Janet Hommel Mangas: An ode to one thing I hate

I know I should like this creation of God, or at least tolerate them — but I do not.

I detest them enough to pen this ode to something I hate.

I do not like them hissing at me,

They are the ugliest marsupial — we can all agree.

I do not like their long rat tails,

I don’t care that they consume garden snails.

I do not like their fifty razor-sharp fangs,

Marauding my yard like apple-thief gangs.

I do not like how they amble about,

Poking around with that pink pointy snout.

I hate opossums and react yelling, “Scram!”

There I’ve said it — I hate them! — Jan I am.

My hate started in 1990, when I was a young mother, innocently playing with my first-born child on the living room rug. I looked up to see a beady-eyed 12-pound opossum glaring at us through our bay window. Perched on our limestone window ledge, the nasty little marsupial was hissing with it’s mouth wide open. I scooped my beloved Aly off the floor and ran into another room, knowing the gross little varmint couldn’t magically shift-shape its way through the window — but one can never be too sure of these things.

Some decades later, Aly’s rescue red-heeler Milli was found dragging a huge opossum around by its tail. Milli brought it to our back porch as if she wanted us to see her grand prize. As the hubby called Milli off and donned a work-glove to rid the dead opossum of further degradation — the critter quit “playing dead” and scurried away into the dark. I’m fairly certain I heard the nasty little creature snicker as he loped off.

Last night I was looking out into the field to spot the doe and twin fawns that have been grazing near us this summer. Suddenly my heart raced as I detected a series of unusual movements in my hosta bed and on our front porch. A huge mother opossum and three gnarly young’uns had invaded my space — uninvited, no less.

Yes, I know they eat field mice, ticks and other undesirable insects. But there was only one thing I know how to do when I see them — I knocked on the window pane and yelled, “Scram!” Jan, I am.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to [email protected]