His tale of leaving the family fiords because of threats from the Norwegian mafia struck me as far-fetched, although it was punctuated with so much rhapsodizing about the region's fish specialties that I began to think there was perhaps a kernel of truth in there after all.
Since then, I've tried to do some fact-finding to corroborate his story. Unfortunately, I don't speak Norwegian or West Norse (so I can't translate Possum's mother's rakfisk recipe, either). There is not much Norwegian Forest Cat genealogy or Norwegian mafia information available in English on Google.
Possum tries not to spill the beans, while sitting all
crossy-pawed on his velvet club chair.
Possum knew I was doubtful of his veracity and clammed up. At least as much as Possum can clam up, he clammed. But, for a cat, he always has a staggering quantity of ideas and opinions he needs to get off his furry, well-upholstered chest. And so, even though he refused to speak further to me about his family on the record, I have picked up a few more snippets of information that were so interesting that I had to share them with you. I just can't confirm any of it. So it's up to you to believe, or not, or by all means polish up your Norwegian and check it all out.
According to Possum, he and his siblings were taken out of dancing class on the afternoon their parents decided to flee Norway. It's his last memory of Norway, the three of them throwing their satin slippers into the fiord. (They didn't enjoy the lessons.) They were in a class for very small kittens, of course, and their teacher was named Mr. Champagne. I thought that was a peculiar coincidence: at least 40 years ago, my husband had also reluctantly been sent to dancing classes for little boys and girls, taught by a Mr. Champagne.
"I suppose it's the same guy," said Possum when I mentioned this. "He looked pretty ancient. If he's not teaching around here anymore, he's your guy."
I have to note that Possum's logic is not always flawless, but he does very well at art historical and musical interpretation, nevertheless.
Possum also mentioned that his Uncle Podmere was responsible for naming him Possumus, which is Latin for "we can." Possum said that Podmere was not a Latin scholar, he just liked the name, which was also in the family tree. Possum was pleased to learn that President Obama's 2008 campaign slogan was "Vero Possumus," which means, "Yes, We Can."
"Mr. Obama probably borrowed it from us, and it certainly made all the difference," said Possum. He then went on to translate the slogan as, "Right On, Let's All Be Like Possum."
"But Possum," I said, wondering where to begin. And then, uncharacteristically, I decided not to pursue any of it and just let him go on talking.
I've been particularly interested in hearing more about Possum's alleged aristocratic background. He has let slip some fascinating details, finally, and I will tell you all about them soon.
In the meantime, if any of you has a lutefisk source, or recipe, can you please add it to the comments?