As a resurrection should, this started

just before dawn on a Sunday morning.

I had an early meeting that day and was

in the process of heading for the door when my two resident canines — Che and

Pirate — began barking and growling, which is rare for these two.


shouting the obligatory "SHADDUP!" out the window, I felt compelled to

investigate. As I stepped onto the back patio I discovered a large — five-pound — and decidedly dead possum lying on the concrete.

There was no time for a

traditional backyard funeral, so donning a pair of rubber gloves, I took the

recently departed and still warm critter by the tail and dropped him in a nice

new garbage bag, and dumped it in the empty garbage can — THUMP!

Exit Roger

to his meeting.

About 12 hours later I was about to dump some normal trash

into the can. But when I opened the lid, the "dead" possum was no longer in

the plastic bag. He was still lying on his side and absolutely motionless, but

this time a very black eye was open and seemed to be staring at me.

Then I

did what I always do when confronted by the undead. I ran back in the house

yelling for Susan. After a two-second peek into the garbage can, Susan declared

the possum resurrected. Yes, I had heard the phrase "playing possum," but if

there is an Academy Award for possum performances, this marsupial had it nailed.

He never so much as twitched as I picked him up and dropped him in the


Now that he was back from the dead, we were left with the immediate

challenge of how to set him free. Susan asked if I had some thick gloves, to

which I responded, "Are you out of your mind?"

Then a bright idea erupted. I

have a post-hole digger. Maybe I could — very gently — use the clamshell end to

grab the beast to set him free.

Any lingering doubt the possum was in fact

among the living was wiped out the instant he saw the tool descending into the

can. Teeth bared and hissing, the critter explained this was a really bad


Proving I can ultimately grasp the obvious, I realized the thing to do

is open the gate to the outside world and tip over the can to set the beastie


I dumped him out on the concrete. After the day this possum had had, I

figured he'd beat feet the heck out of Dodge the minute he was free, but he just

shuffled a few feet out of the gate and stopped.

His lack of a hasty exit

made me worry about him. After all, he'd been intimidated by a pair of giant

carnivorous monsters — Pirate and Che; then a two-legged creature had grabbed

him by the tail, tied him into an airtight plastic bag, dropped it into a dark,

stinky, ragingly hot box, and on top of everything else — he'd been "dead" all

day. Maybe he could use some water?

Susan agreed, but her efforts to get

water for the beleaguered critter startled him and he tried to duck under the

gate back into the yard, getting stuck under it in the process. This possum was

having a really bad day.

Very gingerly — the critter was again showing off

his nifty teeth — I reopened the gate, freeing him and the minute he was

released he trotted, a bit more swiftly, toward me. This was a choice I wanted

to discourage, so I stamped my feet and said something

witty like, "No! No!


He reversed course but again stopped just outside the gate. Hoping to

encourage his total escape, I continued to stamp my size 12s on the concrete. To

my relief he scampered, well at least strolled, around the corner of the house

and out of sight. By the time I shut the gate and went around front to see where

he had gone — POOF! — no possum.

I searched but never found a sign of him

again, which I guess is appropriate for a creature who had just come back

from the dead.