Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Austin Day 6

I walked a different route through Hyde Park yesterday on my morning walk with Westley and Hope. I'm really getting to know Beth's neighbourhood well, which will be great during future visits. It's nice to feel that everything is familiar and that you can step out the door and be confident that you won't get lost. Of course, having the streets in a grid helps, too.

After Hope's (short) nap yesterday all of us loaded up to go buy a suit for Graeme who has to go to a funeral this week and, turns out, has never owned a suit. He found a great suit, an Armani suit, the most beautiful men's suit I've seen. Let's just say you get what you pay for.

After that, some friends of Beth's, Matt and Heather, brought over a yummy supper. During their visit, Westley tried to run head first through the patio door. I figured he must have seen another possum, Austin's answer to other cities' rats. They are truly vermin with rat-like tails and big furry bodies. They scavenge for anything and this particular one seemed to have been interested in Westley's pig femur that he left in the back yard. I spotted the possum near the back gate. He was shuffling backwards and making weird yakking motions with his mouth. Matt said he was about to play dead, a possum's well-known defence mechanism. He did just that. He keeled over on his back and lay there. I checked back thirty minutes later and he was still laying there. I suggested he was actually dead. Everyone laughed at me and said that I'd been taken in by the possum. Check out the photo and you be the judge. Are you taken in? Do the flies on his face maybe just a little bit make you wonder?

After confirming with the experts that he wouldn't move if I approached him, I took a couple of photos. I noticed a few flies on his mouth. I mentioned it to the crowd inside. Matt said: "Pretty convincing, isn't it?" I still was suspicious that this possum was not playing possum. Really, why would the flies be in on the ruse?

Two and a half hours later Graeme started to see my side of things. He went out to take a look and (against my advice) took Westley with him. Westley beelined it to the possum, shook him around and flung him back on the ground while Graeme was yelling at him to let it go.

Graeme agreed. The possum was dead.

He's still out there this morning and most definitely dead. We have a number of theories on what did him in. I think he choked on something . He was doing that weird backing up, yakking motion. Maybe it was a heart attack when he saw Westley run into the door. Now we're presented with an opportunity as I see it. Late last night Graeme and I were googling Fried Possum. It's amazing how many recipes are out there. Tomorrow is Wednesday after all and I'm on the hunt for a new recipe.

Edited to add: I just called the City to remove Beth's dead possum. I had to carry said possum to the curb. I feel so distinctly Austonian right now and just a little bit Texan.


sheryl said...

Ah yes, every Texan has a possum story. My husband called me at home not long ago and asked me to look in the trash can to see if there was anything alive in there. The dogs had brought a baby possum into the house and he thought it was dead so he threw it away... but it wasn't dead, just in the trash can.

Now all you need is an armadillo story. I used to race them when I was little... and no, I'm not kidding!

juls said...

That photo is just a little bit disturbing. And you nearly had me with the possum recipe threat! Glad to hear you are having an authentic Austin visit.

Sara said...

What is it with you and dead rodents Karen? First the squirrels, then the chipmunks, now possum? What's next?!

Shan said...

Oh you are much braver than me. No way would I be taking that to the curb.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, there might be a spot open for you in Illinois as the chief coroner! (since you obviously know dead things from play-dead things). The coroner here recently told me to call one of my patient's families to find out the cause of death of a patient I had seen as a consult!!!