically, the children leave nests of clover, pine needles and snails for the Easter Possum to enjoy on her nightly rounds. There is also a small plug of chewing tobacco for luck guarding the Easter Possum against locals with a .410.

Sometimes pickings get slim in East Texas, especially in the counties where the logging industry has sagged, and although it’s not recommended or encouraged, it is perfectly acceptable to revere the Easter Possum next to potatoes and poke salad.


Rob V. said...

Well, Jesus fooled 'em all. He showed He was not just playin' possum.

paper boy said...

mighty good writing for such a young geezer writer