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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Well the funeral for my friend is over. It was very nice and very spiritual and I will talk about it later. I will take that occasion to show what a Boston Butt looks like coming out of the oven and prepared for the ravening hords, but I decided that the last few posts have been sufficiently angst ridden that I would change levels for a post or two.

One of my many favorite bloggers, Thotman (if you have never read him, you are missing a good experience, click on the link at the right) stated that he is going to spend some time talking about the animals (I assume that he means pets, work animals, etc)in his life. Some of my favorite posts from Ed Abbey have been the stories (not enough of them) about his dog, and Saurkraut has some wonderful dog posts (again see links at right, I am going to re-learn how to post links as I go along. Gayle the Republican has given me instructions that are usable by anyong with a functional brain, and one of the days, my brain is going to click on again).

I am not going to write about a dog. I am going to write about my cat (and at three score ten and some odd years old, I can't remember his name). I am now terribly allergic to cats, but it wasn't always so. It was one of those things that came along gradually, climaxing sometime during my high school period. For most of my life, I was normal (at least as far as cats were concerned). I had a cat (or a cat had me, that sometimes is the way it goes) that was, in my opinion, remarkable.

He was coal black and if he had been a dog he would have to have been a dachshund. He had fairly short legs and a long skinny body. When he was agitated, his back would hump up like a horseshoe. He could have modeled for the cardboard cats that are pictured in the stores during the Halloween season. One of his favorite sports was to ride with me on my bike.

We were not rich folks, and I had a remarkably ugly old girls bike. It was yellow, balloon tired, and at sometime in its existence it had been run over by a car . (I have a vague memory that it might have happened because one of the bloggers on this list left it lying in the driveway where it could have been backed over by my dad). It clearly had been broken in half, but my dad was, by profession, an excellent welder, and he had joined the two halved together and made them one whole. Except for the ugly weld marks near the pedals and the fact that it was a girls bike whick was always ridden by a boy, it was an excellent bike. It was also a stimulus to the cat. Every time he saw me get it out to ride, he would bound to the rear fender (it had a flat long seat over the fender for passengers), and, as I started to ride it, jump, or sometimes. to my pain, climb, up on my shoulder and perch there with his humped back to ride along with me.

In the process of our rides, cat became acquainted with a big great dane mix dog who lived upon the corner of the 100 block of Washington Ave. (We lived at 331 Washington, one and one half blocks away.) When I would ride anywhere near his house he would charge out and chase my bicycle, barking loudly and occasionally scaring the living heck out of both cat and myself.

One day, as my dad was driving the family home from "somewhere", coming down Washington, I glanced up into the monster poplar tree in front of dog's house and saw my cat. Fearing that "dog" had chased "cat" up in the tree I asked my dad to stop the car so that I could bring the cat home. As he pulled the car over, and I started to get out, the dog came out of the yard beneath the tree, and the cat sprang out of the tree to the top of the dog's head and sank the claws of all four feet into the poor critters scalp. Dog howled and yelped and shook his head as cat jumped from head to tree and back up to his branch. It was then, that I discovered that my cat had declared all out war.

I decided that this was not an opportune time to try to get the cat out of the tree, or to get anywhere near the dog so I got back in the car. It didn't move for awhile because my dad and mom were both giggling hysterically in the front seat. When we got to the house, I wandered slowly up the block, and, not seeing dog anywere around, called the cat, who came down, let me pick him up and take him home.

Soon my friends noticed, and told me about seeing cat perched on high surfaces all around the neighborhood, attacking the dog. He seemed always to escape, since he never missed coming home for dinner. On one occasion, while I was riding my bike with the cat on my shoulder, the dog came out to chase me and cat attacked from my shoulder (which probably was as painful to me as to dog; I never realized how deeply cat claws sink into their perches as they prepare to spring.) At any rate, after that, dog still came out to chase my bike when the cat wasn't around, but he ignored me when the cat was on his shoulder perch.

It appeared that cat had won the war, though he still seemed to be frequently on the attack. The whole thing had passed from my consciousness until, one day, I glanced out the living room window at cat, stretched out sleeping in a sunny place on the lawn. At the same time, creeping on his belly, silently across the lawn, looking, for all the world not like a dog, but like a lion on the hunt, was dog. He was within a foot or two of cat. Envisioning a severely, if not fatally. chewed cat, I made a race for the door. Just as I opened the door, dog let out with an extremely loud combined snarl and WOOF.

The cat levitated into the air, his long body twisting and turning like some kind of carnival dervish, then, it seemed, without even touching the the ground, the cat zipped into and up to the top of a large lilac bush at the side of our house. ( I have seen many cats climb trees, but that was the first and only time I have seen a cat climb up the inside of a bush). The dog did not pursue the cat. He turned, and looking proudly like that great dane (whose name I can't remember) we often see outwitting the dog catcher in our comic strips, he pranced down the street to his home, not even looking back.

I neither saw, nor heard, any strange interactions between dog and cat after that time. I think that in some way that we can't perceive, a truce had been struck.

Biologists and other scientists alway taught me that dogs and cats are not sentient beings, but I think that they communicate and reason, at times, in ways that we will never understand.


At 7:59 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

Ack! My comment got scrapped! Okay, I'll try again, only this time I'll copy and save it before I publish it.

First of all, the picture you created in my mind of cat jumping on dog's head from the tree completely cracked me up! LOL! Thanks for the image. Hysterical!

I think animals are smarter than most people give them credit for. Look at how many animals have saved their owner's lives. Just yesterday I saw on Fox News where a parrot woke a man up in the middle of the night because of an intruder. Parrot went into the man's bedroom and woke him up. Man shot intruder... dead! Animals also know of natural disasters before people do. Maybe it's because we talk to much that we've lost this ability. Perhaps if we quit talking we'd do better. Just a thought. Probably came from talking to much. :)

At 8:19 PM, Blogger t_cole said...

'scuse me - have to go to the bathroom before i wet myself from laughing.
ACK! haven't laughed so hard in a VERY long time.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I seem to have a touch of what you have 3 Score. I just can't seem to remember the interesting stories (at least to me) about my dog Ted... or at least very often. But when I do, I'll drop a note to let you know since you are probably the biggest fan of them.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Blogger just ate my comment. I won't bother to re-write it other than to say I loved your cat story.

BTW you just posted a comment on my post about The Amazing Mrs Pritchard. Trouble is I deleted that post before I realized that you had made a comment. I deleted it because I figured that the fire-breathing conservatives who read my blog would not be interested.


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