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Mass Transit

Mass Transit

Yes, possums do carry passengers. This mother possum is carrying her brood of babies on her back as she goes walk-about, probably searching for food for herself and her hungry little critters. Her maternal marsupial pouch would have been too small for such a crowd, so they got to ride on top. Our household often became a repository for injured or troubled animals of all types when our children were growing up. That condition came about because my husband and I both love animals, and our children were raised to appreciate the uniqueness and value of all animals, wild and domesticated. My husband almost drew the line one time, though, because I picked up an injured pregnant possum from a roadside, and deposited her in our large furnace/laundry room. She soon got out of the heavy box that was supposed to contain her and made herself at home, on a purloined towel, in a dark space behind the furnace. That space was totally inaccessible to humans, so she probably felt safe there. Pretty soon, that one possum became a possum family. During the night-time the mother possum would wander around, crawling over lower storage shelves and into open cabinets, making things go bump in the night. She’d finish off all the food we’d left out for her and sniff out everything else of interest in that room. As her injured leg healed and she got better at moving around, I was “asked” by my husband to return her back outside in a safe place. By then, I had become quite attached to the little family and thought it might be nice to have a possum pet. NOT! With increased mobility, that mama possum was able to climb up on higher shelves and on top of the cabinets. The desire to keep her was finally given the kibosh when she got on the shelves holding quart-sized glass jars of home-canned vegetables and fruit. One night, about five weeks after she came into our lives, we heard a splintering crescendo of glass jars crashing onto the floor. A whole summers’ worth of canned tomatos, green beans, wax beans, peaches, apple sauce, apple butter and glass splinters had become an ungodly mess on the concrete floor. It was time for that possum and her babies to go! Scooping her and her chilin’s up, I hastily (and , I hate to admit it, a bit angrily) carried them out to the back of our 6-acre rural lot and turned them loose. Without so much as a fare-thee-well, she wandered quietly off carrying her little brood into the hedge-row. Hopefully she and her family all lived long, happy lives, out there away from roadways. A large tomato-tinted stain on the concrete floor was a permanent souvenier of that possum family’s brief stay in our laundry room. It was understood that any future injured possums that found their way to our abode would be housed in a metal cage in the barn.

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