The Cat, the Possum, and the Pistol
When you live in the country, you learn quickly to expect daily interaction with nature: the birds of the air, the beasts of the forest, or the things that creep around on the ground; especially if you are owned by a cat. We have three cats that claim ownership of our family (one does not own a cat; they tolerate your presence in their house as long as they are fed, watered, and rubbed properly). Livingston is the “big” brother of Garfield. At 13, he is the old man of the house. Mickey is the prissy little house cat. And then there is Lucky. Lucky is the sleek epitome of the feline killer. All three cats are proficient in the arts of feline predation, but Lucky is the Acme of Feline perfection. Every morning, he proudly leaves us a meal to share. Some days there are headless mice or moles. On other days, it could be partially digested Geckos or tree frogs. The wood rats are long since gone. We do get various and sundry avians, as well as the occasional adult rabbit missing its haunches. Typically, the gifts are laid right outside the back door where we cannot miss them.
A few weeks back, I decided to take a day off and get some of life’s necessities out of the way. Tires for the truck, renew my driver’s license at the DMV, gather up school supplies, and a few other odds and ends. I was leaving first to get some cash from the credit union for the tires and license. The Mrs. and the kids would pick me up at the tire shop and drop me at the DMV. As I was packing up the truck, I noticed a new gift from Lucky. It was a juvenile possum. This time, Lucky had left him in the yard, about fifty feet from the back door. I just figured he got tired of dragging him from wherever the un-lucky fellow had been found. He looked dead. His eyes were open with the thousand yard stare that deceased animals usually have. I know that possums are famous for playing possum, but he looked pretty much dead. I did not check his pulse or respiration because, having been trained in the arts of CPR, I did not want to be ethically compelled to perform CPR and rescue breathing on the critter. I went back in the house to inform the Mrs., but she was on the phone. So, I hopped in the truck and started my day.
Just as I pulled into the parking lot of the credit union, me cel phone rang. Caller ID said “Home” so I picked up (what did we ever do in the days before instant communication?). It was the Mrs. “There’s a Possum in the Yard” Me: “ Yeah I know. Lucky left you another gift. I tried to tell you before I left, but you were on the phone. Just have one of the girls get the shovel and bury it in the garden”. Mrs.: “But it’s alive. I just saw him move his head.” Me: “OK, just take the shovel and” Mrs. “I can’t do that”. Me: “OK. Just shoot him. The .22’s in the front of the gun safe and there are shorts in the clip on the top shelf” Mrs. “I don’t have time for that. I getting my Pistol” Me: “OK. Bye”.
Now the Mrs. has a Dan Wesson, .357, double action, revolver that I gave her as an anniversary present a few years back. I know at this point, some of you of the fairer sex, are shaking your heads disapprovingly, while the men nod and think about their next gift requirement for their better halves. But, I assure you ladies, that this gift was well received. The Mrs. has become quite proficient at dispatching chicken snakes that decide to make a meal of our biddies. And besides, I know Santa thought it was a great gift because he left her two packs of CCI .357 snake shot in her stocking the following Christmas!
So when the van pulls up at the tire shop, out come the girls to give the report. “Mama shot a possum that Lucky brought back. She had to shoot him three times”. I looked at the Mrs. “Three shots on a baby possum?” Mrs. “I swear the first one went right through his ears, but he was still moving!” Now, unless you dispatch critters on a regular basis, you might not know that critters do funny things once detached from their central nervous system; anything from twitches to the proverbial chicken running with its head cut off (See Amber Verses the Rooster). As we drove off to sacrifice several hours at the DMV, all I could do was smile. Life in the country is always interesting.