The opossum is North America's only marsupial mammal. The female carries and nurses her young in her pouch until they are about 2 to 3 months old; then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 months whenever they are away from the den. They will eat almost anything including insects, snails, rodents, berries, over-ripe fruit, grasses, leaves, and carrion; occasionally will eat snakes, ground eggs, corn or other vegetables. They are very adaptable; able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist. They are at home in trees. An opossum uses its prehensile tail to help stabilize position when climbing— it does not, however, hang by its tail.
Here in Arkansas we refer to them as possums. Actually real possums only live in Australia and New Guinea. They have been introduced into New Zealand. That's OK, we still call our homely little creatures possums. We occasional have a possum that decides it wants to live with us.
OPIE AWESOME JUNIOR MOVES IN
This little guy decided that the house that we have for Moses our cat would be a great place to live. He stayed with us for several days, and we had a very difficult time persuading him to leave. Maybe I shouldn't have named him. I called him Opie Awesome Junior. Junior, because he was a young possum. He would stay just a few feet from the back door. He wasn't afraid of us, and I would have to turn the cat house upside down to get him out. I would then have to hit him with a broom to get him to leave the back porch. He was so ugly that he was cute, but our cat was afraid to come on the back porch, so Opie had to go.
OPIE AWESOME JUNIOR EATING THE CAT'S FOOD
We still have possums that come around the house, but no one has tried to take up residence here since Opie Awesome Junior. Maybe it is because our granddog Sally, a yellow lab, caught one on our back porch. I guess the word is out in Possumland not to come up on my back porch. It's too bad, sometimes I miss Opie.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.