It’s been a quiet summer. Aside from trying to ignore a new dog down the block that barks round the clock, babysitting my six month old grandson whenever I can, and recovering from Daughter moving to India (more on that another time), there’s not that much to tell. Which is why it felt like a scene from Deliverance when Husband walked in the door the other night and said there was a dead animal in the street right in front of our house.
OSV: Are you sure it’s dead?
HUSBAND: Oh, yeah.
OSV: I hate to get my hopes up, but do you think it’s that barking dog down the block?
Our conversation was interrupted by the barking dog.
HUSBAND: It’s not a dog.
OSV: A cat?
HUSBAND: I think it’s a badger.
OSV: A badger? Where are we, Wyoming? We’re like ten miles from Manhattan. It’s probably a raccoon.
HUSBAND: I’m telling you, that’s no raccoon; it’s a badger.
I looked at him like, I don’t think so, Ranger Dan.
OSV: Describe him and I’ll Google it.
HUSBAND: Forget Google. Come outside and look.
Oh, right. There’s a real world.
Which is how I found myself standing in the middle of our suburban street at 11:00 pm in the Notre Dame nightshirt I won in a raffle when the kids were in grade school and loafers I found in the coat closet on the way out. Peering down at roadkill.
OSV: You’re right, it’s not a raccoon.
Our neighbor from across the street appeared next to us fully dressed. He even had a hat on, which seemed somewhat surreal since he and his wife are older than us and go to bed earlier. Or so I thought.
NEIGHBOR: I called the police and reported it, so someone should come pick it up tomorrow.
OSV: What is it?
OSV: A possum, or an opossum?
NEIGHBOR: Possums are found in the Eastern Hemisphere. This is an opossum.
Right then I felt ridiculous for not being able to identify a creature indigenous to my own hemisphere. Also because I was in a nightshirt and penny loafers out of Laverne & Shirley while a couple out walking (doesn’t this neighborhood sleep?) said hello as they passed. And they didn’t ask why we were in the middle of the road, or what the deal was with the dead badger. Were they the barking dog parents trying to keep a low profile? I get suspicious in the dark.
NEIGHBOR: (pointing up) Look at that moon.
We all looked up at the brilliant moon, at perigee that night, the closest proximity to the Earth the moon reaches in its elliptical orbit. An iridescent golden eye shining down on our little snapshot of suburbia, with an opossum at its center. We nodded goodnight to each other and retreated into our respective homes. Once inside, I felt the urge to go back out and cover the animal with something, but the moon seemed big enough.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos are her Farewell to the City