Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to ME!! Gift Number 1

Normally, I like to keep my birthday quiet; slip past the desks at the office and celebrate with my family.  However, today is a little different.

It began last night.  After visitors most of the day, it was well past the Girls bedtime when the last one left.  I ventured into the darkness only a porch light to guide my way.  The girls were fed, watered, and locked in for the night.  Then I heard it.  A strange sound in the trees on the south fence.  There is was, staring at me, a possum perched on the fence, visible only by the beam of light from the porch.  I hissed and barked and the thing did not move.  

After walking away, I turned back one last time and the possum slipped into the darkness and the yard next door.

This morning I woke and realized this possum was a gift from Gerald, my dearest friend killed in a motorcycle accident last May.  The photo below is the only birthday card he sent me, and it's upside down on purpose.  Here's the story...
The year was 1980 and I accepted a job in AZ with the current contractor rather than the new contractor at Ft Hood. My apartment wanted a full month's rent for the last 2 weeks, but Gerald offered his couch in exchange for the materials and labor to build a deck. (That in itself is another story). I was sleeping on the couch, when a scratching sound from the kitchen awakened me. I opened my eyes and standing on the stove was the biggest rat I'd ever seen.

"Rat! Rat!" was all I could manage to scream. Gerald came running down the hall and started laughing. It was a 'possum. We painfully managed to remove the varmint from the premises.  
I poked at the possum with the fishing pole and Gerald waited for the possum to run out from the lit broiler.  Gerald was in shorts armed only with welding gloves.  The possum grabbed the fishing pole and tug-a-war began, along with a tad of panic while Gerald laughed at me.  The critter ran out at long last, Gerald grabbed it by the tail and it was hanging upside down as we took it out to dump it.  All the while, the possum was making growling, gurgling noises.  He returned twice more. On the third morning, Gerald hauled the possum several miles away.  That did the trick; he returned no more.
Gerald swears that when I hollered "Rat! Rat!" the possum was yelling back "Human! Human!" It was one of his favorite stories to tell on me. Last year, Gerald sent me this birthday card with a possum on the cover. Your call - coincidence or is Gerald still having a little more fun at my expense?
Birthday card, with instructions to view upside down.  Inside the words Rat Rat & Human Human were scrawled under the birthday wishes.
I am convinced the nocturnal visitor was a gift, a gag gift from Gerald.  After all, his sister found a brand new Black and Decker flashlight on her way to work for her birthday.

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