Simpler Times

I grew up in the country and loved it.  After five years in the ‘city’ during college (yes, I took five years to be a teacher) I finally returned to a rural home.  My first teaching job was at a school with fewer than 30 kids per class.  I was in heaven.  My house was two miles or so from the nearest town of maybe 450 people, which was perfect.

One evening, however, my husband and I were watching t.v. and I heard a noise outside.  I turned on the outside light, opened the door to my front porch, and about peed myself.  A nasty, diseased, bald-headed, scruffy possum was hissing at my intrusion at his jaunt on my front steps.  It makes me shiver even now just thinking about it.  I did, however, have the peace of mind to shut the door without slamming it and *calmly* tell my husband that we had a guest outside and I would probably need his help getting rid of him.  (I assume it was a him because it was so darn ugly.  Girl opossums had to be cuter.)

Armed with a gun — I forget if it was a shotgun or a rifle — cowboy boots, and a flashlight, we ventured outside to find the varmint.  In the rush to take care of business, my husband decided not to get dressed for our visitor which was understandable since that little disease-ridden creature wouldn’t last the night to tell his dirty little friends about the skinny-legged man charging armed with a gun, a beam of light, and tighty-whiteys.

With the porch light on, him with the gun, me with the flashlight, we treed him.  Wanting to make sure it wouldn’t be lost after the first shot, I was asked to go get Chuck, our black lab, out of his pen.

Only if I get to take the flashlight.

Not a chance.  I have to keep watching him so he doesn’t get away.

Then I’m not going anywhere. 

And I didn’t.  There was no way I was venturing in the pure dark, towards the house and dog kennel, all by myself, in order to get a dog that wouldn’t do anything but bark up a tree.  What if something else–like the possum’s cousins–tried to jump on my leg and eat my knee caps?  Those needle-sharp teeth would not feel very nice in my leg.  I demanded he make an accurate shot despite the night’s breeze blowing through his leg hair.  I wasn’t going anywhere without the flashlight.  Honestly, I couldn’t see that critter, but he swore to me that it was in the tree by the unattached garage.

Coyotes?  Not a problem.  Racoons are just a cute little animal that does no overt harm.  Skunks didn’t seem to be a problem on our property.  And you simply have to be watchful of deer on the roads and highways.  Now possums.  They are the bane of natural-looking wildlife anywhere.

I’m not sure if he shot at the tree to make me feel better or to actually get rid of the nasty, over-sized rodent, but he said it was gone.  I had to assume it was dead so I wouldn’t be on edge for the next month of nights.  We went into the house together, me feeling safe once again from the perils of the wild country that I lived in, him to get something to warm him up from our adventure outside.  And I held the flashlight the whole time.

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3 thoughts on “Simpler Times

  1. Loved the story, but the biology teacher comes out in me. They are a marsupial and the only ones in these parts and not a rodent. They hiss but will not attack, if you threaten them they usually roll over and play dead. We have them around too and have to be sure the cat food dishes are in the closed garage (the cats have a pet door high on the side of the garage as opossums don’t jump) as they love cat food.

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    • I think I knew that…but the emotional freak out I had told my brain that it was a nasty rat. πŸ™‚ And I think this one had something wrong with it the way it was losing its hair–do they get mange like coyotes?

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