Around 11, the one I've been calling Plum (I think) showed up, climbing the birdfeeder pole to eat cracked corn and the last of the old pecans. I watched intermittently, my attention also caught by the discovery on Youtube of a channel with a massive cache of 1970's-era British TV dramas, including the first Jemima Shore mysteries.
On one of my glances out the window, my pulse quickened to see a second possum on the ground below the feeder. Both were similar in size, demonstrably smaller than Puddy and without her white patches. They also lacked her, shall we say, gravitas: There was an air of not-quite-maturity about them.
After eating, the first one moved over to sit on the rectangular planter where I have succulents growing. The second one -- whom I have dubbed Tate (his full name is Prostate, a moniker chose by illiterate Puddy because it has such a regal sound to it) -- then climbed to his turn at the feeder. When Tate was done, he descended the pole and disappeared from view for a few minutes. Plum had nearly dozed off in the planter.
Then I was electrified to see Tate coming over the edge of the planter and nuzzling the back fur of Plum. Was there about to be a territorial squabble? No, it was a friendly greeting, perhaps that of siblings. They shared the planter companionably (except woe to the squashed succulents) and took turns dozing or looking around warily.
I myself kept going to sleep and then waking back up to enjoy the show. Scout had decided the best spot for her was at the head of my bed, far from the window and jammed against my shoulder, where she was grooming noisily in between surveillance. Around 4 a.m., I saw Plum crane his neck over the side of the feeder, as if watching something on the ground. I strained upward, and there was a third possum, snuffling among birdseed detritus on my patio! This one was of a size with the other two, and she stood up at one point to sniff briefly at Plum in an acknowledging manner. I have my channels open to receive her name when it is transmitted to me.
Clearly Patio de Jochild has become an after-hours joint for trendy marsupials. I didn't think they congregated in this manner; perhaps this is a litter (Puddy's?) which has not yet separated, although they are at the upper end of juvenile if so. A week from today Margot will arrive, and I am avid to share this naturalist opportunity with her.
I am now listening to "A Splendid Table" on KUT, sharing turkey confidentials from Ina Garten, Samuel Marcus, Bitty, etc. I have already sung along to "Alice's Restaurant", completely bemusing Tammi, whom I allowed to leave an hour early to join her family. All our fabulous cooking is gathered on a plate I will heat and eat at noon when I switch over to TV for the National Dog Show. Though the coconut cream pie may not last that long -- it's a mile high and calling my name.
I'm thinking leftover cornbread-pecan stuffing leftovers for tonight's possum buffet...