The back door was open one December night. Native Austinite Frank Feuerbacher and his wife had left it that way for several hours, hoping the semi-ferrel cat they had named Eric would come inside for a bite to eat. At bedtime, they closed the door and turned out the lights on the Christmas tree.

At around 2 a.m., Feuerbacher awoke to noises coming from the living room.

“I wear contacts, so I couldn’t see very well…and so I have to get real close to the [Christmas] tree. And I was groping around, and I stand up, and there, within six inches of my face is a possum, staring right back at me, ” Feuerbacher says.

The creature wasn’t interested in leaving his perch, but Feuerbacher coaxed it down by shaking the tree – carefully – and then, when the possum ran behind the couch, coaxing it toward the door with a broom handle.

“We now have the tradition of putting a fake possum that we purchased in the exact spot where the real possum was. And it’s staring straight at you,” he says.

It remains unclear whether Eric the cat ever got a snack the night the possum came for a visit.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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Shelly Brisbin

Shelly Brisbin

Frank Feuerbacher places a stuffed possum in this year’s Christmas tree. It’s now a tradition.