Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gollum and Sam

Since so many of you find the little opossum in the previous post interesting, and since I've not told the 2006 opossum story on this blog as I thought I had, I will now tell the tale.

July 4, 2006. My parents were up for a few days of holiday fun. We were roasting marshmallows by the backyard campfire to make s'mores. Sam began to bark and bark and bark his urgent bark. Tom and Joe found what the ruckus was all about - Sam had found a baby possum (pictured below) under the squash leaves in the garden.

Tom picked him up, we each took a peek, I took some pictures, then Tom set the little guy (gal?) free in the neighbor's backyard where an overgrown blackberry thicket tangles. Tom has always wanted a pet opossum but I've always thought it would be a bad idea. For better or worse, we did things my way on Independence Day.

A few weeks later who should appear but this same little possum perched unperturbed on the six-foot fence under the purple-flowered shrubs. At the scent and sound of the schlumpy critter Sam shot out of the house, low and fast, toe-nails digging into the dirt as he streaked to the fence. Our overly-excited beagle positioned his trembling, tense, muscular body below the intruder and commenced barking bloody murder.

It was midnight.

Tom sauntered toward the crazed beagle where he spotted the possum, surprised to see familiar markings. It was unmistakably the same little one grown up a bit. My just-home-from-work husband stroked the stiff-haired animal's head. Yes, you read correctly, stroked its head. Right between his beady eyes and behind his perky ears.

Naturally Sam went bananas with his barking as if to say, "Tom, don't you know, it's an enemy in our compound. What are you doing scratching its HEAD! Stop! Cease! Desist! Pu-lease!"

Tom didn't stop.

The girls named the opossum Gollum for in The Lord of the Rings Gollum and Samwise are adveraries. Sam, the beagle, is named Samwise after Frodo's true and loyal companion, for that it was Sammy is to us.

Gollum came by every single night until the rainy season began. Weeks, weeks of midnight beagle dash-and-bark and freshly-showered Tom walking out to stroke his fence-roosting friend, Gollum. Weeks of summer and early autumn nights when I stared at my bedroom ceiling listening to backyard racket wondering how I ended up in this circus of a life.

Maybe this story helps you understand why, when Sam discovered another stray baby possum the other day, I said in no uncertain terms, "No. No. No. Don't even think about it, no more possum pets, no Gollum #2, fuggedaboudit."

Tom, who's experienced his pet possum dream, has agreed that once was enough. It's fun for awhile, sure, but midnight barkings and scratchings get old, even for a possum enthusiast. It was fun (funny!) while it lasted.

Happily, little Gollum 2 from the previous post is more shy than his predecessor and we all remain asleep at midnight. Even the dog. Most of the time.

It is as it should be.


Beario said...

Ohh! Gollum was soooo cute! I wonder where he got off to.... He was much calmer and sweeter then Gollum #2!

Ann said...

Cute story! I'm sad that "Paris" the possum has moved to West Virginia with her human family. I'll sure miss seeing her at the nursing home & I know a lot of other folks will, too.

Deanna said...

I like the story and your clever names for pets. I do think, though, that I recall some of the Gollum tale earlier in your blogging days...Anyway it's fun to hear it (and see him) again. :o)

Cherie said...

His baby pictures do show a cute little possum, huh Caroline. He was much calmer than Gollum 2, you are right about that.

Ann, awww, yes the Paris will certainly be missed. Hopefully she'll be happy in her West Virginia abode. Maybe a new creature will show up to take the place of the lovely Paris the Possum!

Deanna, I THOUGHT I'd posted it. Then I couldn't find it so thought I'd just sent the story out via email to family and friends. I found it here finally, in March of 2007. I remembered things pretty well. Got squash mixed up with tomato plants, but mostly, yeah, it's pretty unforgettable. Oh well, my new readers who may have missed the first edition can maybe enjoy this new installment. You have a good memory!

Carolina said...

Good old Gollum! But I thought we named the new baby possum Gollum JR. :P Ohh well #2 works for me! :)

Cherie said...

I think you may be right, Cassie, that we were calling him Gollum Jr. Or maybe you and Caroline were and I called him #2. In any case, we know the little guy and are glad he's safe and sound. Yippee!!

Gardenia said...

I'm smiling - to pet a possum is nothing short of a miracle - but this story is another miracle - you Possum Whisperers, you!