Meet The Couple Behind A New Year's Eve 'Possum Drop' In Georgia Bud and Jackie Jones helped establish the annual Dec. 31 tradition in their town. Married 62 years, the taxidermists share their love story, which began with a snake — not an opossum.
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Meet The Couple Behind A New Year's Eve 'Possum Drop' In Georgia

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Meet The Couple Behind A New Year's Eve 'Possum Drop' In Georgia

Meet The Couple Behind A New Year's Eve 'Possum Drop' In Georgia

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NOEL KING, HOST:

It is Friday, and that means it's time for StoryCorps. So Times Square is one option for New Year's Eve - if you like crowds. There's also some action in Tallapoosa, Ga., home of the New Year's Eve possum drop. Instead of a lighted ball, they lower a stuffed possum at midnight. Bud and Jackie Jones helped start the tradition. They are taxidermists and husband and wife. They came to StoryCorps to share their love story.

BUD JONES: What do you remember about our first date?

JACKIE JONES: Well, I got in the car. And you said, now, don't get excited, Jackie, but my pet snake is loose in this car. And I'm not a snake person.

B JONES: But you toughed it out, didn't you?

J JONES: I toughed it out.

B JONES: (Laughter).

J JONES: You were a hot number for me. We dated for two years, and then we decided to elope.

B JONES: I remember you didn't want your mother and daddy to know where we were going, so you threw your clothes out the window.

J JONES: I did.

B JONES: And just as we were getting ready to leave, Ivy Pope (ph) called and said he had killed a strange bird in his lake and wanted me to come and look at it. So we went over to the Ivy Pope's lake, and he had just killed a duck.

J JONES: And by then, it was night. And we had to go to the judge's house. And when we got there, he was drunk.

B JONES: Well, he wasn't exactly drunk. He was just kind of wobbling a little.

J JONES: Well, he was feeling really good.

B JONES: Yeah. He was feeling good.

J JONES: Well, I must have been crazy in love to go through this. We seldom ever have an argument, but if it is, it's about something like an elephant's eye. But I'll say right here that you do know a lot.

B JONES: Well, I'll be. I need to record that.

J JONES: Tell me the story about Spencer.

B JONES: There was this big possum on the side of the road. He wasn't hurt at all, except he's dead. So I said, well, he'll make a nice mount. So I got out and mounted him hanging by his tail. And I never thought Spencer would be a celebrity. You know, Tallapoosa before it was incorporated used to be called Possum's Snout. So the people, they said, let's have a possum drop on New Year's Eve. We thought it was stupid, but you just never seen such hollering.

J JONES: They start cheering and carrying on.

B JONES: Yeah. And they'll knock you down to get over there to get a picture of Spencer.

J JONES: People give you more credit for Spencer than anything else.

B JONES: Well, let me tell you. A man or a woman is blessed if they can go to work every morning and enjoy it. And I'm just real happy that I've had a partner all these years that I wouldn't trade for anybody.

J JONES: Thank you. Life has not been dull with you, Bud.

B JONES: Well, I know that, but...

J JONES: It's been very...

B JONES: ...When you got in the car that night, you should have known.

J JONES: I know I did. That should have been my first clue as to what my life was going to be like.

B JONES: Thank you, Jackie. And I love you.

J JONES: I love you most.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE DOT SESSIONS' "OPEN FLAMES")

KING: That was Jackie and Bud Jones at StoryCorps in Tallapoosa, Ga. The first possum drop was in 2000. Forty people came. Now, more than 7,000 people attend. That's more than twice the population of Tallapoosa. This interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE DOT SESSIONS' "OPEN FLAMES")

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