Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Fleas! Several years ago, Mother's sister-in-law Kay had come for a visit. She was sitting outside, getting some fresh air when a cat came walking up to her. This was no ordinary cat. From tail to head, "Cat" measured about three feet long and something like 15 inches around his belly. Cat was gray in color with white boots.
To my knowledge, a search was never attempted to find the rightful owner for Cat, so from that night on, this would be mother's cat. Mother and cat became inseparable. He would sit in the window when he wasn't sitting beside her on the sofa. The basement would become Cat's night time home. Mother had a bed just at the bottom of the basement steps and Cat enjoyed sleeping there. For years, a fire would be made in the old wood stove and Cat would sleep down there during the winter months in total ecstasy. Equipped with bedding, food, water and litter box, what more would a cat need. My sister Sue did the honors of changing Cat's litter box every Saturday and replenishing his food and water dishes.
Just like Annie, mother would become to think that Cat was missing. She would bend any and everybody's ear, telling them that her cat had ran away. It was not uncommon for someone to call or see you out and ask if mother had found her cat. Many a day I would go off to work worried to death because mother had said she couldn't find her cat, just to find out later that he was there all the time. Now Cat never had a real name. Once I tried to get mother to go along with the name "Boots." But, to no avail, it never stuck.
One morning mother had a hair appointment for a permanent. Since it would take somewhere around 2 hours, I had made it for the morning hour instead of her usual appointment at 12:30 pm. As I arrived, my eyes were only on the door that mother would soon open. I said "howdy" as I usually do as she opened the door. Mother peeped around the corner and said "Is that my cat lying dead?" I glanced over and there indeed was Cat,lying just as you start down the sidewalk as if he had fallen asleep in the morning sun. We walked closer and mother stooped over and began to pick him up. After an examination, we saw that there were no injuries on Cat and just assumed that he died of "old age," since there was no way of knowing just how old he was.
This weekend, my sister Sue and husband Bill came down for their visit. Bill keeps his 4 wheeler in mother's basement so he can ride over the farm and such while they are here. While entering the basement, he began to notice little black spots on his white socks. He immediately recognized them to be fleas. We were lucky that we had just had mother's house sprayed for insects last year and was still under contract. Today, the Terminix man will come to spray the entire house.
We're not sure if the fleas came from Cat,Annie or some other unsuspecting passenger, but one thing we do know is that Cat gave a lonely widowed woman something much more than a flea.