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Copyright 2001 Bruce Ling

 

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Cat Got Out Huntin'

     There was an old woman who raised Collie dogs, and she had a heart attack and went off to the hospital.  The folks from her church all pitched in to help out, as she had no family.  When they went to her old farmhouse to get every thing in order for her return home, they found that the house was in near condemnable condition.  She was an old woman, and nothing had been kept up since her husbands death 25 years ago.

    

     The church folks pitched in and cleaned, painted, hired electricians,  plumbers, and carpenters, and the old woman came home to a remodeled farmhouse. 

    

     The township said that all the dogs had to go, and I'm sure that broke the old woman's heart.

    

     About a year later the old woman died, and the house caught fire in some way, and most of it burned before it was brought under control.

    

     It was a hot September day when Becca and I drove up the long drive to see the burned out farm house, and to check for any flowers or plants that needed liberating before the place was leveled and the proposed subdivision built on the farm.  We explored what was left of the house, viewed the adolescent graffiti in the barn, (where I was stung 5 times by Yellow Jackets,) and were walking around the back of the house when Becca said, "Someone's watching us."  

 

     I looked in the direction that she was looking and saw, on the other side of a thick Blackberry patch, a very small grey and white kitten face peering intently over the top of a tree stump.  Now, I was clad in just a pair of cutoff jeans with boat shoes, and the last thing I wanted to do was to walk through a berry patch and risk permanent disfigurement.  The alternative was to leave a kitten go feral, and that wasn't an option.  So in I went, and to the amazement of the both of us, I not only snatched the kitten off the log, but did it without a scratch (hmmm, higher powers at work here).  The plan was to turn the kitten over to Sue Kroes, Nick the Banjo Players wife.  Sue operates the Muskegon Cat Rescue Society and I knew she would find a home for it.

    

"The best laid plans of mice and men..."

    

     Becca, employing tried and true age-old woman's manipulatory techniques, got to keep the kitten, but she insisted that I name her, (a small concession.)  I called her Chin, because of a prominent grey patch there.  Everything went rolling along nicely with the new addition to Becca's cat collection.  Chin fit in with the 3 others, and everyone had gotten over their territorial spats.

    

     About this time, our annual "Excellent Birthday Party" arrived.  This is an event held every October in which Becca and I throw this big bonfire/potluck dinner/jam session/fishing contest to celebrate her birthday on 11-22 and mine on12-1.  Because the weather is rather inclement at those times of the year, we combine the dates and hold it in October.  (For you numerologists--add all the dates together and that is the age I'll be this year. Ohh, spookey.)

    

     Chin had been held captive in the house in hopes that her feralness would diminish through close human contact.  We were going to allow her outdoors with the other cats when the snow covered the ground, thereby teaching her were her true comfort zone lay.  Becca had a sign posted, alarming everyone to the fact that she wished the little cat to remain inside the house.  As luck would have it, in the thick of things a cry was heard, "Oh no, the cat got out!"

    

     In the midst of the long jam session that lasted far into the night, a melody came unbidden from my fiddle, and I just followed it till it stuck in my head.  It sounded better than hearing Becca repeating "Do you think she'll be alright?"

    

     Chin was at the door when I awoke the next morning, ready to head to the foot of the bed after a night of huntin'.

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by Bruce Ling  3-2002