Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And It's Not Even an Election Year, Pogo

Last night, around 10:00 pip emma, I was walking up 8th Street in Jersey City, along the concrete wall that rings the back yard of the old folks' home, when I suddenly caught sight of a shadowy critter scuttling before me. It was about the size of a small cat, but its gait and the way it kept its right flank against the wall made me think of rats, and a frisson ran through me at the size of the thing.

It reached the point where the wall becomes a chain-link fence and began to climb. I then saw that it was neither rat nor cat, but an opossum, by cracky! In the middle of a metropolis—and a Yankee one, at that. I paused to study it, and it squatted on the top of the fence, studying me. I offered it directions back to the Okeefenokee, since I always like to do the civil thing, but it did not answer. After a moment, it turned, descended the other side of the fence and disappeared beneath the bushes.

A passerby came up at this point, and I mentioned the recent apparition to him. "Oh, yes," he said, as cool as some cucumbers; "there are lots of 'possums around here." Well, that was news to me. Until that moment, I'd never seen anything rural in Jersey City, apart from fireflies.

Incidentally, I wonder whatever made Walt Kelly think that he could draw a 'possum.


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