the way out here

Roadkill rewards

By HUNTER HILL
Posted 12/23/20

I don’t believe in luck, just to be clear. I don’t believe in karma, or fortune, or any superstitious force that balances positive and negative events. I do believe in God, however, and I …

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the way out here

Roadkill rewards

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I don’t believe in luck, just to be clear. I don’t believe in karma, or fortune, or any superstitious force that balances positive and negative events. I do believe in God, however, and I always feel better knowing that the one overseeing my misfortunes—and likewise, my blessings—has a vested interest in my wellbeing as opposed to some anonymous, indifferent cosmic essence. It makes a world of difference when something good or bad happens to me and how I am able to respond to it. A God who loves me may allow misfortune to befall me if only to teach me or direct me. It may even be that my misfortune has nothing to do with me, but rather someone else who can be blessed through those circumstances. On the other hand, I have someone I can directly thank every time anything good happens in my life. There is no good thing that cannot be attributed to God.

It was with this thankful happenstance that he dropped a blessing in my lap this past week.

Driving down the road on my way to an evening class I was taking, I noticed up ahead some roadkill. As I approached, I slowed down to determine what it was and whether or not to stop and remove it from the road or if it was too far damaged to be able to do so. Upon my approach, however, I noticed it was a beautifully intact raccoon. Typically when you see a raccoon in the road, it has been hit several times and the injuries they sustain make them unapproachable to say the least. So I decided to get out and take a closer inspection. Upon prodding it with my foot, I determined that it was indeed dead. As an aside, the River Reporter’s Amanda Reed can attest that I don’t always evaluate the death of roadkill entirely accurately. Once this time last year, I picked up another raccoon and tossed it hurriedly into the back of my truck on the way to her place. Wanting to show off my find (because that’s what us rednecks do), I showed her the prize only for her to point out it was now moving. Details aside, we dispatched the animal humanely and I learned to always take an extra moment to properly establish if an animal is indeed deceased.

Back to the story at hand: I picked up the raccoon in the road, noting that it was still fresh—rigor mortis had not yet set in—and deposited the find in the trunk of my car. For the record, I do have a furbearers license and use it in situations like this to make the most of an otherwise wasted animal.

Upon return from my class that night, I hung up my find and brought the woodstove in my shed to life with a few old copies of the River Reporter and some scrap wood from my chicken building project. Shedding my coat, I set to work on the raccoon and soon had it skinned, fleshed and stretched.

One could say it was a lucky find, but as I said, I don’t believe in luck. The way out here, we thank the Lord for every blessing he gives us. I may never see another usable raccoon just waiting in my path again. But for the one that God gave me, I appreciate it and take the rewards that come with it. Not everyone goes around picking up roadkill, but in the words of my country kin, “five dollars is five dollars, best not to leave good money lying around.” I’ve not yet decided whether I will sell the fur or keep it, but a part of me thinks my son could use a new coonskin cap for his birthday in March.

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