Country roads, take me home Staff 12/30/2006 I#8217;m originally from West Virginia, or as it is known back there, #8220;West By God Virginia,#8221; and every once in awhile something will occur that

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 30, 2006

I’m originally from West Virginia, or as it is known back there, “West By God Virginia,” and every once in awhile something will occur that stirs memories of my upbringing.

One such incident happened recently involving my boss, News-Herald Publisher, and fellow West Virginian, Andy Prutsok.

He told me his in-laws were coming to visit and chatted about some of the things his father-in-law would be helping him with, such as getting the riding lawn mower working again, and so forth. Like me, Andy isn’t what one would call mechanically inclined. In fact, we’re both more inclined to call a mechanic.

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One morning, during this family visit, he came in to work and started telling me about what had happened the night before. And it was then I had a vision of West Virginia that many of you already have in your minds (see the photo I found).

It seems Andy had a possum living under his deck that would come out at night and root around the yard looking for food, or come up to the window and harass the family dog.

After telling his father-in-law about the critter, it was decided that the two of them would set a trap and rid the home of the nuisance.

Andy said they took a dog crate n I pictured one of those molded plastic ones you see people carry in airports n some cat food, a rock and a rope in order to put their plan into place.

Then he said the two of them sat back n Andy drinking a beer and “dad” something a little stronger n and waited.

While he never went into great detail on how they rigged their possum trap, a very vivid vision came to my mind.

There they were, on the back porch of suburbia, with the dog crate sitting as far away as the rope would allow, door open, rope tied around rock, rock resting over the top of the cage and on the wire door, an opened (I do hope they opened it) can of cat food inside crate. All they needed now was one possum to complete the equation.

Then I began to wonder what they intended to do should that critter show its ugly face.

Would the possum go inside, open the can if it wasn’t already opened, or simply begin to eat from it if they had pulled the top off? And once inside, how do the rope and the rock come into play?

Did they expect the possum, becoming groggy from over eating, or tired from having to figure out how to open the cat food can, to walk slowly out of the cage, and then one of the hunters pull the rope, which moves the rock from its point of balance, causing it to fall on the animal’s head?

Then what? I doubt the rock falling from mere inches above the animal’s head would be enough to kill it. It might knock it out, or at the very least really make it mad.

Would they then rush the animal, kick it into the dog crate and latch the door before it knew what hit it n literally and figuratively?

And what were they doing while they waited? I could only picture them leaning back in their straight-back chairs, or moving back and forth in a rocker, their thumbs locked behind the straps of their overalls, watching, waiting, and occasionally turning their head away to spit some tobacco juice into the yard.

I even imagined one of them with a corncob pipe in his mouth, puffing away while watching and waiting for the beast to arrive. Or maybe it wasn’t a pipe n perhaps a piece of straw.

Well, anyway, it’s what I saw in my mind’s eye when I heard the story.

As for the possum, I don’t know if they ever caught it or not. I’ll have to ask.

But either way, it was nice to go home, even if just for a few brief moments.

Grant is the managing editor of the News-Herald. Contact him at, or 934-9603.