Sunday, September 12, 2010

To Get Anything Called "Possum Trot" for $20 Is A Steal

The first sentence of these things is always the hardest for me to write...especially when I know that the dead horse beating is about to commence. Convincing myself that some reasonably clever hook will craftily disguise the fact that what follows is basically "I like thoughtful presents and gestures," I put a lot of pressure on myself to come up with some moderately interesting angle and/or random tid-bit of nonsense that might spark interest. I know what you're thinking. I AM incredibly sneaky.

Today's hook: Cliches are cliches because most of us understand them, use them, and maybe even do them. I would love for someone to explain to me "beating a dead horse."
Today's advice: If you know someone has to move, even someone who is neither relative nor long-time friend, call and offer to help. Bring a trailer if you have one. Chalk up the vagabond's outfit and hair-do to moving day rather than bad taste. And do all of this with no ulterior motive.
Thank you so much Terry and Tommy Staley.

And, when you finish moving, start the first of two additional projects...
1) Design a card for someone based on something they've said or written, something that you know will resonate with and mean something to them, something that reminds them of the thoughtfulness and creativity that exist in the little world they are fortunate enough to share.

2) Take the time to write. Don't put pressure on yourself. Forget tailoring to a particular audience or to unnecessarily strict (and often self-inflicted) expectations. Have fun with it. And then, send it to someone who you know will appreciate it.
Thank you Fran Smith.
"Lying across the bed after a day of doing virtually nothing, my eyes drifted to a corner of the room I seldom view. Tucked in behind an antique dinner chair is one of my longtime possessions: a stuffed bear dubbed P.T. You see, I am a collector of ‘things’ (much to my husband’s and children’s chagrin) and teddy bears were probably the first items to seemingly multiply in our home.

I can’t exactly define when the bear phase began although it might be traced to my cousin Tommy, two years my senior. He lived in Chicago and made no effort to conceal his disdain for his ‘country’ cousin. He and his family only visited a couple of times annually but it was more than enough for us to end up in a tiff about anything and everything. His teddy bear accompanied him on one such trip and our time together was spent arguing, fighting, punching and tugging over that poor bear. Exasperated, his mother (my aunt) purchased an identical bear in Chicago and mailed it to me. For whatever reason, it was nearly six months before the bear, all of its limbs limply protruding from the tattered and much postmarked box from which it was mailed, made it to our mailbox. I am fairly certain it was love at first sight and Cub set up permanent residence in my bedroom then accompanied me to college, back home again and finally to my own home.

But back to P.T. . . . during my college days at Eastern KY University, I became friends with a classmate named Ginny. A married mother of two from out of state, she was infinitely more worldly (much more worldly!) than I could ever hope to be. Having gotten pregnant in high school, she had married her sweetheart, Les, had her children and settled wherever his job took them. Despite her family, Ginny was always restless, longing for the carefree days of being nothing more than a college coed intent on earning a degree along with a maximum amount of fun along the way. Perhaps it was that yearning for fun and freedom from responsibility which prompted her to begin an affair with a fraternity boy whose last name was Moore. A simple greeting of “How are you?” would prompt her standard reply of “Moore or Les,” referring to both her husband and the frat boy, followed by her characteristic laugh.

For reasons I never comprehended, Ginny liked me and we spent some time together outside of class and one evening I was invited to her home for dinner. I don’t recall what her house, children or husband looked like (oh yeah, it was a split level house) but I do have a vivid recollection of another dinner guest. Seated at the table, his nose buried in an empty dinner plate, was P.T. Ginny explained that her children thought it would be funny to include their bear in the dinnertime festivities. I learned P.T. stood for Possum Trot, the company which employed Ginny’s husband Les. Realizing how fond I was of the bear he offered to get me one at cost. And so in exchange for a $20 bill, I received my own P.T.

My older sister, never one for collecting or spending money on useless items, ridiculed my purchase the minute she saw P.T., claiming he was the ugliest stuffed animal she’d ever seen. P.T. continued to hide out in my bedroom, away from her cruel glances and comments. Then she began to think of way to torment me – and him. There was the day I made a mad dash out of my office at the newspaper to go to photograph a fire and there behind the wheel of my car sat P.T., his burly paws clutching the steering wheel as if he’d been waiting there all day to chauffeur me. Another time poor P.T. was nearly cut in two by the car’s window glass tightly rolled against his stuffed belly. Once he was suspended from the ceiling fan, a fake suicide note (I knew it had to be fake because even after four years of college P.T. still couldn’t hold a pencil!) pinned to his shoulder. What indignities my sister made that bear suffer!

Life is much more sedate for P.T. these days. He resides perched atop a Longaberger basket and looking rather festive in his own Hawaiian lei. He seems happy – except for my sister comes to visit. I won’t be surprised if those bear claws show themselves someday, despite his benign expression. He’s comfortable in his synthetic fur and resolved that neither sticks nor stones are going to break his absent bones."


  1. I have loved reading this!! I laughed out loud with the aside-"I knew it had to be fake b/c after four years of college P.T. still couldn't hold a pencil." Great ending as well! :)

  2. Lindsey, I laughed at that same line for about five minutes. I definitely think Fran should be a regular contributor to Pillow Book.

  3. You are such a talented person. I so enjoyed this entry and loved the card. I can see where Leah and Gabe get their intelligence and personalities..(of course, I'm sure Greg's genes are also a contributing factor) I know that P.T. is wearing a Hawaiian lei now, but does he ever change wardrobes for the seasons or holidays?

  4. I think it's funny...In Marshall County, there's a community called Possum Trot. I really couldn't make this up.

  5. Zach,
    I think you should borrow PT the next time you go home for a visit...take him to various spots in Possum Trot - gas stations, post office, dollar stores - and take pictures. Maybe Adrienne can tag along and be the photographer. I have a really professional looking cream skirt and jacket that she could borrow.

  6. that is awesome! I have a bean bag mole from Possum Trot I got when I was little in 1973 and he is so beat up and he gets tortured and hung. I am going nuts trying to find another one-i remember they had 2 sizes!