As a child, I used to love reading Walt Kelly’s Pogo. I’m quite positive, at 10 or 12 or whatever age I was, that I didn’t comprehend the adult themes and politics in it. In fact, I probably still wouldn’t understand the politics of it. I’ve never been a political animal, even after taking a 100 level PoliSci class in college. It just doesn’t interest me.
So why did I bring it up?
Because I grew up thinking possums, which is what Pogo was, were somewhat smart. I’ve since come to learn otherwise.
There’s a possum in our yard. I think it lives under our neighbor’s deck. It’s a baby possum. Not sure where the mother is.
Anyway, the possum has had several run-ins with our dogs. My dalmatian found it a week ago, hiding near our neighbor’s rain barrel.
Then a few days later, it came into our yard. Big mistake. Our Jack Russell got ahold of it and ran around the yard with it, probably thinking it was one of my sons’ stuffed animals that they left outside.
I managed to get it away from them. It was playing dead. I took a broom and brushed it into a bucket and set it by our front porch. After a while, it was gone.
Anyway, I hadn’t seen it for a few days now. But my dogs, especially my dalmatian, pace the fence line looking for it. And lately, they seem to be nosing around our gas grill.
Tonight, I let my dalmatian out and when he got to the backyard, he took off after something. I was going to the garage and I saw a little pointy snout peek out from the side of the garage.
A few minutes later I got a flashlight and found it lying by the fence.
It was playing possum. It looked dead all right, but whenever I pushed it with my toe, I could see its tongue moving. I shooed the dogs into the house and when I came back out it was gone again.
So, I started to think, possums, Pogo excepted, must be pretty stupid. If I kept getting barked at, and chased, and picked up, by a couple dogs, I’d take note that the white picket fence was the demarcation line of where I’d want to go.
Well, later tonight, as I’m enjoying a cigar, the dogs are again nosing around the grill. Then I remember, a few days ago the grease trap for the grill (basically nothing more than an empty can of soup that catches the grease drippings) had fallen to the ground and the grease looked like it had a whole in it. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now that I think on it, the whole was the perfect shape for a pointy snout to fit into.
The possum has found the grease and is probably making a nightly visit to it. I have been grilling quite a bit this summer season so far and I’d imagine the drippings from hamburgers and bratwurst would be pretty tasty.
So now I’m wondering if it isn’t that Pogo is too stupid to understand the dogs’ territory as it is just as addicted to the greasy fatty goodness of hamburger fat as I am.
Maybe, to be nice. I should put a can of grease outside the fenceline for it.
Or should I just call the DNR?