A Possum Scorned
By Libby Colterjohn
She visited my husband every evening for about three years as he savoured his Scotch and listened to classical music. I was upstairs reading my book in bed by then, so all was quiet in the house. Mrs. Possie was a large, female possum who lived in the trees next door and produced a litter of babies each spring in our pump- house. She came in to eat whatever was left in the cat dishes, and was just part of our lives. Even the cats accepted her.
One day my husband was taken to hospital and I went with him. The maid fed the cats once a day and the doors were locked by the time Mrs. Possie arrived. 12 days later I returned home alone and was greeted by a furious animal.
When I opened the doors, she rushed into the kitchen, got onto the counters, and threw everything that she could move onto the floor. I was in no state to deal with this so kept the doors shut from then on.
When she discovered she was no longer welcome, she tore the door and window screens apart. She then came down the chimney, bringing lots of soot with her, so I had the chimney stack wired. Night after night, she sat outside my bedroom window and screeched. Hell hath no fury like this possum scorned!
I was living alone, newly widowed, and Mrs. Possie’s harassment became frightening. It seemed that she missed Duncan as much as I did. In desperation, I called my veterinarian daughter-in-law, Moira, who advised me to talk to her.
The following evening, I opened the door, filled the cat dishes, and sat down close by to wait for her to arrive, which she did.
I then talked to this big, hairy, animal for about 20 minutes, sobbing my eyes out. I told her that I couldn’t cope with her antics but, if she behaved well, I would let her in each evening as before.
She looked at me full in the eyes, between mouthfuls, and finally left. Next evening, she arrived on schedule, ate her left-overs, and took a good look at me as if to say, “I’ve kept my side of the bargain now you keep yours,” and ambled out.
Peace returned to the house.