Believe it or not, I have an opossum story from the route. This happened a few years back when I worked in the Heights. In the very early spring, perhaps it was actually late winter, there was a series of storms that flooded certain areas without melting all the snow. It was a little strange. I’m pretty sure this possum was driven from its hole or whatever due to these storms.
I was delivering on Jefferson Street, right on the block that deadends into Dana Corp which occupies several blocks there on the other side of Delano. I saw the possum on the front steps of the home with its head against the wall right next to the front door and, unfortunately, right below the mailbox. It wasn’t moving so I wasn’t sure if it was dead or alive. There was still quite a bit of snow, so I picked up a handful, made a little snowball, and lobbed it near the possum to see what it would do. To my surprise, it turned its head toward where the snowball had hit, hissed, then turned its head right back against the front wall of the house. The mailbox was only about a foot above the poor creature. I could tell it just wanted to be left alone.
So I bypassed delivering mail there. But as I was coming back down the other side of the street, about three or four kids (ages 8-16) from the inside of the house began yelling at me. They were on the porch of the house looking out the window at me and the possum on the front steps.
Hey! Hey! Spray him! Spray the possum!
They obviously knew that I carry dog spray with me and wanted me to use it on this animal to try to get it away from their house. I shook my head "No" and kept on walking.
You scared. You scared.
Ahhh. Now there trying to get a reaction out of me.
I’m not afraid.
No, you scared.
No, I’m not scared, it’s just not my job to go around spraying animals.
If you not scared, then put the mail in the box!
I thought for a second. Hmmmmm. I was fairly certain the possum wouldn’t do anything unless directly provoked. So I walked over to that side of the street and up their sidewalk, reached just above the possum, and dropped the mail in the box. All the kids inside just looked down at the mail going into the box. Then the looks on their faces changed to bewilderment as they realized they would have to retrieve the mail out of the box somehow. They looked at the box, then at the possum, then back at me. It was like I could hear their thoughts saying, "How are we supposed to get our mail now?" I walked away with a very smug look on my face.
Hey, don’t mess with yo mailman.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
P.S. I was reminded of this story because a fellow on my current route who likes to joke around shouted out the other day, "Through rain, and sleet, and snow, and crocodiles, and stingrays…" This fellow followed the Steve Irwin story pretty closely. Then I remembered this story and told it to him. He got a big kick out of it.