Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Playing Possum

I read this post on Stimey's blog the other day and it reminded me of a story about our dog Valentine.  Shortly after we adopted her, our friend Scott came for a visit from Hawaii.  He has a bunch of family in Manassas, VA so several of us got together to go camping down there while he was in town (though we may have actually ended up sleeping in a house, I don't quite remember.)

Okay, so this was a grown up camp out so there were many beers.  We had a bonfire too.  That's actually a funny tangent.  We were going down to the river with Scott's little cousins (they were ages 6-12, and there were probably 8 of them) to start the bonfire and Scott says to them, "So, guys, how do we start a bonfire?"  And they all shouted in unison, "GASOLINE!"  And then these children proceeded to start a bonfire with gasoline.  It was pretty funny at the time, but now that I'm a parent I find this pretty disturbing.  Still a little funny though.  (These same cousins sneaked out of the house several hours later after their bedtime to hang out with us by the river and we were like, "Um, should you really be here?"  And they were like, "It's fine because we're with responsible adults." After we all died laughing, Scott walked them back up to the house and they were busted.)

Back to the story.  So, Scott and our friend Katie had been riding around on this four wheeler and they flipped it.  They were upside down on a steep river bank.  It was kind of scary (and stupid) but thankfully, Nelson had not been drinking and we was able to direct Miche and I so we could get them and the four wheeler up the bank.  Scott and Katie were minimally hurt, but the four wheeler did not fare so well.

Scott, Katie and Nelson went up to the house to try and see if they could fix the four wheeler (or something) and Miche and I stayed with Valentine down by the river.  I had been keeping Valentine on leash because we'd only had her two weeks or so (Valentine was about 1.5 years old at the time) and we were in the woods in an unfamiliar location.

For some reason (beer number six, perhaps?) I decided to go ahead and let her off leash.  She was fine for several minutes, but then she just bolted.  Gone, into the dark, dark woods.  I was pretty concerned that she might fall down the steep river bank or run up to the road.  Miche and I started calling and whistling for her and she came running up.

She was not alone.

There was...something...dangling from her mouth.  A rather large, rat-like something.

Miche and I started telling Valentine to "Drop it!" and she did.  It fell limply to the ground.  I grabbed Valentine and Miche inched over to the something to find out what it is.  

"It's a possum.  I'm pretty sure it's dead," she told me.

(I should state here that Miche is not at all a wimpy girl like me. She's tough, and the inching was really only because she wasn't sure what it was.)

I hate possums.  Hate, hate, hate.  They're just so gross with their long rat tails and their rant snots and their trash rooting.  Yuck!  I'm pretty sure I went all girly at this point and started freaking out.  There was a dead possum in the middle of our campground, people.  It was disgusting.  Miche, being my hero and super awesome, announced that she'd get rid of it.  She was going to toss it over into the woods.

She grabbed and empty plastic grocery bag and used it to pick up the possum by the tail.

And then the little bastard started MOVING.  Moving a lot.  While Miche was HOLDING IT BY THE TAIL.

At this point, while holding the live-but-recently-thought-dead-possum by the tail, I'm pretty sure Miche screamed. It was probably something profane.  It was probably, "FUCK!"  And she threw it.  I can't actually recall what she said because I was in the process of having a heart attack and trying to restrain Valentine who was going ape shit.

So, Miche tossed it and it went scampering off into the woods.  We were both pretty shocked for a minute.  And they we started laughing hysterically, because that possum? Was playing possum. And we totally bought it.  Neither of us ever even considered the possibility that the possum was simply pretending to be dead even though possums are KNOWN for playing dead when faced with mortal danger.  I blame the beer.


VandyJ said...

Oh, that's too funny. I'd blame the beer too.

Stacie said...

Bwahahaha, silly humans.

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

Susanica said...

Once again you've cracked me up Jenni. Bravo!

John said...

Wow, though I know from experience that possums do actually play possum, as well.

I once had a cat who loved to bring me presents. One day, I went to bed really early & he ran in from outside with something gray in his mouth. It was a bird - a perfectly alive bird (I have no clue how the cat managed to catch it & carry it through the house without causing significant harm).

Said cat jumped on the bed & dropped the bird at my chest, where it promptly flew to a corner, the cat swatting it the whole time. Eventually, I managed to kick out the screen of my window & get the bird to leave that way.

The cat, it never treated me the same afterward.

Stimey said...

That is hysterical! I think I would have lost it completely if I were holding a dead animal that came back to life. Thanks for the story, it was a good one!!

Jamie said...

Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Oh god. Possums are disgusting. I grew up on 40 acres of woods & it wasn't uncommon to open the front door at night & see a possum staring back at you. Barf, barf, barf.

BTW-hello again :) I'm making "good" use of preschool time & catching up on all of my blogs

Sprite's Keeper said...

Ha! I'd probably need a drink to get over that!

Mrsbear said...

I blame the beer too, I knew what was coming as soon as you said the possum fell limp. Trickery. Seriously though, them critters are guh-ross.

GrzzlyGrrl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GrzzlyGrrl said...

First and foremost, that is one of my all time favorite memories...Secondly, I was having my own heart attack when the nasty little bugger started MOVING...and of course i thought it was dead, when I was a kid I had a chow chow and she always killed them, silly me to for not realizing Valentine is a retriever...& Jenni, you are one of a very few people who have ever heard me SQUEAL...thanks for sharing and reliving that memory:)

Julie at MDMA said...

Possums are so disgusting! Nasty, pointy teeth and big ol' honkin', hairless tails ... YUCK! I would have LOST IT! I hope you guys had at least one more beer after that.

QuinnJ怡潔 said...


Katie said...

Wow... I totally forgot about that night! And shockingly (surpressed, selective memory?), I do not remember the four wheeler flip incident, but clearly remember the kids sneaking out and the "responsible adults" comment! Oh, those were good times. Thanks so much for the memory!
PS- I think this is my Oscarelli debut! :)

Casey said...

Oh grooooooooooooosss. I thought you were going to say it got tossed into the bonfire. Then you could have had a nice meal.