Monday, March 28, 2011
See this nice old lady? That is Miss Terry. She is holding Louise. In case you're too polite to mention it, yes, Louise is an opossum. She is Miss Terry's pet.
Miss Terry would love to talk to you about that possum.
I snapped this picture today when Miss Terry sidled up to my car window to chat. I was bringing Normal Neighbor home from chemotherapy, and Miss T lives right across the street from her. She was standing at the end of her driveway like someone who wanted very badly to be chatted with, so I obliged. I kept the engine running because otherwise I would still be there, God love her.
This is actually the second possum that Miss Terry has kept as a pet. This story is now engraved in the book of neighborhood lore: Some children were playing in the creek down behind Miss Terry's house and found a little half-drowned baby possum. They brought it to her and she nursed it and raised it, in the process learning quite a bit about the thriving subculture of people who keep possums as pets. Or she tells me it's a thriving subculture. I have yet to perform the first google search.
The first possum and Miss Terry shared several happy years together, until one day, it got out of the house and went missing. For more information, call 1-800-COYOTE.
We moved into the neighborhood in the dark days following First Possum's disappearance. These days, in neighborhood chronicles, this is referred to as the Interpossum Era. I heard all about First Possum from Miss Terry herself, when she cornered me at a cocktail party at my next-door neighbor's house. She was so distraught when telling about losing that possum, we both cried.
But word spread throughout the land that Miss Terry loved having that opossum and would be thrilled to get another one. You can't exactly buy them at Petsmart though, that was the problem. At length, somehow, another baby possum turned up. I think someone rescued it from a roadkill situation. (A mother possum on the side of the road may have babies in her pouch; the possum lovers always stop to check.)
So Louise came into Miss Terry's life and neither one of them could be happier. Or Miss Terry couldn't be happier, I am not that sure about Louise. Seems like a pretty nice life. Miss T says that they are trainable, about like a cat, and make very agreeable house companions. Her fur is very soft, and if you can get over the long, long, ratlike tail, she is cute. Her little nose is quite mobile and her ears remind me of bats' wings.
Laura told me that she went to Miss Terry's house and fed grapes to Louise while Louise climbed all over her. I only have to suppress the tiniest of shudders when thinking of that.
It is a measure of the crazy stuff that goes on in this neighborhood that I have never blogged about Miss Terry. You can see why I need this forum for working through these things.
Shortly after I snapped this photo, Miss Terry convinced me to open my car door and let a Basset hound climb in. The dog was roaming around loose and Miss T wanted to take Louise for a walk. I wish I were making this up. I wanted to tell her that I would rather hang around and watch the Basset hound eat the possum. But instead I collected the dog and drove it to its house, the home of the Mystery People. Figures.
Dog's name is Bess.
I hope you've enjoyed this slice of life in my 'hood.