Hello, all. It’s me again, Barbara’s Sister. Barbara is under the weather today (well, not literally; I mean, it’s not like there’s this big snowdrift on top of her, or anything). She’ll be back with you soon, but since she’s tired and her sinuses have her brain under siege, I took over her keyboard so I can tell you a story.
One day, when we were living in our old house, where the trash cans were kept (neatly, behind a custom-built wall) by the side door of the house, I went to throw out the kitchen garbage one morning, and found myself face-to-face with a possum.
I realize not all of you are from the northern United States, so let me introduce to a possum:
Not a rodent, by the way, the only North American marsupial, and kind of cute, don’t you think? Except, of course, that I’m from northern Pennsylvania and I know that possums can look like this:
So, a possum in the garbage is nothing you want to mess around with, and definitely nothing you want to encourage.
I needed to get that possum out of there.
Barbara was home, and a friend was over, and we talked about it and finally decided that if we just took the lid off the garbage can and tipped the can on its side, the possum would leave. We tried it…the possum stayed.
I pulled the can down the driveway, pointing towards the garden, thinking (I guess) that the sight of all the bushes and flowers would be appealing to a possum and it would leave.
The possum stayed.
I decided I needed to scare the possum out, and started kicking the bottom of the trash can. The noise and vibrations would flush him out, right?
So it’s been about 10 minutes now, and the possum is still stubbornly in the garbage. So, I got desperate, and up-ended the trash can on the driveway dumping the trash — and the possum — onto the asphalt. The possum….blinked.
That’s it, just looked at me and blinked, as if it were asking (in what I’m sure would be very surly voice) “Yeah? And?”
Still, I was determined and I reached into the garden and found a longish stick, which I brandished at the possum like a sword, in what I sincerely hoped would be a threatening manner.
After about a minute of stick-shaking, the possum gave me a dirty possum-look, and waddled into the garden, looking back over its shoulder at me in disgust.
Then, I wrapped my hands in plastic bags from the grocery store, and put the trashcan upright, scooped up the garbage now strewn all over our driveway and put it into the trash can. Then I put the lid back on and dragged the trash can back where it belonged, neatly behind the wall.
It was at this point that I noticed that our neighbors had been sitting on their porch watching this whole thing. I couldn’t exactly hear the laughter, but I knew it was there, and I knew why: because the trash can had been very close to the garden, and I was standing between them and the possum, which they never could have seen, so from their point of view…
Their neighbor decided, one sunny weekend afternoon, to drag the trash can out into the driveway….
…dump the trash on the ground
…shake a stick at the trash
…and put it back into the garbage can.
It was a looonnng time before the neighbors spoke to me again….