10 months ago this week, a possum came into my life. Specifically, he came to our yard to (spoiler alert) . . . die. But before that death, the possum and I went on a journey together. A journey that, for an entire morning, provided a diversion when I didn’t want to write. On that day, October 18th, I documented my journey with said possum, who (for a possum) was very “method” about playing dead. Some might say a little too method. Like Daniel Day Lewis.
What follows is my journaling of the events as recorded on Facebook during that fateful day. I’ve made small changes (some grammatical and some just because time helps paint a clearer picture), but the events are related here exactly as I experienced them. So, to honor the 10-month anniversary of our chance meeting, I pay homage to my fallen friend.
Oct 18 8:45 AM
Dear Possum playing dead in our front yard,
I clearly saw you blinking.
Oct 18 9:30 AM
Dear Possum I am now gently rolling pears at,
The pears were a Christmas gift. They came from a Harry and David gift basket, so we can assume they are expensive pears. Though I have found out that being expensive doesn’t make the pears better at rolling. After surrounding you with them while not actually hitting you, I finally managed to hit you on your possum buttocks. And your response to this pear on the buttocks suggests that you are drunk. In our front yard. Which I find embarrassing for you. Not much of a role model, I must say. Think about your kids and what the other possums are going to say to them at school today when news gets out about your public drunkenness.
Oct 18 10:15 AM
Dear Possum who is apparently now taking a nap in our front yard,
I am officially out of pears. I have tomatoes, but considering how poor my aim was with the pears, I am opting not to roll them at you. Plus, they're kind of squishy and gross and should be composted. Which I think I’ll go do right now.
Oct 18 11:30 AM
Dear Possum who is awake somewhat and who is now slowly moving in my front yard,
The police have been called. Yes, I know, you haven't committed a crime that we know of (besides the assumed public drunkenness). But apparently in Mt. Horeb, the police are responsible for possum removal. Which, by the way, I find incredibly fantastic. I did not tell them you were dangerous, so one would assume that this will be more of a negotiation to leave my yard.
Oct 18 12:23 PM
Dear Possum who has moved closer to our house and who was staring at me,
I'm sure you noticed that the police arrived and discussed with me the situation. Negotiating is clearly off the table. Here are the three options that the officer gave me:
1. He shoots you.
2. I take a hammer to you.
3. We wait for you to move on to somewhere else.
We have gone with the third option.
God speed to you,
Oct 19 8:43 AM
Dear was apparently dying all along and is now dead in our front yard possum,
It's unfortunate that you died. Not just because it was in our front yard right near our door and now I will have to dispose of you. But mainly, because we bonded yesterday. Not in your typical two strangers bonding over a shared experience way. But more in the way a person would bond with a possum that has come into his yard to die. What kind of bond is it? I have no idea, but it is a bond. Of some sort.
Your friend and the one hoping to find someone else to dispose of you because . . . gross,
Epilogue: I did find someone else to dispose of the possum. But the memory of that day remains. And sometimes, when our family is playing together in the front yard, I think “Hey, that’s the spot where the possum was when I started gently rolling pears at him, thinking he was playing dead.” I don’t verbalize that thought because that would be weird. Like writing about it on Facebook. Or using my Facebook musings to create a new blog post.
One final thought: When Daniel Day Lewis is cast as the possum in the independent film version of the day, will he be so deeply into character that he starts rolling the pears at himself?
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.