A Harmless “Cat-a-Clysm”

Kittens nursing

A Harmless “Cat-a-Clysm”

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

Our beloved cat, Feemy, was two years old and the mother of Squeaky, who was one year old.  Squeaky gave birth to four lovely kittens.  We had fixed her a box a few days before the event, and she seemed content with our nest for her little ones. In the meantime, we had to prepare another box for Feemy, who was also expecting.

A few days after Squeaky’s arrivals, we discovered Feemy had performed her task.  We looked for her kittens but couldn’t find them.  Shortly thereafter, we noticed Feemy going into Squeaky’s box, so we took a look inside. Sure enough, Feemy’s three beautiful newborn kittens were there, along with Squeaky’s four older ones.

Wanting to make things more comfortable for them, we transferred Squeaky’s four kittens into a larger box.  But, the next time I went out to inspect the litters, Squeaky had carried one of Feemy’s kittens into her box. So, I picked it up and put it back into the “right” box (where Feemy’s other babies were).  This process was repeated over and over, until finally, all the kittens, somehow, ended up in one box, all mixed up.  That’s when we decided to let the cats handle the situation their own way!

The arrangement now is that all the kittens – babies and grand-babies — are together in one box, along with mother and daughter, who take turns “kitten sittin’.”  I guess you could call it an “extended family”!

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

Waiting and Watching… Willfully

English: Butcher shop in Finley, New South WalesWaiting and Watching… Willfully

 by Angie Brown, Guest Author

One November morning, I was waiting just outside a butcher shop in a friendly neighborhood in Olean.  My husband, Henry, was supposed to come by in a few minutes to drive me home with my purchases.  But, because he was delayed, I had a lengthy wait ahead of me.  Nevertheless, I didn’t mind, because I had entertainment while I waited. Directly across the street was a good-sized field, about the size of a city block.  Local residents preferred to use the unpaved foot-trail that crossed through the empty lot, instead of the paved sidewalk, because it was a shortcut.

As I stood there waiting, two roughly tousled boys appeared, about 10 or 11 years of age.  They walked through the ankle-deep snow carrying a child’s bed frame, a crib as it were.  I was intrigued and hoped my husband would be delayed even more.  I wanted to see what these boys were up to!

The youngsters carried the bed frame through the field, across 8th Street, and started up the steep slope on Sullivan Street.  I couldn’t believe they would attempt to climb that hill. Persisting, however, they finally reached the top, where they tarried for a moment to catch their breath.  Then they slowly ascended about seven steps to the side door of a large house.  I saw them groping for a better hold and easing the bed frame through the doorway, where they disappeared. Shortly, they came out without the bed frame and proceeded to take the same route back.  Then, here they came again.  This time, they were carrying the mattress and proceeded to the same destination.  Leaving the mattress, the boys retraced their steps again. Next, I saw them carrying what appeared to be a large, empty drawer.  I could hear the younger one complaining and the older one reassuring him. It was all they could manage, to carry those heavy pieces of furniture, one right after the other, all that way through the snow and up that steep hill.

After the boys had made two more laborious trips with empty drawers, I began hoping that my husband had stopped for lunch somewhere, because I couldn’t leave now; I had to see what was coming next!  Sure enough, the chest of drawers, minus the drawers, was being carted, the same way to the same place. My husband had still not returned for me, and I breathed a sigh of relief; at least I got to see the baby’s room furnished!

Apparently, the family was in the process of moving, and all hands — big and small — had to be available to help.  The short-cut proved to be a great convenience for the two boys.  It was quite an effort for them, to be sure, but they probably felt a sense of pride in being able to do something meaningful that helped with the family move.

I can just picture them in my mind now, rehashing the episode to their children in the future: “You know what we had to do when we were your age?” And I can imagine how the furniture got bigger, the snow deeper, the trek farther and the hill steeper each time the story was re-told!

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)

The Corn Flake Camouflage Caper

English: Oatmeal and cornflakes Christmas cook...The Corn Flake Camouflage Caper

James R. Aist

When I was growing up in rural Arkansas, there were five or six of us kids in the household at any one time, and two parents. We were relatively poor, but never destitute. Poor meant that where food was concerned, nothing was wasted, not even stale, soggy corn flakes. Now, corn flakes was just about the cheapest dry cereal available at the time, so Mama would buy several of the over-sized boxes of them at a time, especially if they were on sale. This was a successful strategy to stretch our precious few dollars, but it contained the seeds of its own destruction. The breaking point came after we had been offered nothing but corn flakes for breakfast for about three or four weeks running, and it was made clear that it was going to be only corn flakes until our stock of the golden morsels was depleted. Mama was trying to use up her stockpile of corn flakes before they got too stale and soggy. We kids were sympathetic to her cause, but the thought of corn flakes again was more than we could stomach…literally. And it was already too late; the corn flakes were now officially stale and soggy. It was time to take a stand.

So, we kids talked it over and, with great trepidation, we “announced” to Mama at the next breakfast that we were not going to eat any more corn flakes for the foreseeable future, and especially not stale and soggy ones. I think that Mama was a bit amused that we would conspire to rebel over such a seemingly trivial issue, and so she purposed in her heart to feign compliance while all the time plotting to turn the tables on our little rebellion. The challenge had been issued and Mama was more than happy to take us on. This trivial dispute was to become a friendly competition thoroughly enjoyed by both sides as the drama unfolded over the ensuing weeks.

Suddenly we were enjoying other choices for breakfast and were becoming convinced that our solidarity against the powers that be had been wonderfully rewarded. Then we began to notice something a little strange about some of the side dishes at our family meals. Could it be that there were now corn flakes, of all things, in the meatloaf? We compared notes with each other, and sure enough…corn flakes in the meatloaf! We laughed out loud. That really was clever of her, albeit thoroughly sneaky. Now we were engaged in a game of subterfuge and camouflage with Mama, and it was delightful. So, in a spirit of levity, we declared “OK, we’re on to you; there’s corn flakes in the meatloaf, and we’re not eating any more cornflakes!” With a sly, coy smile, Mama replied, “We’ll see about that.”

And that seemed to be the end of it. That is, until the cornbread looked a little funny one day…but what is that? What are those strange, yellowish, orange things in the cornbread? Aha! Corn flakes in the cornbread; don’t anybody eat the cornbread! And on and on it went: first, corn flakes in the meatloaf; then, corn flakes in the cornbread; then, corn flakes in the oatmeal; then, corn flakes in the cookies; and so on. It was a fight to the finish. Mama was determined to make us eat the stale, soggy cornflakes, one way or another, until they were all gone, and we were equally determined to sniff them out and refuse to be outsmarted, until dear old Mama ran out of clever and creative ideas to disguise them. Finally, Mama called for a truce, and we all shared a hearty laugh or two over the corn flake camouflage caper. Truth be told, I kind of hated to see it come to an end; it was fun while it lasted.

(For more articles on TRUE TALES, click HERE)