“Tell me another story,” Little Legs said.
Grandpa yawned in a way that could have been mistaken for a growl.
“Ok, just one more,” Grandpa agreed, “And that’s it.”
Little Legs laughed, neither agreeing nor disagreeing to the terms.
“When I was a little boy, my brother and I were playing in the woods,” he began.
“Like me and Baby Brother,” Little Legs interjected.
Grandpa nodded, “Yes, just like you and your brother.”
“We were playing when we noticed that we weren’t alone. Something white was watching us from a pile of leaves. It twitched its nose and sniffed at the ground to see if we smelled safe.”
“Like this?” Little Legs wiggled his nose back and forth.
“Just like that,” he continued with a nod.
“At first, we thought it was a rat and then we decided it was a new type of cat. The woods-cat had shiny black eyes and a pink nose and sharp, white teeth. We noticed the teeth right away because it hissed at us.”
“Like this?” Little Legs gave his best hiss as observed from his temperamental cat at home.
“Exactly,” Grandpa said.
“We thought maybe the woods-cat was hungry, so we pooled our snacks together and found we had a piece of cheese, two carrot sticks, three pieces of celery and a handful of crackers.”
“You had cheese in your pocket?” Little Legs asked. “Do you have any cheese now?”
“Do you want to hear this story or not?” Grandpa asked.
Little Legs nodded and snuggled down with his pillow, ready to listen.
“We broke off pieces of carrot and tossed it to the cat and that’s when we saw it didn’t have paws, it had fingers. Well, we were mighty curious about this critter and decided to bring it home with us. Slowly but surely, we brought her along, every few steps throwing a piece of celery or a carrot to keep her right behind us. By the time we could see the front porch, that little critter was practically at our heels.
My brother ran ahead and opened the door and I pulled out the last cracker to get the woods-cat up the steps when your great-granny, my momma, ran out.
She screamed with a broom in her hands, “Watch out, there’s a possum behind you.”
She was ready to go to battle for us with the creature from the woods.
I said, ‘Don’t worry, Momma, that’s not a possum. It’s our pet.’ And we brought it right inside.”
Little Legs blinked hard, fighting sleep, and said, “What’s a possum? One more story?”
“It was our pet. That’s it, now go to bed.”
Grandpa flicked off the light with a snap like the closing of a heavy book and walked into the living room.
“Did you really have a pet possum? And Granny let it inside? How long did you have it? What did Grandpa have to say about it?” I asked, wondering how much more I didn’t know about this man.
Grandpa laughed, “No dummy, it’s just a story.”
“Ok, how about one more,” I picked up where Little Legs left off.