Review: The Whispering Possum Inn and Tavern: The original sixpie?


June 3rd, 2020 – The Whispering Possum Inn and Tavern is Puddlegulch’s fine dining experience.  Established 1955 in one of the oldest and grandest houses in Puddlegulch, it was built in 1895 by Puddlegulch royalty: Thadeous Felcher.  He owned Felcher’s Butcher Shop in downtown Puddlegulch which went out of business during the depression.  There is no relation to the current Feltcher’s Butcher Shop (with a “T”) and don’t let Floyd tell you otherwise.

There is a question of which Puddlegulch restaurant holds the original legendary sixpie recipe.  A sixpie is a Puddle Possum Pot Pie with savory persimmon pudding (a six “p” pie).  The owners of The Whispering Possum, the Caldwell family, claim to have found the original recipe from the Felcher family in a coffee can in the cellar.

Last Saturday night, I visited The Whispering Possum to try this pie.  I was greeted by a grieving Denise Caldwell who had just lost her mother, Lorretta Caldwell.  The inn was a tribute to squirrels that Lorretta had cared about deeply.  There were many stuffed squirrels, paintings of squirrels, squirrel miniatures, and a magnificent squirrel quilt hanging in the foyer with real squirrel tail worked into the pattern.

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Persimmon Pudding

 

I would describe the dining room as quaint and intimate.  Denise sniffled through the specials, but I already knew what wanted, and her face lit up when I ordered the sixpie; their specialty.  When the waiter came, I asked him what a good wine pairing would be.  He recommended a Sauvignon Blanc with a shot of local moonshine to chase the possum.

The pie was a small, individual-sized pie with a rustic flaky crust served with a small molded pudding which I worked into bites of the pie.  The filling was surprisingly sophisticated: glazed huckleberries, a hint of country moonshine, sliced carrots and cabbage, and a creamy possum gravy.  The possum itself was tender and not at all gamey.  The persimmon gave it just the right balance of tart.

But I do not think this is the original recipe.  Huckleberries are in no way indigenous to Puddlegulch.  I mentioned this to the ever-weeping Denise when she came to check on me, and her grief exploded into fury.  Her younger brother, Seth, grabbed me by the collar  and dragged me through the foyer where the squirrels seemed to glare at me.  It was quite traumatic.

I give 4 stars to the food, but only 2 stars for the service.  I’ve been thrown out of many restaurants, but the squirrels have continued to haunt me.

Alexander Preston is an occasional guest food and entertainment columnist of The Puddlegulch Post.  He attended the Clarke County Food Handling prep class and has performed in the last three performances of A Christmas Carol at the Whistlestop Theatre. He’s traveled to all of the neighboring counties reviewing local restaurants and school/community theater performances.  He ended his travels after his controversial review of Tompauk High School’s performance of “Once Upon a Mattress” which he inappropriately described as “a glorious ode to horizontal recreation”

TMI: Parents decry eye-opening zoo trip

Jolene Butterworth, Education and General Assignment Reporter – Several parents spoke out at Tuesday night’s Puddlegulch School Board meeting against the recent fourth-grade field trip to the Russellville Zoo.

“What those kids saw was not in the approved biology curriculum,” said Susan Fornier, a parent chaperone for the trip.

Just what the students saw was not discussed in open session due to the delicacy of the situation, but fourth-grade teacher Mabel Haskins sent a letter of apology home with her pupils last Friday.

School Board President Fred Hobson said Miss Haskins was not aware that the zoo had made some “controversial changes” to the educational displays outside the primate enclosure. Noah’s ark had been replaced by some sort of “Darwinist tract.”

Inside the enclosure, Mr. Hobson said, several bonobos were “behaving inappropriately with each other.” 

“I tried to pull my Jordan away, but he was riveted,” said Connie Temple, the other chaperone. “There’s no end to the questions now.”

The board voted unanimously to prohibit trips to the Russellville Zoo until further notice.

A response to corruption in the mayor’s office and an ill-gotten brown betty

Dear Puddlegulch Post Editor,

There comes a time when a man has got to stand up for what he believes in and that moment was when Elsie Hightower’s brown betty was used for ill-gotten gains with our dear Mayor Townsend.  That’s right ILL-GOTTEN GAINS.

Dear Puddlegulch Post Editor,

There comes a time when a man has got to stand up for what he believes in and that moment was when Elsie Hightower’s brown betty was used for ill-gotten gains with our dear Mayor Townsend.  That’s right ILL-GOTTEN GAINS.

When I was taking my morning walk down Possum Hollow Road toward town I passed by Elsie’s house and I could smell her betty.  At first, I thought, well then, what a nice day for Miss Elsie’s betty, but I saw something unusual.  I saw Gregory Fiddlestone carrying it out to his shiny Lincoln with a pair of his wife’s gingham oven mitts.  

I knew exactly where he was going.  He’s been wanting that stop sign up ever since he was dumb enough not to yield to Danny Weedlemeyer’s pickup on Possum Hollow and Main.  And we all know what will happen when he gets it. Traffic is going to pool there. 10-15 cars drive through that intersection just at lunch.  Can you imagine what it’s going to do to our traffic flow in the morning and afternoon rush hours?

I followed him right up the street and seen him walk into city hall.  He came out in ten minutes with the mitts tucked under his arm and the next day he had his stop sign.

This was struck down at the last city council meeting.  This was settled law! We are in a constitutional crisis here!

That story needs to be running on your front page, Gordon!  People need to know that WE WILL NOT tolerate corruption in the mayor’s office anymore.

PJ Portermont, Citizen and Driver

Let Sleeping Possums Lie

man10Gordan Geary, Editor in Chief – Many concerned parents gathered at the town square to protest the “gruesome display of violence” at the approaching annual Possum Day celebration, but let’s not forget that this town would not exist if it weren’t for gruesome displays of death none of which were actually violent.

In my youth, when I was elected Possum King of Puddlegulch High, I took an oath before the school and Perry the Possum to uphold the history and integrity of our proud but not-too-proud-to-play-dead Puddlegulch. There is a time for discretion. There is a time for censorship to protect the young and innocent, but Possum Day is not one of them.Our forefathers sacrificed the dignity of this town and everyone who lives here to make a future for their children and for us living today in Puddlegulch. The town motto says it all: “We pretended to lay down our lives to save our lives.”

Parents of Puddlegulch, your children must know where they came from. They must feel what it means to pretend to be dead before the enemy. Plus, they love it. It’s fun. Kids come up to me on the street and say “Mr. Geary? How are you going to die this year?” When I tell them that I’m going to be slashed in the throat, they laugh in good cheer! It is a time for goodwill among all of us o’possums (yes, it is o’possums).

This year, I implore you, concerned parents, to let our tradition continue not just for the sake of this town, but for the sake of the contorted faces of death our children will delight in as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Possum Day.

Puddlegulch loses a bowling legend in bowling “accident”

jedpritchardGordon Geary, Editor in Chief – In 1967, a Puddlegulch native converted the old Second Baptist Christ the Beloved Living Water Church into Puddlegulch’s first and only bowling alley: the Bowlarama.

He built eight lanes of solid Clarke’s Mill maple with a small concession stand which sold burgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut french fries, RC Cola, Hamm’s beer, and pickled eggs. The burger, with its secret special sauce, is known as the “Jed Burger” after the owner: Jedediah “Jed” Pritchard.

But if you drive by the Bowlarama this week, you will see the Puddlegulch flag flying at half-mast because on November 15, 2019, Jedediah Pritchard died doing what he loved best: bowling and drinking a case of ice-cold Hamm’s.

Deputy James P. Barnes said, “Old Jed, had too many beers and slipped. It is a tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.” But others in town raised suspicions.

An eye-witness, Mory Lockhart, the town locksmith, described the incident this way.

“It was like something was making him woozy–stumbling up to the line. He let out this long, low belch; like a roll of thunder from a distant, deadly storm. Must have lasted a full 30 seconds…possum’s honor! Never heard anything quite like it, and next thing we knew he was on his back, his head- a-bleeding. It happened so quick, no one could be sure. Some say he just slipped. I don’t think so,” said Lockhart ominously. “He weren’t anymore drunk than usual.”

Our readers should bear in mind that Lockhart is the same locksmith who claimed that a government agency had planted a chip in his miniature poodle Chauncy to spy on him.

Perhaps we’ll never know the full circumstances of Jed’s death, but the town can all agree that he will be missed. As Marla Bell Jenkins said, “Every time I take a bite of a Jed Burger, I know I’m taking a bite of him.”

obituary

Possum pride shines at the Thanksgiving Parade

Bonita Mae Hogwallop, Society Columnist – Puddlegulch should be mighty proud of their annual organized constitutional down Main Street this Thanksgiving Day.  The entire experience reeked of Possum Pride and Pomp.

Leading the way was the Pride of Puddlegulch High, the Marching Possums Band.  It seems this year they were able to find a trumpet or two and we could actually tell what song they were playing.  Last year the 12 tuba line was awe inspiring but the Holiday Spirit seemed to get lost in the Oom Pa Pas.  Taking on the task of drum major pro tem was our very own mascot, Perry the Possum.  Besides the fact that he played dead forcing the band to go around him, he did very well on his maiden voyage.  I’m sure you all remember the band’s regular drum major, Tina Scroggins, was injured earlier in the week by that flukish, flying bowling ball.  Where did that come from, anyway?

 Next we were able to to take a gander at our Thanksgiving Day balloons, the Possum and the Turkey, and their wranglers.  I know some are disappointed that the balloons are only a 20th of the size of those in New York and that there are only two of them.  But we have to remember that they were designed by the original Mr. Macy’s grandson’s, uncle’s roommate, Doug Mersaphat.  We must hold our heads high at tradition like that.

The only kerfuffle at the whole event was the moment when the Turkey balloon was unleashed by a sudden gust of wind.  Within seconds that Turkey was flying high and we could see our wonderful helium masterpiece disappearing into the wide blue yonder.  It was then that Earl Musgrave with the Civil War Renactment group drew his AR 15 and shot it down.  Luckily only a couple of rounds hit the balloon and I’ve heard it should be able to be repaired by next year.

The winning entry was Joe Whistler and his dancing Possum Poodles though they did get in a tussle with the Coyotes of King’s Valley Chapel, the float ahead of them from Standing Rock.   Since the coyote float was then disqualified, the trophy went to Joe.  You may all remember my sister Wanita June predicted the coyote float would take top honors this year.  Shows what she knows.  Though you didn’t hear that from me.

Of course, the end of the parade brings the man of the hour, the person that all the kiddies shout for that signifies the beginning of the Christmas Season – Wilson the janitor from the Elementary School and his buckets of Candy Canes!  I was able to actually catch one this year before it hit the pavement and shattered.   It was delicious!

After the parade, we all went to Possum Disco Night at the Bowlarama and bowled the night away.  Good job Puddlegulch and happy Thanksgiving!

PUDDLEGULCH CELEBRATES THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF POSSUM DAY

Perry the Possum

Gordon Geary, Editor in Chief – On a blustery December morning in 1869, word came to the town councilmen of Johnson Gulch of an encroaching army of rogue civil war soldiers who had not realized that the Civil War had been over for four years. No one knows which side they had been fighting on, and many suspected that they could not remember.

Mayor Sowser gathered the men of the town to come up with a plan to avoid a massacre. A young man named Nathaniel Puddle talked at length of the amazing properties of possums, know as the Possum Address, and a plan was quickly devised to “play possum”. Puddle and the other men went from door to door advising the residents to create scenes of death for each household in an attempt to convince the soldiers to pass on. Thinking that the town was already massacred, the marauders did pass on and massacre the neighboring town of Taylorfield (aka Bloodfield). Johnson Gulch has since been known as Puddlegulch in honor of the legendary Nathaniel Puddle, and the day will forever be known as Possum Day.

Festivities will be held in the town square on December 6th. The judging of the most creative family death scene competition will begin at noon. Bundle up and bring your possum pride!