It’s time for me to recount another colorful weekend, and I tell ya, this one still makes me laugh! Please do not drink any beverages while reading this post…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A couple of weeks ago, our backyard fence was finally completed, a welcome prelude to the warmth of spring, family BBQs, and balmy evenings for my children playing safely outdoors. Enter one intruder to interrupt this idyllic picture of placidity, and you have a formula for me to witness a murder in my own yard on Saturday before 9:00 a.m. Well…almost.
Saturday morning, I was up earlier than I would’ve preferred, preparing to head out to a meeting and my wonderful hubby was getting ready to make pancakes for the children. As he bustled about to complete his routine “morning security check” of our property, he spotted something in the backyard and started dressing quickly. “Uh oh,” I thought to myself, knowing that my hubby is fiercely protective of his family. “Whatever it is should prepare to meet its Maker.” He pointed out an opossum near the fence and I froze; that thing was HUGE. Next thing I knew, he was dressed in full lumberjack gear and heading toward the fence carrying a big shovel – the heavy one used for snow removal just a few weeks ago. Equally repulsed and captivated by what was unfolding before my eyes, I braced for the impact, and heard the “whack!” It wasn’t pretty. The body stopped moving, but I saw the opossum’s long tail flopping about. Did I really want to finish eating my high-fiber cereal after this? I bravely munched on, staring through the sliding glass door as if I was watching HDTV. I cringed at the next whack(s) – like who’s counting? – then saw my hubby retreating from the yard. Was he victorious?
He wondered aloud, “Now what am I gonna do with that thing?” I was wondering the same thing, because it was pretty creepy looking. “Couldn’t you call Animal Control?” I weakly offered. He grabbed his phone and dialed. Yay, teamwork. “Is it dead?” I asked hesitantly. “No; I saw some babies peek their heads out, so I knew it was a mother. I don’t think I have anything sharp enough to kill it, and it hissed at me. Those things could have rabies.” “Oh great,” I thought. “Now we have to wait for the government to come dispose of this creature.” After he hung up, he reported that it had to be dead before Animal Control would come pick it up, AND (adding insult to injury) we’d have to get it to the front curb for them to pick it up – yikes! I don’t think that was a risk he was willing to take; I knew I wasn’t! All I could picture was trying to shovel the fat opossum into a brown paper bag and tying it up in a plastic garbage bag. That didn’t sound too safe. I headed to the car en route to my meeting, confident that my hubby had the situation under control and the critter would be gone when I returned.
Five minutes into my drive, my cell phone rang. “I injured it, but I didn’t kill it,” my hubby reported. He informed me that the opossum had crawled back through its entry point, a breach in our neighbor’s fence. “I cancelled the Animal Control call.” I don’t think he spared its life because it was a mother; I think he knew he was outmatched without the proper tool to remove the animal swiftly and humanely. And Lord knows what we’d have done with motherless opossum babies scattered about. At least he reinforced the weak part of our neighbor’s fence with more wood, because my eyes were as big as saucers, visualizing what would happen if the incapacitated party came back for restitution. I’m almost certain that I heard the melodic strains of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King.
Did I mention how wonderful my hubby is? I can’t imagine how this story would’ve ended if I’d been the party responsible for handling the opossum incident. I don’t even want to think about it. I’ve finally summoned my SuperMommy powers so I can kill spiders by myself in one fell swoop – most of them, anyway. I dare not consider what could’ve been in the backyard if we didn’t have that fence; I don’t think I’m ready to handle animals bigger than that. Really.
Honestly, before this unfortunate turn of events, the only interaction I’d had with opossums was seeing them as road rugs. I don’t recall having the privilege of a face-to-face encounter with one. And I wasn’t at all thrilled to think one (or more) might be roaming around my backyard or wiggling under my deck. But from this experience (combined with a bit of web research), I’ve learned that an opossum is a marsupial (that means it has a pouch – like a kangaroo) and carries its young. Sooooo…what is the meaning in all of this? I hadn’t thought about a spiritual message on Saturday between laughing and squirming, but as I reflect, perhaps it was just a simple reminder from nature that God is always watching, covering, protecting and guiding us. Just as we watch out for our children, animals care for their young offspring…and God cares for us.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
© Copyright 2010 by Kayren J. Cathcart