Sunday, August 17, 2008

Backyard possum

I noticed a possum rooting around in our backyard when I got up this morning. They are nocturnal creatures, and the sun was just beginning to peek over the eastern horizon. Wendy thinks they're ugly, but I have a soft spot for possums. A sixth-grade substitute teacher brought his pet possum to our science class. I decided it was one of the coolest possums I had ever seen. Nevermind that a possum once stood and hissed at me when I caught it scrounging through the trash on our back porch at the B-Side in Valparaiso. I told it to shove off and placed the lid firmly back on the trash can. It stayed right where it was. (There was always great potential for confrontation with nature at the B-Side.)

I left the window to find Wendy's digital camera, and the possum left. I should have stayed to see where it went. I have a sneaky suspicion it's living under the trailer. Here's a photo of a very similar possum courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden:




My friend Tim Roberts told me about a time his mom and dad, newly wed, were living in a trailer over in Seminole. A possum had taken up residence under their domicile, and they decided they had to get rid of it (can't remember why). In the middle of a Florida summer, they cranked the heat of the mobile home to exorcise the beast. As it fled its sweltering confines and sprinted out from under the trailer, Tim's dad slew it with a fake tourist's sword. Something like that. Welcome to life in northwest Florida.

Fortunately, I won't ever have to dispatch an unwelcome creature (at least of that size) with a heavy, blunt object meant for displaying on your mantel. At least, not at the Trailer of Paradise. That's the beauty of renting. That's the landlady's job.

Whatever happened to the silent "o" at the front of possum? You know, "opossum." Obviously, possum is short of opposum. Not sure who decided that one. According to the 2006 Random House Unabridged Dictionary (that is, according to dictionary.com - yes, I cheat for backyard fauna), opossum is Virginia Algonquin for "white dog."

4 comments:

Sarah Providence said...

(Josh says) I once ran over a(n) (o)possum. I was driving my Camaro on John Simms right before the "west bank" of Rocky Bayou (by the bridge). It was late at night and the thing darted out in front of me. I slammed on my brakes to no avail. The car actually stopped on the poor creature.

I, Bill Clifton... said...

Yeah, I hit one in Kansas. I think it's the only roadkill I've ever committed.

Sarah Providence said...

Wow, this post is full of funny imagery. Some of it definitely belongs in a Clifton independent film.

Addie said...

I agree with Wendy. I (also) hit one on the road once. I never got that face out of my head. Or off my front bumper.