Playing Possum

July 6th, 2009

Playing Possum - Family Portrait

No, I want the opossum to sleep in my bed.

(submitted by Ernie)

95 Responses to “Playing Possum”

  1. Ashley says:

    Love this pic and the story behind it. I’ve recently started feeding possums accidentally and have learned a lot about them. They avoid confrontation at all costs, are not good at defending themselves, won’t bite unless you grab a wild one, are very good for the environment and it is EXTREMELY rare to find a possum with rabbies. They are immune to most diseases…more than our cats and dogs. I actually had a momma with a baby on her back come up to eat last week and it was the cutest thing ever! At first, I ran them off but now that I’ve done my research, I just leave them alone and let them eat and drink. Hey, if they’ll eat the snails, insects, mice and snakes around my place, they can have some of the stray cats’ food and water!

    Thanks for the picture!

  2. Lila says:

    Looks like they just stopped in to get their photo snapped for the church directory and picked up a little something along the way…

  3. Eric says:

    Shouldn’t this be in the Thanksgiving Dinner section?

  4. Kate says:

    Being from tennessee this is just priceless! Sorry to hear about your cousin..thank you for sharing this and your story!

  5. Anne says:

    What a great family, to be willing to humor their grandmother by going to get a portrait taken on the spur-of-the-moment – and what a cool grandmother to include the ‘possum!

  6. Shane_L says:

    This is freaking awesome. I could not stop laughing my *** off when I saw this photo. I must have scrolled through 40 photos that just looked normal. But when I saw this, WOW.

    My first inclination was…Well I won’t say. When I read your response my stereo type thinking was smashed. This is the most oddest and awkward photo I have seen EVER.

  7. Jeana says:

    Hey! Great photo, Ernie! Mary, I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s death from the accident. It’s great that you’ve shared this hilarious photo with us. I’ve shared it with friends on Facebook.

  8. Katy says:

    one of those kids will narrate a story on This American Life if they don’t cancel it in the next 8 years.

  9. Hallie says:

    Oh man, sleeping with possums is not funny!
    A couple weeks ago I was sleeping in my house (I do not live in a rural area) and a possum came in and crawled on me while I was sleeping…and peed in my bed. Sick! Don’t see how anyone could have one as a pet.

  10. Ernie says:

    Thanks for all the nice comments. It doesn’t bother me to read all the hilarious comments poking fun at me, my cousin and the photograph.

    Michael and I were the only two boys of all the cousins on my mother’s side, so he was really like a brother to me growing up. He died doing what he loved, and we all miss him terribly. Mike was a a tow-truck driver, and at his funeral there were literally hundreds of people, and dozens of wreckers. Mike’s wife got a special permit so that they could transport his casket on the back of his wrecker (and it was bungie corded down!) and at every stoplight on the back roads between Douglasville and Marietta where he is buried, there was a tow-truck with it’s lights on blocking traffic for us.

    At one point, a car tried to pass on the right to pass the funeral procession, and some of Mike’s friends headed it off, and almost got into a fistfight with the driver (which was right in front of us). I turned to my wife and said, “that is how Mike would have wanted it: A fight at his funeral!”

    In any case, the hat my uncle is wearing is from Southern Tech (Which is Southern Poly now) and my grandfather’s hat was advertising some feed store. My grandfather has a masters degree, and my grandmother (his wife) had a PhD. I just got my MBA, so it just goes to show you that you can’t educate the redneck out of a redneck.

    • Jaimee says:

      Grandma didn’t have a PhD. She had a Masters in Education with certification in teaching those with learning disabilities. (Just for clarification :)) Happy belated B-day cous!

    • Aimes says:

      Okay, I just told my mother this story and she remembers Mike. She actually knows some of your family. I knew you and Mike looked familiar, though I’m still not sure how I would know you. Mom knows your family from her old church.

      Very cool stories about the photo and the funeral. Hope you’re well.

  11. Jesus Garza says:

    Fabulous pix. Keep it up!

  12. Shaydie says:

    There’s a man who likes to walk around my neighborhood with a possum slung over his shoulders. And no, it’s not out in the country, we’re in a suburb of Seattle.

  13. Colby Cheese says:

    I can’t take my eyes of this photo. There’s just something about it…

  14. Rebecca says:

    LOL… haha the kid in the red jacket looks like hes a little freaked by the opossum that is stalking the back of his head

  15. D says:

    This is what you get when those portrait companies do cold-calls offering a ‘free 8 x 10′

  16. j says:

    Here in the Fl. panhandle there is a Possum Festival in Wausau, n. of Panama City. Except they eat them.
    …One night I came home after dark with a large bag of cat food. I set it on the porch to bring in later. So ‘later’ (abt 1 hr) I brought it in. It made a noise. I jumped, and so did a miniature possum-out of possum heaven, aka the bag of cat food. In the time it took me to get it, a baby had chewed a hole in the bag and made himself at home.

  17. Jessica says:

    I love this photo! It’s cute as can be and gave me a good chuckle.

  18. Chels says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love the story behind this one… Hope you had a great birthday, Ernie!

  19. Laura says:

    This is so funny! I have read the comments and Sorry about your cousin, I know you wouldn’t have posted this picture if you didn’t think it wasn’t funny yourself. That is the beauty of this site, people are willing to poke fun at themselves while entertaining others. The only possum I have seen that are actually living was a mom and her babies at our community college after class. We live in a small town with lots of woods around, so it must have seemed like a great place to have her babies, unfortunatly the local animal catcher was called and probably “re-located”. So thanks for the laugh, I truly enjoyed this pic.

  20. Lesley says:

    Is the possum wearing some kind of scarf??

  21. Chuck Martel says:

    This was my family when I was eleven years old. Up front, that’s me with my cousin Greg. Uncle Murray with the hat. And that’s my cousin Jack holding the possum.

  22. notpicperfect says:

    A few years back I was out in the backyard at night with my Chihuahua, when I wanted her to come back inside she would not listen, I kept chasing her in the overgrown grass and when I finally had her cornered I realized that it wasn’t by dog, the Chihuahua was happily inside and I had cornered a fast moving (and not to happy) opossum (and boy do they have sharp looking canines)

  23. dsto says:

    fantastic! Americana at it’s best! Thanks for sharing your photo and story.

  24. Oh. My. Goodness. This might just be a new favorite.

  25. sookie says:

    this is a GREAT photo!!! love it.

  26. Joni says:

    This is just p’awesome.

    And I’m glad to find out the story behind the photo… it looks like someone said “Hey, we should get a photo taken with our possum” and that’s basically what happened!

  27. TdF says:

    I am forced to admit that that the photo’s possum looks cute, so I am conflicted — I want to shoot on-sight the possum that has been messing with my flower beds.

  28. Cee says:

    I like this photo. It would have been better – and perhaps regarded as “historic” instead of “awkward” had it been in black and white or sepia. Also, Buddy the possom should have been a little more forward and not hidden.

    That’s a rocking photo. It really is. :-)

  29. tait says:

    sadly, my cat looks just like this possum. he acts like one too: he fights raccoons, probably possums, and neighborhood cats and then comes inside to bite us. if my cat made the look that that possum us making, he’d be about to bite you.
    this picture also reminds me of my family in lawrence county, tennessee. it’s amazing, but everyone in that county and the neighboring counties really are related in some way.
    courtnie and ernie: a barrel in the backyard?! and he just kept it? males can be pretty menacing. but this one seems pretty cuddly…

    • Courtnie says:

      They can be mean, but once they get use to you they are not that bad. We played with him like a puppy. Sad but we had more than one as pets. Even raised a mom with babies.

    • HollyNW says:

      tait, are you sure your cat ISN’T a possum?

  30. arch says:

    Possum! Thats awesome!

  31. Melba says:

    That’s a pretty cute possum! I’ve never seen one that wasn’t smushed on the road.

  32. Libby says:

    Yeah, but what about the possum? Where did it come from?

  33. Ernie says:

    The kid on the left is me. I have had years of therapy, and have finally recovered from this photo.

    The kid on the right was my younger cousin, who was killed a few years back in a motorcycle accident. The two gentlemen were my uncle and grandfather.

    Today is my 39th birthday, so this must have been about 30 years ago. I am embarrassed to say that this photo was sort of planned. We were out working in the pasture splitting firewood, and when we came in from lunch, my grandmother apparently thought we looked photogenic, and made us get in the car over to Olan Mills in Douglasville, Georgia.

    Glad I could share the joy on this one. Whenever I see it, the Dukes of Hazard theme starts playing in my head…”Just some good ole boys, never meanin’ no harm…”

    • Lamech says:

      …and the possum?

    • Mary says:

      Happy Birthday Ernie! Mike would be so proud to have this honor.
      Aunt Mary

    • howaboutthat says:

      sorry about your cousin

    • Shana says:

      Sorry to hear about your cousin. It must be hard to see all of the comments above poking fun..

    • Shaunna says:

      Happy Birthday! I want a pet possum!!!! Sorry to hear about your cousin :(


      Happy Birthday, Ernie! You and Mike were really cute kids.


      ALSO… I think we might be related.

    • MBSS says:

      Happy Birthday! What a great sport you are to share this. Thanks for sharing this photo and story. You gave us all a good chuckle!
      I share the sentiments of the others when I extend my sympathy regarding the loss of your cousin.

    • Kat says:

      The sad thing is……….. I live not far from Douglasville, Ga…….. in Paulding County…. hahahaha

    • Aimes says:

      I’m from D’ville… and you and your cousin look familiar. Sorry to learn of your cousin’s death. Happy belated B’day, I hope you’re doing well.

      • Courtnie says:

        I wonder if we know each other. We lived in D’ville for a long time.

        • Aimes says:

          I lived there from birth (1970) until 1991. We lived off Kings Hwy.

          • Tiffany says:

            My sister, Courtnie, and my brother from the picture all went to Lithia any where from like 91-97

        • Aimes says:

          It won’t let me reply to Tiffany, so I’ll post here. I went to Lithia for two years and then graduated from Alexander in 88. So it still doesn’t explain how I would know Mike and/or Ernie. But (as I mentioned in a reply to Ernie) my mom knows some of Mike’s family. (She went to church
          with them.)

          • Kathy says:

            My best friend Tammy lived in Douglasville and graduated in 1987. She passed away in 1989, and seeing all this Douglasville talk just makes me think of her and her family.

          • Mary says:

            Who is your mother?

            Mike’s mom

          • Aimes says:

            My mom’s name is Sandra. She used to go to a small Christian
            church that no longer exists. She remembers the family and
            how close one of the little boys was to Mike (because the
            boy’s biological father lived out of state).

          • Tiffany says:

            We all graduated in the late 90s. Ernie lived in D-ville when he was a kid, but who knows. Back then D-ville was pretty small and everyone seemed to know everyone. If your mom went to church with any one from our family, she went with everyone:) Whats here name, I probably know her too and that might help me figure it out.

    • MCMG says:

      Ernie and Mary: so sorry about your tragic loss.
      I love the sense of humor you both have. “…years of therapy, and have finally recovered from the photo.” Mary, I don’t know your son, but people who are funny during their time here on Earth like to be honored with funny stories- and pictures- about and of them shared by others. Awesome pic and awesome tribute to your family! This is a hilarious picture! Grandma knew what she was doing when she sent you all to the photographer that day:-)

  34. gb says:

    Hilarious, just hilarious.

  35. Family Man says:

    Bet they know the difference between a crossbow and a compound bow.

  36. Penny says:

    Oh my. I just don’t know what else to say. I do have a few questions though.
    1. Was this photo planned – and if so is this what is considered ‘dressing up’?
    2. Is that possum (is that really what it is? never met one) coming out of the man’s jacket?
    3. Where do I get me a hat like that?

    • Mary says:

      Yes, the photo was planned. For some reason my brother had pet possums and they thought this would be a unique picture. It was taken about 25 years ago.

      • May Ann Naze says:

        The guy with the opossum looks like my cousin Troy Wayne. Plus, what Penny said..where do I get me a hat like that?

  37. Heather says:

    I think these are my neighbors. No….Seriously.

  38. NuttyMom says:

    Love it!!

  39. Denise says:

    That’s one photogenic possom!

  40. Kattjake says:

    Must be a commerative photo of bring your kids and possum to work day.

  41. Seriously Distracted says:

    I wonder why big brother is giving the photographer the stink-eye?

  42. nicswife says:

    are they opossum farmers perhaps?

  43. Elise says:


  44. Jeff says:

    Why does the kid on the right look so grossed out? You would too if you had to smell possum breath.

  45. MomToOne says:

    LMAO….I can’t think of anything else to say….funny

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