...... the thanksgiving opossum ........

by martin wojtkiewicz
(farmington hills , mi)

..............................


it was a beautiful fall morning ...

the early rain left the bark of the trees dark ...

the leaves of the maple tree outside the kitchen window ...

were as red as red could be ...

mom had left to go to auntie may's house ...

they were going to start baking goodies for thanksgiving dinner ...

........................................................


it was just, dad and me ...

we were sitting around the breakfast table ...

dad made pancakes ...

he had put chocolate chips in mine ...

.... mmmmmm .... mmmmm .... good ....

....................................................

our house is very old ...

dad and mom had restored this old house ...

i helped too ...

we are very proud of our house ...

..................................................................


we were cleaning up ...

when dad says "what's that i smell" ....

i could smell it too ...

dad said it was kind of musty ...

i thought it was more like dirt ...

we started nosing around ...

trying to find where it was coming from ...

we found ourselves in the basement ...

the walls down there were made of stone ...

we could smell a little something there ...

but not as strong as in the kitchen ...

there's also a little storage room down there ...

it was directly under the kitchen ..

i think that's where the coal for the old furnace was kept ...

dad wanted to see if the odor was stronger in there ...

........................................................


there was a door to that room ...

it was different ...

made of wood boards that had gaps between them ...

reminded me of a prison cell ....

that's probably why, i thought is was a creepy room ...

inside it was dark, dank and full of spider webs ...

it was scary in there ...

i think dad didn't like it in there either ...

.......................................................


dad opens the door and slowly goes in ...

i'm close behind ...

brushing away the spider webs ...

he finds the chain hanging down from the light in the ceiling ...

and pulls it ...

that room lights up ...

it's either to bright or dark shadows in there ...

yep ....

that's where that smell was coming from ...

it was really strong there ...

so, there we are standing there looking around ...

nothing ...

nothing, but some old stuff ...

dad was about to say something ..

when all of a sudden ....

this face peaks up from a pile of old wood ...

it scared the heck out of both of us ....

i was ready to head for the door ...

dad yells out ...

it's a opossum ...

it was ...

it looked really big too ...

dad waves his arms around yells at it ...

it just stays where it is and just stares at us ...

it was really weird ...

we couldn't tell what it would do ...

so we backed out of there, closed and latched the door ...

..................................................................


never had a problem in the house like this, dad said ...

why don't we go on the internet ...

maybe we'll find a way to get rid of it ...

dad musses up my hair, and says that's quite a good idea ...

..........................................

while we're on the web, mom calls home ...

i want to tell her all about the opossum ...

dad cuts me off and takes the phone ...

she asks him some kind of question ...

ok ....he says

everything's fine here ...

then says to me ....

i don't think it's the right time to tell you mom ...

there's an animal in the house ...

no need to upset her ...

while they're busy baking ...

........................................................

there's this one site we come across ...

it tells of a special trap that will catch them alive ...

wow ... alive ....that sounded pretty exciting to me ....

then dad remembers that uncle luke had one years ago ...

let's give him a call and see ...

we call ...

he still has it and will bring it over ...

..........................................


we can't resist going back down an looking at it again ...

i think dad wants to keep an eye on it ....

down to the basement we go ...

we peek through the cracks in the door ...

nothing ....

it's too dark ...

ready to go in, says dad ...

i nod, yes ....

the door is unlatched and slowly opened ...

it's real quite ...

the furnace turns on ...

and we jump a little ...

we giggle to ourselves ...

in we go ...

i reach up ...

pulling the chain to the light in the ceiling ...

the darkness lights up ...

looking around ...

nothing ....

it's gone ...

just great! ....

it may be somewhere else in the house ...

your mother will love that, says dad ...

we move over towards one of the walls ...

to peek around where the opossum had been ...

a wood board leaning against the wall ...

falls over and hit the floor with a clap ...

the opossum takes off running from it new hiding place ...

we take off for the door ...

slam it shut, and latched it ...

we never laughed so hard ...

wow ... that was close ...

..................................................


we're trying to get over it all ...

when the door bell rings ...

it was uncle luke .....

and he's got the live trap ....

first thing he does ....

is muss up my hair ...

why do grownups always do that ...

...................................


we tell what had just happened ...

uncle luke starts laughing as hard as we did ...

................................................


the live trap is like a wire cage ...

when an animal goes in it ...

to eat the food put inside ...

the door, hinged from the top ....

falls and shuts tight ....

..................................

down to the basement the three of us go ...

i was getting pretty excited ....

this is the greatest thing ...

to happen around this house in a long time ...

..............................................


in the basement ...

we're all at that door ...

peeking in ....

nothing ....

not even a sound ...

..........................


uncle luke opens the door and slowly goes in ...

carrying the trap ....

he reaches up ...

pulling the chain to the light in the ceiling ...

the bright light darkens his appearance to us...

all of us are looking around ...

nothing ....

it's gone, again ...

just great! ....

your mother will love that, says dad again ...

...............................................................


uncle luke puts the trap down in the middle of the room ...

opens it's door till it snaps in place

it's set ...

do you think it will like the bait, i whispered ...

the peanut butter and crackers ...

i would, whispered dad back .....

the door is closed and latched ...

we make our way back up stairs ...

in the kitchen, there's a lot of talk ....

about how long it will take for the opossum ...

"to take the bait" ....

................................................


mom comes home ...

sees uncle luke ...

surprised to see him ...

joking, asks ....

what's the occasion for the visit .....

she gets the whole story ....

i want to see it, she says ...

just wait a while ...

when we catch it, you can play with it ...

i don't think so, she goes on ...

she joins us around the table ...

and asks my uncle ...

if he would like to stay for dinner ...

he does ...

.......................................


it's the next day ...

thanksgiving morning ....

though, it feels more like christmas ...

'cause ... we have to check the trap ...

.......................................


dad wants to wait till uncle luke comes over ...

we are all going over to auntie may's house for turkey dinner ...

he finally gets here ..

i'm jumping up and down with excitement ....

can't wait to go to the basement ...

but the grown-ups have to catch up first with their goings on ...

.................................................................


finally ...

we make our way down to the basement ...

we are all trying to peek through the cracks in that door ...

nothing ...

too dark ...

the door is opened ....

dad's the first one in ...

then uncle, me then mom ....

my uncle pulls the chain to the light in the ceiling ...

the light is on ...

the darkness lights up ...

our eyes adjust to the room ...

........................................................


staring at us ...

in the trap is the opossum ...

.... w w w w o o ow w w ....

we got it ....

it turned around in the cage a couple of times ...

then just stared at us again ....

..................................................


mom thinks it's kind of cute ....

in an odd way ...

glad that it's in the cage and soon out of her house ...

the decision is made, that on the way to aunties house ...

we'll stop at a nearby park to set it free ...

............................................

off we go to thanksgiving dinner ...

the park is more of a nature area ....

it's mostly just woods ...

we all discuss how to handle the release of the animal ...

this could be a touchy situation ...

who knows what that animal will do when the trap door is opened ...

it could turn and attack ...

dad gets out of the car ...

cautiously, takes out the trap ....

sets it on the ground, ...

opens it, and bolts for the safety of the car ...

.................................................


the opossum just waddles out of the trap ...

it heads for a trial into the woods ...

we all watch it go along ...

then, we see a deer standing at the beginning of the trail ....

that deer must have been there all the time watching the event ...

the opossum waddles towards the deer ....

the deer just stands watching the opossum coming towards it ...

the opossum gets up next to the deer and they look at each other ...

then deer and the opossum both turn ...

and walk down the trail that leads to the woods, together ...

and disappear ...

........................................................


sitting in the car, we look at each other in disbelief ...

no one is ever going to believe this story ....

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