Our plans unfolded as scheduled. As a writer in our local newspaper used to report, “a good time was had by all”. My mother welcomed us with open arms after we’d had our fill of whirlwind activity. She had her signature vegetable soup simmering on the stove along with other goodies. We wouldn’t go hungry.
The days passed in lazy succession. We did what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. A lot of time was spent sitting on the little front porch watching the hummingbirds at the feeders. Mother spent a good deal of money on sugar for the little dive-bombers. One was curious about DD and she screeched and covered her head with her T-shirt.
Mostly, the weather was clear and hot but one afternoon saw clouds come in and the rain came down in torrents. Mother encouraged DD to put on her bathing suit and go out to play. She said, “But Grandma won’t let me go outside when it’s raining!” Mother made it clear that Grandma was nowhere around and she could go play in the rain. She hurried to pull on her suit. Mother got her ever-handy Polaroid camera and snapped her picture. It was the highlight of the trip and a memory was stored away.
Mother’s birthday was the main reason for visiting in August and it was duly celebrated by all the family members in the area. It would have been unheard of not to remember Her Day.
DS2 was living with several of his friends in a trailer fairly close by. He showed up a couple of times when he was hungry but the visits were a little strained.
Vacation was over ‘way too quickly and it was pack up, load up and go back over the mountains. We left Mother in tears and promised we’d go back as soon as we could swing it.
That’s when I found out why most of the employees who worked clerical jobs never took more than a week off. My desk was piled high and it took me forever to get through it. I vowed never to do that again.
School was in session, seemingly, as soon as we got back home. DD was a big third-grader and I was responsible for the tuition. It wasn’t easy but I managed. No matter what hit us financially, there seemed to be enough money to go around. I followed my mother’s lead and always took my tithe out first and then paid my other obligations. I never missed the 10% I returned to God.
My dog, Kat, took to wandering. I had to chain her behind the garage after she’d rolled in cow manure and then jumped into a stranger’s car. Our big black cat was hit by a car. My father-in-law was devastated. They took him to the vet but there was no hope. After they brought him home, he had a seizure and died. We buried him on the property line. There were many tears shed. He was a good cat. We weren’t having good luck with pets.
DD and I were at a pet store in the mall and saw a cage of kittens. They’d had their shots and been wormed so we picked out another black tom to take home to Grandpa. It wasn’t a good choice. It never calmed down and would tear into anyone at a moment’s notice. I finally gave him to my brother-in-law so it could be a mouser in his outbuildings. He disappeared one day, never to be seen again. No one seemed to care.
I pulled up at the post office one morning and noticed the lady in the car next to me had a quizzical look on her face. Not being as shy as I once was, I went over and asked if anything were wrong. She said, “I hear a kitten!” I listened and, sure enough, there was a faint “meow” that came from under the hood. Neither one of us was mechanically inclined so she carefully drove to the car dealer just up the road and I followed. I had to see what was going on. The mechanic opened the hood and there was a little tiny fur-ball with its head hung under the gear to the windshield wiper. He told the lady what to do and soon had it safely out. Poor thing’s eyes were stuck shut with matter and I could tell it was hungry. No one wanted to take it so, guess what? Old pushover me took it. They got me a box and I was the proud owner of a little drowned rat looking critter. The weather was mild enough that she was okay in the car until it was time to pick DD up.
DD was excited. We had a kitty! I took warm water and soaked its eyes open. It was scared half to death of both of us. We left it alone after giving it some warm milk (I’ve found out since that’s not good for cats) and making it a bed in the box. I named her Automose since she was “pulled from the car” and we called her Auto for short. (Moses’ full name could have been Hapimose or Irumose, either of which would mean, “the one born of [or “drawn out of”] the Nile.)
Being a feline, Auto wasn’t going to stay in her box and away from the warmth of a young girl’s lap for long. She got over her aversion to being petted and held and was soon begging for attention. At night, she would go to sleep and leave both of us alone until the alarm went off. That was her signal. I was supposed to get up and she was the self-appointed one to make sure I was awake. She would come and park herself on my head until I gave in and got out of bed. Mornings I didn’t have the alarm set, I could sleep in. She was definitely unique.
We’d had her to the vet for shots and worming and she was pronounced healthy. However, the vet thought she had a very strange name. He was used to strange names with my animals, though. After all, I had a dog named Kat, too. Besides having a strange name, Kat was increasingly unhappy with having to be chained. It was worse than leading a dog’s life. It was miserable. Something had to be done.