Cannon balls, possums and other unusual collectibles


From Charles Towne

There was a time, way back when, that I used to collect stuff. When I was a kid I collected what to you normal folks out there would appear a bit strange. My mother stopped cleaning my room because some of my treasures were a challenge to her sense of decorum.

Take scat for instance, and if you don’t know what scat is, well, look it up.

I had a vast collection of scat. Raccoon scat, possum scat, muskrat scat, fox scat, etc. And then I was always dragging live critters home. Mama made a mistake once and looked in a wooden chest in my room where I was keeping about a dozen garden snakes. (It was about this time that I noticed that her hair was going a bit gray.) She released all my snakes, but understanding that nature abhors a vacuum, and the box being empty, I immediately put a beautiful, mean, snarling, smelly old possum in the wooden chest that had recently contained the snakes.

My poor mama. As the years passed some of my collectables became less gamey. At one time I had quite a nice collection of cannon balls, one of which was a seventy-pound monster that I thought added something to the décor of our living room.  My sweet wife, the mother of my four adorably wonderful children was very patient, just like my mother. I came home for lunch one day somewhat out of sorts and when I walked through the door I noted this cardboard box in the middle of the floor. Like I indicated, I was not too happy so I drew back and kicked that box.


One of my adorable and wonderful children had put that box over my big iron cannon ball. When I kicked it the box didn’t move, not even a little bit, but my toes did. Anger is like that, it usually backfires. One thing I can tell you for sure is that when I kicked it I didn’t hurt that old cannon ball even a little bit.

Dear Papa God, Please protect us from ourselves, in Jesus’ name I ask it, Amen.

cropped-pictureLive fully,
Love openly,
And make a difference, today.

Charles Towne is a longtime Apopka resident, member of Insp!re Church and a published author.


  1. I never dragged any snakes home….LOL, but I have always been one to drag home rescues. I brought one inside that was found outside, a tiny little pinkie, not sure what the heck it was, I hoped it was a squirrel, and not a mouse???? I wrapped it and kept it warm, feed it milk from an eye-dropper, and did my best but it only lived a little over a week. Still don’t know what it was for sure.

  2. Went to Ponce Inlet fishing, and found a big conch shell. Looked inside and did not see anything. Placed it in water in the fishing bucket and said I would take it home and put it in my flower garden. That it would look good there. As we were packing up, I looked again after taking it out of the water and empting the bucket, nothing inside the shell. When we got home, and bringing in everything my husband said look inside the shell, there is something coming out! I said OMG! Some kind of hermit crab maybe? Uh oh. I went and bought some hermit crab food and essentials for hermit crab keeping, made it a habitat, aquarium, water bathe with salt, etc. the whole nine yards, tried my best and it lived about two weeks…….RIP, I didn’t keep it intentionally, as I did not know it was in there!

  3. My worst critter rescue was yet to come. We were driving through Apopka Terrace one night years ago, almost dark, and our headlights shone on something scrambling across the road, and my husband said what is that? I said, I don’t know, but stop. He gets out and says I am not sure what it is. I said a mouse! And he said no, it is not a mouse. Oh wait, he said, it is a hamster or maybe a gerbil. Really, I said? Okay, put it in the box in my trunk, and cover it with the old shirt I have in my trunk. I’ll make a pet out of it. Well, when we got home and opened the trunk, it was not in the box! My husband said it is not in there and I was like what?????? Well, where is the thing? He said I don’t know. We looked and looked and looked, and gave up, and went to bed. The next morning my husband comes into the bedroom, woke me up, and said I think I know where the creature is, and I said where? He said there is a scratching noise coming from your car inside the driver’s side door panel……….I said OMG, no way, now what???!!! We tried everything to get that critter out of there, spraying in air freshener, running a mop in there through the trunk side panel and finally we figured it out, and got out the shop vacuum shoved it up through there, and sucked him with enough suction to bring him out of there! I kept him a long time, but he was a little nightmare, escape artist, and finally got out of the glass box, and out of our house, and then the sad part, our dog got him and killed him. RIP, I tried my best………..

  4. Dear Mama Mia, I sense that you like animals. Get a cat, they are wonderful. Wild animals shouldn’t be kept in captivity. You have a merry Christmas, Charles


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