My grandma, then in her 70s, told me and my siblings that she once killed a possum that had been getting into her chickens. Afterward, she said, she placed the carcass on a stump in her chicken yard as a warning to other would-be bird thieves.

We don’t know if the story was true, but we knew one thing: It embodied the opinion we all have of Grandma: tough, sassy and someone with a wicked sense of humor.