I headed up to the bedroom last night after watching my beloved Wildcats dispatch the Fighting Yuppies of Vanderbilt, and because I was the last of us to bed, I let the Hound of the Basketballs out the sliding glass door to make her appointed backyard rounds. It’s usually a 5- or 10-minute event, but within a couple of minutes, I heard the Hound’s steady barking — yap, yap, yap — coming from the vicinity of our patio.
I called for her. Yap, yap, yap. So I stepped out back (clad only in my skivvies — I was ready for bed, after all) to discover that I had arrived upon a Sergio Leone-cum-Tarantinian showdown between the Hound and a good sized opossum. By “good sized”, I mean that the possum (not counting the tail) was about the same size as Jasmine (the Hound, not the Disney character). Jazz had cornered the interloper, and seemed prepared to (in the words of Louis L’Amour’s Sacketts) “read it from the Book.”
The possum was less than enthused about the prospect, but contrary to stereotypes, showed no inclination to play dead. Instead, the damned thing growled at the dog, and braced for Jazz’s oncoming rush. And here it came, yap yap dive, flurry and shift of positions. I was trying to get into a position to snatch Jazz up before she could take another shot, but she was busy, dammit, and simultaneously maintained distance from me while continuing to seek an opening in the intruder’s defensive position.
All this movement (and some harsh language on my part) roused Mrs. M (who was, thankfully, better dressed than I was), who came over and joined in the effort to get everyone to a neutral corner. She tried placing a piece of our patio furniture over the possum, but remember when I said Jazz and the possum were about the same size? This meant they could each fit through gaps between the love seat and the ground. So that experiment failed a couple of times, with more yaps and growls, and a couple more attempted takedowns from the dog.
Finally, though, Jazz (by backing away from the possum and from me) got within Mrs. M’s reach, so she grabbed the dog and the three of us withdrew to the bedroom. Jasmine continued to yap dire imprecations in the possum’s direction, and the marsupial marauder went about its own nightly business, or at least was gone from the yard after a bit.
Jazz’s lip was lightly nicked by the encounter, but a little hydrogen peroxide and paper towel work seemed to take care of matters, and all her shots are in order, so things appear to be all right. But once more, we were treated to our local version of Nature’s Rich Pageant.
And so this morning, I headed over here to campus to (I hope) do some work. I pulled into my usual parking space behind my office, but as I walked toward the building’s entrance, I saw a wallet lying on the concrete. There was no one else around, so I picked it up and brought it with me.
When I got to my office, I opened it up and found the owner’s driver’s license, along with a bank card and somewhere between $100-200 (I didn’t count it — it wasn’t my money.) I got online and checked our student directory, but no match. So my next move was to look up a phone number that matched the Virginia address on the license, but the land line was (as so many are these days) no longer in service.
A further search revealed an ID for a college other than Mondoville, but still no luck in providing contact info. Then I checked the Book of Faces using the owner’s name and his college affiliation. Bingo. And as it happens, I noticed a name on his friends list that matched one of my current students, who also happens to be from Virginia.
So I went back to the directory and called my student, but to no avail — I got voice mail. But as I was getting ready to leave my message, I got a ringback from the same area.
Mondo: Hello! Is this [student]?
Voice: This is his father.
M: Oh, OK. I’m Warren Moore, an English professor at Newberry College. Does your son know someone named [wallet owner]?
Student’s Dad: Yes.
M: Well, I have his wallet. I found it in the parking lot near my office.
S.D.: Oh, good! At first I was afraid you were the police.
I laughed, and told him that as best I can tell, his son’s a good kid.
So a few minutes later, the kid who lost the wallet buzzed me on FB (where I had sent a friend request) and made arrangements to get it back to him, which transaction we completed a couple of minutes later, my student and the wallet’s owner rolling up in a nice-looking pickup truck. As I handed the kid his billfold, my student hollered from the truck, “Hey there, Dr. Moore!” I responded, and told him I’d see him on Tuesday morning. They rolled away.
And now I’m back in my office, hoping to get some work done. I’m telling you — the excitement never stops.