opossum trot

“Stay in the car boys.”

As I pulled into the garage I ordered the boys to stay put as I got out of the car. A, who is not normally into following directions, is 2 and was buckled tight in his rearward facing carseat. He would follow these instructions to the letter. H is 8 and has no problem getting in and out of his seat right behind the driver. He sometimes has a problem remembering to close the car door after he gets out (which I don’t understand, when I was young I loved a good car door slam) but that’s another matter.

I told the boys to stay put because as we pulled into a driveway and ascended toward the garage I noticed two things. The first was that the garage door was open. Now that’s not an entirely uncommon state for the garage door, I’ll often leave it open during the day if we’re home and going in and out. But this was yesterday evening after 7 and it was already dark. My wife was the only one home and her car was in the driveway. The garage door also sometimes won’t shut all the way but will go back up before it gets to the ground. It’s sneaky, you gotta watch it.

The second thing I noticed though was definitely out of place. The wide open door had been an invitation to a neighborhood opossum to come in and see what the garage had to offer. As the car lights shown up the driveway and to the back wall of the garage the opossum waddled his or her opossum ass back toward the southwest corner of the garage.

I got the boys out of the car and ushered them into the house. I told Katie about our uninvited guest. I couldn’t see the critter but I’d seen the direction it headed so I grabbed a fishing rod and shoved it around under a work bench and back behind a row of kitchen cabinets (the extra set everyone keeps in their garage) along the south wall. I was waiting for a good ol’ opossum hiss but I didn’t hear or feel anything.

I got a flashlight and climbed a Costco stool up onto the cabinets. There’s a space about 6 or 8 inches wide between the end of the cabinets and the back wall. I shown the light down there and beady eyes looked back up. It was backed up in the corner with its mouth open. H and Katie came out. I thought H would dig all this so I told him to put some shoes on. I was going to get a shovel with a long head and climb back up on the cabinets and shoo it out of that corner. But when it left the corner I didn’t know where it’d end up. Maybe Katie and H could herd it outside.

By the time I’d gotten the shovel and Katie had gotten a pan and a spoon for noise H had gone back in the house, apparently there was something in there more exciting than opossum droving. I climbed up on the cabinet and put the shovel down behind its rump and said: “get outta here opossum.”

It understood the shovel or the words or both because it waddled right out. It went along the line of the cabinets underneath a barbecue grill and around bikes and ladders. Katie banged her pan behind it a couple of times and it waddled right outside under her car, probably to see if there were any nice fluid lines it could chew on.

Our opossum herding was a huge success I thought. I went inside, closing the garage door on the way.



Opossum, November 2007


The above photo is not of our opossum but some other opossum. Our opossum didn’t get treats.

(Photo by Maggie Osterberg, posted at Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Click photo to go to original link)




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