Some Short-Short Stories By The Old Timer
A Tobacco Chewing 'Possum
by Norris Chambers
When I started placing my stories online "A Tobacco Chewing 'Possum" was the first story and carried the caption "Introduction To Old Timer's Tales" and the following preface.
This story really has no "Old Timer" significance except that it is old. It is the first story I ever had published...it was printed in the Cross Plains Review and was the first of many. One was printed each week under the column heading of "CHILDREN'S BEDTIME STORY" and continued until my graduation in the Spring of 1935. I don't know how many kids this one put to sleep, but I wouldn't recommend it for adult reading material, especially after nine o'clock at night. Keep watching this page for Old Timer Tales from a genuine Old Timer.
One day in November she was sleeping in a shallow hollow, high above the ground, when the raucous sound of several voices came pealing across the great forest. . She yawned, stretched her cramped legs, and stood up to look over the rim of the hollow. She saw five boys walking toward the -toward the tree, she thought - and they were taking turns biting off thick hunks of the thick brown tobacco.
"Oh, how I would like a taste of that food," thought Polly, as she watched cunningly from the high tree top. She thought of it so much that she actually began to devise schemes to gain possession of a bite. She thought that she might crawl down the other side of the tree, for they had quit walking and ware seated in its shade. She could stay behind the trunk and steal upon them from behind. Maybe she could steal the tobacco out of one of their pockets without them finding it out until it was too late to do anything about it.
"Anything that is worth thinking about is worth trying," thought the 'possum, and she crawled out of the hollow. "If they catch me, the worst thing that can happen will be murder, skinning and my decoration of a new fur coat."
Her plan was working very effectively, for she was already behind the one who carried the precious food. They were so absorbed in talking about how they were outwitting the farmer that they did not notice a 'possum slowly and cautiously put its front foot into the boy's coat pocket nor did they notice Polly Possum steal quietly into the underbrush with half a plug of Kentucky Twist, the strongest tobacco made.
"Hey! My tobacco's gone!" roared the boy as he felt into his pocket for the half plug of Kentucky Twist. "Which one of you varmints took it?"
"Not me," returned the red headed one wearing the straw hat with a hole in the brim. "Nor me," answered the slim one. The fat one said, "Don't look at me. I've been over here all time."
Jack, the poor fellow who lost his tobacco was looking all around the tree and in the grass and leaves. "I'll murder the thief that got my tobacco." But no one admitted to taking it. "There's strange actions up Salt Creek, one of you boys - " His quotation was cut off by strangled, muffled snarl in the low underbrush to the right.
"What in the thunder is wrong?" cried one of the boys. "Something's in there and - -" The snarl came again, louder and more fierce than ever!
"Let's get out of here," one of the boys suggested. There was no argument, and they started running toward the house, looking back occasionally to see if something was chasing them.
Meanwhile, back in the brush, Polly was heaving and choking and making some terrible sounds. She was sick. Never had she felt so terrible. Brown tobacco juice was dripping from her mouth. She tried to climb the tree to the safety of her favorite hollow, but she was too sick. She staggered around for a half minute, then crawled pitifully back into the brush. Sometime that night she was able to get to the creek and drink a lot of water. Somehow she managed to get to her tree nest and begin a long nap. She didn't even think of eating. If she survived, that would have to come later.
Nothing can make you sicker than swallowing tobacco juice. Polly had eaten the brown stuff like you might eat chocolate cake, and she had learned a very valuable lesson. Never fool with tobacco. Until you get addicted to it, it can make you very sick. If you do start using it, it cannot really help you. It just costs. It isn't good for your health. If you start using tobacco, you will always wish you hadn't.
Polly sure wished she had left it alone. The moral to this story is, don't fool with tobacco just because you see someone else using it.
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