Your life will remain incomplete until you go to a possum drop on New Year’s Eve. Really.

You may have seen the Peach Drop in Atlanta, or struggled through the pickpockets to see the big Waterford crystal ball drop in Times Square. (The Waterford ball seems like a decadent waste of Waterford when there are so many people around the world who have no Waterford at all.)

But it is a singular life-changing moment to count down to midnight while a live possum in a Plexiglas cage is lowered to the ground in front of 2,000+ people gathered at a Citgo gas station in Brasstown, North Carolina. Our good friends and neighbors, Judy and Grover Hardin, took us to the event, and for that act of kindness The Goddess and I will be forever grateful.

For you animal lovers, let me point out that the possum in Brasstown is very much alive, is treated with respect, and lowered carefully. He is then released back into the wild where he will suffer the possum equivalent of humiliation for telling an outlandish and clearly made-up story about his New Year’s Eve in Brasstown.

Want your possum closer to Atlanta? Tallapoosa obliges with its own take on the Possum Drop.

Lost your taste for possum? Thinking maybe a giant marshmallow Peep or a stuffed goat would give you the right New Year’s Eve fix?

In Marion, Ohio, New Year’s Eve is celebrated by the dropping of a giant popcorn corn ball.

In Vincennes, Indiana, the self-proclaimed Watermelon Capital Of The World, 10 watermelons will be dropped from 100 feet to celebrate the arrival of 2010. (Ten watermelons, 2010. Get it?)

The City of Flagstaff, Arizona, celebrates by lowering a giant pine cone.

(I trust you are writing all this down.)

The state of Pennsylvania has clearly gone for the gold in the “Why-Don’t-We-Drop-Something-Really-Strange-On-New-Year’s-Eve?” competition. The objects include, but are not by any means limited to, a purple-and-gold shoe, a beaver, a giant marshmallow Peep, a cow made of wood, an Indy car, a pretzel, a sled, a frog, a stuffed goat, a Hemlock tree, a 100-pound stick of Lebanon bologna, a bottle of beer, a wooden cigar held by a lion, a broasted chicken, a steamroller, and ping pong balls.

Memphis, Tennessee, has a giant Gibson guitar drop.

In Gainesville, Georgia, a new event is taking its place alongside the goat and the 10 watermelons. Celebrating its largest industry, the city will drop a giant chicken at midnight.

Key West is well known for its lowering of a large red shoe with a drag queen inside.

In Elmore, Ohio, a giant sausage is lowered at the stroke of midnight.

In Pensacola, it’s a giant pelican.

A hog falls in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a big cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

I just heard someone on the back row ask about fish.

In Port Clinton, Ohio, you can count down to the New Year as they lower a Walleye Pike.

Not to be outdone, in Prairie de Chien, Wisconsin, the New Year is welcomed with the lowering of a carp.

And in Mobile, a symbol of Southern grace and charm, they will lower a $9,000 electronic Moon Pie.

All these celebrations remind me of a menu with 200 varieties of deep fried cheese sticks: how does one choose?.

Where will I celebrate this year? It’s hard to say, but I gotta tell you it’s hard to pass up the chance to see a $9,000 electronic Moon Pie.

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Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at www.MarkJohnsonSpeaks.com. He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.

30 Comments
  1. I’m supprised the people of Chattanooga, Tennessee haven’t filed a law suit against Mobile for useing their Moon Pie.

    And oh yeah, you Aussies are weird and what the heck does strewth mean? Its hard enough to keep up with our own colloquialisms without a foreigner adding to the mix.

  2. Frank Povah

    Same as “strike me flamin’ pink” I suppose, or “spare me days” – but I think strewth is probably an Australianization of “god’s truth”. Until recently, we Aussies were never much troubled by matters religious, nor the opinions of those of a religious bent.

    And speaking of colloquialisms and/or trademarks – “Moon Pie”? Moon Pie? I shakes the loaf at that’n.

  3. It’s a trade mark name Frank and I see you have realized that Christmas is over, too. Did you think the “Peace on earth, good will to men” would last forever? If you did you haven’t been reading the comments that have been being posted here including your own.
    If nothing else could be criticized the grammar or spelling was scrutinized. This is a great format that may have a future but if there can’t be some common ground to base our thoughts and politics on and not be so quick to personalize each belief this endeaver will fail.
    How does me setting you up to be able to get this point across “shake you loaf”?

  4. Frank Povah

    I knew that Moon Pie was a trademark. Who thinks them up?

    I think you misconstrued my remark. What I meant was, what is called blasphemy and/or swearing in other countries has never much troubled Australians until recently. It was once said that Australians call their best friends bastards and write jesus christ without capitals. So strewth is strewth and that’s it.

    Are you telling me that if people can’t criticize an article for content they will pick on grammar and spelling – and that this is a bad thing?

    I realize of course that sometimes my Australian sense of humor might make comments like the one that began this exchange unfunny, or even rude. Sigh. Understandable, I suppose, coming as I do from a culture in which people once drew straws to see who would be the murdered and who the murderer and so hang, thereby escaping an intolerable situation.

    Setting me up? I must be slow today.

  5. Frank my problem is when the subject of the article becomes a completely different argument as I have done here. Why not state each person’s own take on the article and not try to bully somebody else into your beliefs. Mike Cox has written an article on this very subject lately which brought Like The Dew to my attention as to how many try to do that very thing. You are right about the grammar of the article because a comma in the wrong place can change the true subject of that article.
    My dig at your colloquialism was a smart ass remark which I should not have made but it was to extract a negative responce from you. I appologize for that.

  6. Frank Povah

    Why apologize? I ain’t offended. And I shouldn’t have vented my spleen about the religious direction in which Australia is heading. I should’ve explained strewth and left it at that.

  7. I can’t sort out what you guys are on about, except you, Mark. An amusing piece. Who knew? Thank you!

  8. Meg, Frank and I are just two guys from different countries getting to know each other.
    I don’t know about you but I plan to find something weird to drop New Year’s eve and drop it. I suggest you do the same because it can be rewarding but lets promise to leave our spouses alone.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

  9. Frank Povah

    Sorry, Meg. It’s like people whispering in a corner, isn’t it.

    However, I, too, plan to drop something on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps a cat, or better still the melancholia that sometimes snaps at me when I realize that the hippy in my soul really is aging.

    Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

  10. Mark, I was puzzled to read that, while Memphis drops a Gibson guitar, Kalamazoo (where they make them) doesn’t.

    Instead, “MAVCON Development and Construction will feature the first ever sustainable ball drop from nearly 200 feet. The ball consists of high efficiency LED lighting, recycled products, and power via sugar based ethanol.”

    But can it play “The Thrill Is Gone”?

  11. There lads, now I’m in. Brekky is over , so I will gleefully consider what to drop from the balcony. Something that won’t harm the birds and butterflies, something that will make an impression (it’s only a two story drop). I shall tip a Bundaberg ginger beer (without rum) and think on it.

  12. Let’s drop Frank on New Year’s Eve and have C Smith catch him….or not…. :-)

  13. Frank Povah

    Meg you could do better than Bundaberg ginger beer, it’s nasty stuff. As for dropping me…well I suppose so, as long as it was in a friendly sort of way. I find myself becoming quite Winniesque at the thought.

  14. Oh dear Frank. Oh dear. Apologies to others as I stray from the original topic, but Frank? Except for a chilled unoaked Chardonnay (it’s our specialty) or refreshing glass of simple ice water, there are few things more wonderful than a Bundaberg ginger beer. It’s a tonic, is what it is, although the folks in Bundaberg may not advertise it as such. If you are alert to something BETTER than this soda where you can actually SEE the ginger in the bottle, please let us know!

    We love ginger beer. Like unoaked Chardonnay, we’ve tried most of them and declare it the winner (at our house). If you’re aware of something else for the ginger-lover to quaff, we await your input with enthusiasm! (NO ONE drops Frank, at least until we learn of a better ginger beer…)

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .

  15. Frank Povah

    Meg, I weep for thee, so deprived that Bundaberg Ginger Beer is as ambrosia in your household.

    Gillespie’s Ginger Beer now, from far off Tasmania, that IS a ginger beer.

    In honor of Meg’s sponsors, let’s drop a polar bear. 10, 9, 8…

  16. …(sigh) we loved Tasmania. I’m on the hunt, Frank, I’m on the hunt…7, 6, 5…

  17. Frank be glad AMB chose to drop you because 100 lbs is what I need to drop this year. Of coarse I am assuming you would try to catch me.

  18. Frank Povah

    I think this has gone far enough, I can see readers deserting the site in droves. Perhaps we should drop the drop. Speaking of droves, 20 or so turkeys have suddenly appeared and are massed in our little bit of bottom.

    Meg – am I right in assuming you visited Australia?

  19. Visited several times, Frank. Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. Looking forward to Adelaide one day. Will skip the north, since we already live in the tropics. The Harbour Rocks Hotel, The Henry Jones (great hotels really set the tone), seeing “No War” painted onto the opera house roof. Ma Foosie’s in Richmond. Koalas are just as cute as they appear in photos, while kangas aren’t cute at all; nothing cute about giant rodents. A little girl sharing that she “loved” my husband’s American accent. Taking the train to Katoomba, visiting the Three Sisters and staying at The Carrington Hotel while still under construction — shockingly reminiscent of the fictional Overlook Hotel in “The Shining.” Milk through a Tam Tam. Jeesh. I’m not even trying, but I’m positive I’m boring everyone on the thread as it’s so far afield. And the food, my gosh the food. Le Kiosk. Max Brenner. Doyle’s. The Garfish. The best hamburger EVER at a little cottage on the Hawkesbury River. They put a slice of roasted beet on the burger. Roasted beet? Fabulous! It’s been a couple of years. We look forward to returning.

    And returning to the subject at hand, if it wasn’t the middle of summer, I’d be interested in seeing what’s dropped from the Harbour Bridge on New Year’s. I know they explode dramatic fireworks.

  20. Frank Povah

    Ah, but kangaroos are cute. You have to know them. I shall one day write something about caring for orphaned joeys.

    All Australian burgers used to have beet on them until you know who opened up there. Americans don’t know how to make a decent hamburger.

  21. They drop a walleye in Port Clinton Ohio? Is it live or dead? They can’t live outside water for very long, so is the walleye in a tank? This is by far the most bizarre dropee of all.

  22. Frank I was under the impression that you wanted to drop the drop! Hamburgers from beets– right. I would have accepted a wallaby burger.

  23. Terri Evans

    Speaking of dropping names and things – this just in from the Barrow County Museum in Winder, GA. A Jug Drop.The Jug will drop at midnight on New Years Eve from the Hanging Tower of the first Barrow County Jail (now the Barrow County Museum).

  24. FYI… the moon pie was built by Moon Pie for Mobile AL since we pbly consume or at least buy more than any other place for Mardi Gras parades but Chatt can have it back.. and an RC and Councilman Richardson to go with it..

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