Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Possum Tale

A conversation on Storytell reminded me of this less-than-stellar moment in my dogs' history:

Two years ago Larry was working away from home. My youngest son Tommy was still living at home, but one evening while he was out, there was an awful ruckus down in the chicken house.

"Shoot!" I said. It was dark and cold and raining and I did not want to drag out in the bad weather to see what the problem was. So I walked out on the deck and hollered. All got quiet and I went back to the fireside and my book.

A few minutes later, the noise started again--chickens sqawking, flying around. I deaded the walk down there--it's a slippery slope literally and I have fallen more than once trying to negotiate that hill in the dark. So this time I took the old foxhorn, really a cowhorn made to use to cll foxhounds by my late neighbor Mr. Winemiller. I gave it a mighty blow and instantly the ruckus stopped. I went back inside--but of course as soon as I closed the door, hens started squawking.

I sighed. Where were my dogs? They are usually on to anything stirring around the place but on this cold wet night they were nowhere in sight. I didn't have a flashlight that worked so I grabbed my car keys and went out to the car. I moved it to a spot where I could see in the chicken yard, but there was nothing moving except one soaked hen (and a sorrier sight there can't be except for a wet cat).

Everything was quiet once again and I went inside. But within minutes, I had to go back out. This time I moved the car again, and in the light of the headlights I gingerly picked my way down to the coop. When I got there, I shouted, "What the hell's going on in there?" (I was cussin' agravated by this time.)

At that moment out the chicken house door waddled a fat possum. He didn't pay me any mind, but this time I yelled loudly for my dogs, and lo and behold they came running. Tigger saw the possum and tore through the wire fence to get at him. But the possum--played possum. He dropped as dead as could be to the ground. Tigger sniffed a few times, looked at me in a disgusted way and came back through the fence.

Tigger the Intrepid Goofball

"Tigger, you dummy (Okay, I didn't say dummy) that possum isn't dead!" But he didn't listen at all.

"Raven, go git it!" Raven, my black Lab, tore through the fence; she apparently had more sense than the Golden, and grabbed that ol' possum and hauled him out of there. I closed the yard door to the coop and told Raven what a good girl she was. She wagged her tail--and dropped the possum!

Raven the Warrior Queen

So of course, Tigger picked it up and started prancing around and growling like he'd killed it. I groaned aloud then, because I knew what would happen--he'd carry it around a while, then get bored because it was unresponsive and drop it. The possum would bide his time and escape when the dogs left.

Since I don't shoot (being left-handed and right-eyed you can see why) I knew that possum had lived to see another day.

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