A Opossum’s Tale

(No, the title is not a typo. I’ve never pronounced that first “o” in “opossum,” so even though the word begins with a vowel, I begin it with a consonant sound, hence “a” instead of “an.” Just so you know.)

Yesterday, I was on the beautiful campus of Clemson with Steve. While he ran an errand, I wandered around the campus. Now, I’m used to the uncharacteristic boldness of campus wildlife, and by “campus wildlife,” I mean squirrels. At my undergrad, there was at least one old lady who fed the squirrels, so they had more than their usual spunk around humans, and it’s not too different at Clemson. (The spunk. I know nothing about the feeding.)

However, as I was walking down a nice gravel path, I see a opossum trundling down the path toward me, looking for all the world as though he belonged. For some reason, I remember opossums being cute. This fellow was not. He was k ind of the Nala of the opossum kingdom. And it worried me a little to see a nocturnal animal wandering around so boldly during the day. He continued heading toward me even after I stopped to watch him.

As he drew closer, I asked him, “Are you rabid?” It was a legitimate concern, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he stopped, looked slowly up at me, and did a 180-degree turn. He never really showed any fear, and he didn’t run away. Just turned and walked, still following the path, for all the world as though I had inconvenienced him. I must say… that was a first.

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