The Impossible Possum

(Written in August 2012)

It seems as if it never fails that when I have to go out of town something dramatic happens at home. Last week was no exception, but I would have never guessed that the drama would be so funny. It was funny for me primarily because I was a hundred and twenty miles away so I didn’t have to physically deal with it.Possum

I had been very busy on Wednesday and had been looking forward to just relaxing in my room. After an hour or so of ironing, doing reports, organizing the next day’s itinerary, I settled into bed around 9:30. I made a call home as usual to tell Toni and the girls goodnight and catch up on the day’s events and by 10:00 I was done and ready to drift off. As my left eye had closed for the night and my right eye was just about to give up the fight and close, I was startled by the ringing of my phone.

I jumped up and knocked the room phone over and wobbled the lamp as I frantically tried to find my cell. My glasses, which I had forgotten to remove before I drifted off, were hanging at around a forty five degree angle across my face and weren’t really helping me to see well.

I answered the phone to “Do you want to know what your stupid dog just did?” The panicked voice on the phone sounded like my wife but I wanted to be sure since up to now, the dog was the smartest male in our house, and is rarely described as my dog.

I said “What happened?” as my heart raced in anticipation of some drastic event that had caused my family to be traumatized.   My mind raced as I attempted to calculate how fast I could get home. What if someone was hurt? I reached for my keys as she began to catch her breath. Here is what was described to me in a tone of voice that pointed to me as not only the reason for the panic, but also condemned me for not being on hand to solve the problem.

Monique, our youngest daughter had let Mack, our Labrador, outside to relieve himself for the evening. She stood at the door as he trotted around the front yard for a few minutes. When she called him back into the house, he came bolting by her so fast that she only got a glimpse of him but she saw that he had something in his mouth. She closed the front door and chased him into the office where he had run under the desk. As she crawled under the desk to see what he had, she found herself face-to-face with a possum, very much alive and unharmed but looking a little more than uncomfortable with the drool and dog breath he was currently experiencing as Mack held him in his mouth like a chew toy.

Apparently Monique squealed pretty loud because all the ladies of my house, including my niece Kara, came running. Monique blurted out the first command that came to her mind and told Mack to “release” which he did happily. That’s when the real fun began and when my wife made the decision to call me. “What am I suppose to do with this thing?” she asked frantically. “What if it gets up the bookcases? Oh my gosh!” (You can imagine the amount of background noise as I tried to determine what advice to give.)

“Tell Mack to pick it up and take it back outside” I offered. He would have been happy to do it.

“Are you kidding?” she yelled. “This thing will mess all over the floor and do you know how bad that is going to smell? No way!” she said, sounding very frustrated with me as if I was the one cowering in the corner with dog slobber all over me.

“Well, honey, I don’t know what to tell you. There is really only one other option. This isn’t going to be easy and you sure aren’t going to like it but you are going to have to pick him up by his tail and take him outside. Just be sure to hold him away from you body and it will be fine. He can’t bite you if you do it that way.

“Are you serious?” she screamed. “Do you really expect me to pick this “*&%$” thing up?   You are out of your mind! You and your stupid dog!” (For a few minutes, I was in an episode of Charlie Brown. All I heard was “waah waah, waah, You are nuts, waah waah wah, Stupid dog, waah waah waah, Alimony.” )

I have to admit, I was laughing quietly as she resolved herself to the inevitable. “Okay, I will try but I have to hang up the phone. I don’t want this dang thing biting me” she said. I tried to sound reassuring as I reminded her to have one of the girls video the capture for me. The next thing I heard was “click”. I guess my cell signal faded.

About an hour later my phone rang again. “Well, I got it!” she exclaimed breathlessly. “What did you do?” I asked. “I didn’t want to hurt the poor thing so I went out and got the big trash can and a broom and herded him into that. Then I took him outside and let him go.”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “You have been this whole time trying to get a possum into a trash can because you didn’t want to hurt his feelings?” I said. She explained, “Well, he was so scared and I felt so sorry for him I just had to do it that way.” She continued, “You know, he didn’t even want to run away when I put him down? He just stood there and looked at me. He was just a little sweetie.” (Note that the intruder is a “sweetie” and Mack and I are still stupid.)

I sighed in disbelief and said, “Good job Punkin. I am proud of you. This one is going in the next newsletter. “

We hung up the phone and I sat on the side of the bed staring at the floor, my head in my hands. “You just can’t make this stuff up” I thought. “No one is going to believe me but every Office Manager I know is going to agree that the possum is smarter than I am.” As the years go by and I become a little wiser, I tend to believe it too.

Ken Dulaney

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