When I was young, our family lived in a neighborhood. People and houses were all around us. We didn’t really have deer in our yard too often. The only thing we really had come into our yard were crazy hummingbirds. Hummingbirds need to go to anger management classes. I’m serious. Even if they aren’t hungry, they will buzz right back over to mess with the hungry hummingbirds. My mom had several feeders out on the back porch and we had all the hummingbirds in North America visiting the nectar in our yard.
But, that was the extent of the wildlife. When I got married and we moved to my husband’s hometown, I remember hearing owls when it was almost dark. I loved it. For weeks I heard the owls. Until my husband informed me that they were just mourning doves. “Just” mourning doves. I had no idea what a mourning dove was. And why the hell was it coming in the evening. Nobody told me it was spelled like a really sad dove. So, what I thought was an owl was really a depressed pigeon. Welcome to wildlife.
Who knew that when we built our house out on 13 acres that I would become a wildlife whisperer. See http://dyingbraincells.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/elly-may-clampett/ I was a stay-at-home mom and took daily walks through the woods and was amazed at all the wildlife. I loved it. I could tame anything. I am surprised I never got bit, especially during, “the Episode.”
We went to the animal shelter and brought home an outside cat. We didn’t know that people dropped off cats in the countryside, so I guess we could have just waited for a stray to show up, as they regularly did. But, we rescued Tiger and he lived outside. One evening I went outside to sit on the front porch. It was almost dark and my babies were in bed for the night. We hadn’t purchased porch furniture yet, but had 2 folding lawn chairs out there on the corner of our long porch. In the darkness I could see that Tiger was sitting under one of them, so I plopped myself down and then tried to get Tiger to come out from under the chair.
I sat in the chair, saying his name like I was a nutcase. “Ti-ger…come here, baby…Ti-iiii-ger…”, all the while trying to put my hand under the chair to try to pet him. I couldn’t reach him. My hand was moving under the chair some more, calling to him. Cat’s sometimes don’t do what they are asked to do. So, I just sat there, quietly waving my right arm sort of under the chair.
All of a sudden, I saw Tiger jump up onto the porch. Uh-Oh….My dangling hand froze. If that was Tiger……what was under my chair? My eyes grew huge…like cartoon, out of the head eyes. I slowly got out of my chair and ran out into the yard.
I turned around to see a oppossum. It must have been playing dead under my chair. I was ready to be dead for real out in the yard. My heart was racing.Dear God, the thing could have taken off my arm.
Well, after a while, I got very used to wildlife at my door. The oppossum came back almost every night to eat out of Tiger’s food bowl. I named him Poopy Butt. I think that is a fitting name for an oppossum.
I will never forget that evening. My eyes have never been right since.