I was inspired by recent posts from the..well… inspirational Erin Margolin in her pleas for compassion and empathy for the homeless.  So we have adopted/sponsored someone.

Here’s what happened.

It was a few days ago shortly before noon — in broad daylight — when Eric and I drove upon a strange site in the street in front of our central Houston home.  Weaving toward us, eyes glazed and fixed, feet stumbling, came a possum.  Not just any possum, but a big, scraggly, ugly possum.  A possum that looked like an aged, overgrown rat sick with radiation poisoning and male pattern baldness.  Except I kind of think they all look that way.  Anyway, an ugly possum.

Not a photo of our crackhead possum. But I googled crackhead possum and found a blog with this picture. *Fate*

This possum was confused.  Possums, or “opossums” as those with more class than me call them, are nocturnal creatures.  Either this one suffered from jet lag [having just landed on a direct flight from Mumbai, possibly?], or it had mistaken day for night.

“Poor possum.  He needs to go home and go to bed.  Do you think there is something wrong with him?” I asked.  I popped a handful of macadamia nuts into my mouth and concentrated on their salty yumminess.

“Maybe she doesn’t have a home,” Eric said.

“Maybe he did have a home, but his possum wife kicked him out because he never shut any cabinets,” I said, nodding my head.

“Maybe her possum husband booted her azz because she writes a blog about his fictitious gender confusion issues and underpants,” Eric suggested, his eyebrows arched into points.

“Or maybe he’s on crack, and he’s jacking the neighborhood cars for loose change,” I said.  {We live in a nice neighborhood, but this has happened to our cars (from humans, as far as we can tell, although possums could be the culprits, I now realized) twice recently, so it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.}

So we carefully dodged said possum and pulled into our driveway.  But we couldn’t get the possum out of our minds.  Later that day, Eric, ever the softie/animal lover, took a bowl of dog food out into our front yard.  *Run, possum, run before it’s too late!! I thought. *  The possum stumbled drunkenly to the bowl and had a meal.  When it was done, Eric moved the dog food bowl to the backyard.  Ostensibly, our 200 pounds of doggies live there, but they are far too spoiled to eat outside, so the possum could dine in peace.

That night, we heard noises out back.  Now, it is not unusual for possums to visit our backyard at night.  When the moon is bright, we can even see them running along the power line above our back fence, lumbering shadows, improbable acrobats.  We also hear frogs by the millions fornicating singing in our three leaking pits ponds.  Then there’s the train whistles, the planes, and the sirens.  Oh, and the barking of the neighbor’s dogs, too.  It’s not a quiet place.

Tonight, though, tonight the noise was different.

Scritch scritch scritch.

“What’s that?” I whispered.  My stomach twisted with nerves.  I moved closer to Eric, my nose practically under his armpit, which gave me a comforting whiff of Irish Spring body wash.

Scritch-scritch-scritch-scritch, the sound again, but faster.  Something was scratching the the back wall of our bedroom.  Something possibly out of a Stephen King movie, or worse.  Something that would drag us from our beds and eat our brains, leaving behind only the empty skulls and the words “juicy couture” scrawled in our blood across our deck.  I dived in for another much-needed huff of Irish Spring.

“I think our crackhead friend is trying to move in,” Eric said.

It took me a breathless moment, but I realized he meant the possum.  “IN, in?  Can he get in?”

“No, she won’t make it.  I’ll let the dogs out to chase her off.”

“NO!  You fed him, we can’t let the dogs out there.  They’ll kill him.”  {I should have seen THIS coming.}

We debated, but in the end, we decided to leave it alone.  I think this is where Erin’s influence held sway with us.

Our casa es su casa.  Feliz navidad, poco opossum.

It may not be much, but we are teaching compassion and empathy at our house one little ole crackhead possum at a time, room and board included.


p.s. As of the writing of this blog, Eric is at a Texans football game and there is a scritch-scritching on the back wall again.  I sure as hell hope it’s the crackhead possum.

p.p.s. Erin recommends visiting the Dollar Tree or other local dollar store and stocking up on pre-packaged food, so that when you encounter someone that needs a meal, you have a small stash in your car to offer.  She rocks.  I think you should do what she says.  Or I’ll sic’ our possum on you.

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