Bookends: The joys of a 3-year-old “opossum-hunting paleontologist” | Rogersville

Hello and welcome to The Bookend. Today was such a lovely day. I had to do a slew of errands all over the kingdom come. I was just dreading the day, but it was so nice outside that I decided to ride with it.

I stopped by a friend close to my family’s house for a visit. Her name is Jeanie Bradley. Our families have been friends for almost 80 years. It was at her house today that I had the honor of meeting a paleontologist opossum hunter. His name is Garner B and he was planning on doing a big dig in the yard for fossils, but he took a moment to tell me about his exciting career.

The eminent Mr. Garner B is Jeanie’s three-year-old grandson. Is he really an opossum hunter and a paleontologist? In his mind, he is, and quite frankly dear reader, that’s all that matters. His formal education is impressive however, he is a double major in pre-K, with a focus on animals and dinosaur fossils.

Garner B is full of self-confidence and enthusiasm for life. You see, Garner B was nurtured and taught to dream big by his mother, father, and also very importantly, by his grandmother Jeanie. Garner calls her grandmother by the name MaMaw.

MaMaw Jeanie plays a huge role in raising this little boy. This is why this section will be dedicated to all the grandmothers who play such an important role in the lives of their grandchildren.

These days, most mothers work every day of the week. If the mother is lucky, like Garner B’s mother, she has a good mother herself who can take care of the children. And in many, many cases today, the grandmother has custody of the grandchildren for various reasons.

So we live in a different culture, a culture where the grandmother often plays the role of mother. It is fortunate that many children have a grandmother, they belong to a self-sacrificing generation and to an age of wisdom.

So, I joined Garner B, MaMaw Jeanie and the family pet, a mixed dog named Maynard in the backyard opossum hunt. The excitement in the air was at its height. Garner held his MaMaw’s wooden cane like an expert with an elephant gun on safari. Maynard had his nose in the air, sniffing the scent of the opossums of yesteryear. MaMaw Jeanie spied one!!

The hunt was on! We charged across the lawn in full pursuit! Hit! Garner cornered a furry scary possum! Maynard was ready. My God, if anyone had more fun on a real opossum hunting safari, I’d love to meet them.

After our hunting success, we moved to what MaMaw Jeanie called “the excavation site”. It was actually a pile of dirt left over from a lawn project, but Garner began digging up the pile of dirt with feverish relish. I complimented him saying, “Garner, you are a hard working paleontologist!” Soon he discovered ‘fossils’, which were actually some kind of bug bones – whatever – the little guy was successful (real paleontologists probably found less than Garner B during a dig of one day, they might envy us).

By the end of our backyard adventures, we all had dirt on us, Maynard was exhausted and collapsed in the shade for a nap, but Garner was encouraged and happy. Hey, you gotta give it to MaMaw, she’s awesome. Her hip stays out of place, she’s got what I call a “hitch in her dizziness”, but honey, she’s on that possum and hunting for fossils like a chicken on a June bug. Go Mom!! This column is for all the imaginative MaMaws spending days with the grandkids!!

Well, you’ll be inspired to be creative, check out children’s books at your local library. Come join us for our hunt for opossums and fossils, until next week, have a nice week, and have a nice literary week! Therese Parent