I drove home from work the other day and drove over a dead possum. I didn't hit the poor beast and cause his death, that was left to some other driver. More than likely some teenage-guy-in-a-rice-burner-moving-too-fast-late-at-night-trying-to-get-home-before-he-misses-his-curfew-and-gets-grounded.
And I'm not sure, but I believe that the lowly possum will not be found on any endangered species list. Around my neighborhood possums are the predominant wild animal, way ahead of the raccoon.
And possum's are the ultimate fun animal, because they are always playing... possum.
Possums, not one of God's cuter creatures.
And driving over this possum reminded me of my childhood. Growing up I had only heard of possum's. Skunks, well, we knew plenty about skunks. I missed more school days because of skunks than I ever lost for being sick. We never got sprayed but the smell that they carry with them permeates throughout the house, even more once they get their hairs raised. I knew a couple of kids at school that carried their smell with them too.
From 4th grade through 9th grade we had encounters on at least seven occasions with Pepé Le Pew and his family. The most memorable one was when my step dad removed the paneling from the master bedroom and found a skunk condo in the wall of the house. The whole fam damily gathered around to watch the entire Le Pew family parade into our house late that night. The invention of cable TV was anti climatic in comparison to watching a family of skunks living in our walls. It was only later that I found out that not everyone had skunks in their walls.
Well he is right about being too attractive.
Once one fell into the garbage can outside the back porch, an empty one. My Mom shot that one dead with a .22. The man of the house was at work and I wasn't yet a man. Mom wasn't afraid of a little skunk. (Except for the time she thought that a black and white balloon that had lost its floatability was a skunk. Even the cops she called were hesitant to be men at that moment.)
Who can forget the skunk that ate the rat poison and fell asleep in the kitchen utensil drawer. The trip from the kitchen to the front yard with the skunk in the drawer took longer than hauling a Saturn 5 rocket from the Assembly Building to the launch pad. (It takes a long time.) The poor thing never did wake up. It might have had something to do with the .22 diameter slug rolling around in the area that was supposed to be holding its brain.
"Who's the little stinker?"
And skunks stink. You don't have to get sprayed to get contaminated. We couldn't afford tomato juice to clean the smell off, it was mostly baths and waiting it out. We were generally avoided those first few days back at school.
Possums are not cute, neither are skunks. Possums are pretty one dimensional. They play possum. Obnoxious little creatures, I found one in the hatchback of one of my cars, yes, a non-running car, and it was not happy when I decided it had played enough. They're grumpy when you find out they're playing possum.
We had a neighbor that liked the bottle. He'd come home late at night, driving drunk, and find his way into the driveway. Some nights he'd take out the mailbox, some nights a light pole, and other times the garden. He came home one night around 3am and upon getting inside his house made it as far as his easy chair. He told us that it was the most uncomfortable night of sleep that he'd ever experienced. Once he sobered up in the morning he found that he'd been sharing the easy chair with a possum.
Hi, I'm Bob and I'll be sharing your bed, I mean chair, tonight.
Not only is drinking and driving a bad thing but drinking and sleeping can be hazardous too.
And I've never hit and killed an animal with a vehicle... until the week before this past Labor Day.
We, the hottie and I, were in Spokane with visiting one of our children and hanging out with Bud & Myrtle Shingledorfer, close personal friends of ours.
I was driving a U-Haul van that I had rented to haul off some garbage and recycling for my son. An hour before, I had signed away my life to U-Haul, ignoring their pleas to add insurance at their ridiculous rates. I was just going to the dump. What can happen on the way to the dump?
15 minutes after I missed my important turn to the dump I found myself on a quiet country road in NE Washington. So quiet that wild animals roamed freely without a care in the world.
And there was no sign. You know, the sign that shows the deer leaping in the air.
And then a flash of brown and all of a sudden Bambi shoots in front of the van. Bambi is dead on impact and I'm the bad guy.
And the dead possum reminded me of skunks and a song.
SING IT WITH ME!
"Crossin' the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn't see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are!
You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!"
Thanks for bringing back the memories Loudon.