Thursday, February 02, 2012

“The Cat Came Back”

c. 2012 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: Around Christmas, a stray tabby took up residence under my porch. It howled for attention until after the New Year. Though neighborhood children briefly adopted the kitten, it came back. My dogs chased it around the yard. And it came back again. A winter storm made it disappear amid heaps of drifting snow. But it came back again. Until at last, my patience was exhausted. All I could do was sing the refrain from a traditional song originally written by Harry S. Miller…

It was a late morning at the Icehouse home office.

A winter storm had buried my east county home in two feet of snow. But thankfully, I was off for the weekend from my ‘real job’ in Geneva. So the ferocity of Mother Nature caused little concern.

I sipped coffee while doing research for the next installment of ‘Geauga in Print.’

Suddenly, the telephone rang. It was my sister, Becka, from Hambden.

“Hello there, Rodney,” she squawked. “Are you keeping warm in Thompson?”

“Of course,” I said with certainty. I put the phone on speaker mode.

“How about your new pet?” she laughed.

“No extra animals here,” I stammered.

“Fibber!” she yapped. “Is the kitty making herself at home?”

There was a short pause. The line crackled between us, suffering from electrical fatigue. Frosty winds rattled the windows.

“Nope. We kicked that thing out in the snow,” I shouted defiantly.

Riley and Quigley, my Black Lab and Pomeranian duo, were amused.

“Nonsense!” my sister retorted.

“We did!” I insisted. “No room for another resident in this house. Especially a cat.”

“Horse hockey!” she chirped.

“It’s gnawing on an icicle as we speak…” I proclaimed. “The rest of us are having pan-fried steak.”

“Rodney!” she groaned. “You are a bad liar!”

I bowed my head. “Okay, I gave it a can of Valu Time tuna last night. Kitty won the war of nerves. Does that make you happy?”

“Yes,” Becka confessed. “You have a good heart.”

My face went red. “I called Dree to see if she wanted the cat. But her apartment complex requires a $250 deposit for animals.”

“Too much!” my sister observed with disdain. “Keep the kitty for yourself.”

“No,” I disagreed. “It’d be a bargain to give her the money. This little feline eats like a pig with fur!”

“C’mon Rodney,” she taunted. “The tabby can’t be that bad.”

My mood darkened. “Last night I made seafood stir-fry after work, and she attacked the wok! Her appetite is insane.”

“Gotta watch her like a toddler,” Becka giggled.

“Two dogs are enough.” I said. “Why don’t you take the little varmint?”

My sister huffed out loud. “We’ve already got two kitties here. Plus three gerbils and a parakeet.”

“A parakeet?” I snorted.

“It was a Christmas present from someone at church,” she explained. “A bit unexpected, really… Mrs. Palka’s grandma had to go in the hospital. But we like the bird.”

“Well, what about Lon?” I asked.

“Our brother just got a potbellied pig,” she replied. “It fits him, actually. Very clean and well behaved. Kinda cute.”

“Look, if nobody will take this thing, then it’s going back out in the cold!” I promised.

“Bull!” she disagreed. “Better stock up on meow chow.”

“Maybe it will find a mouse-sicle out in the snow.” I said.

“Rodney!” she hissed. “Quit being mean.”

“Mean?” I shouted. “Just because I don’t want the little furball trashing my house?”

“Your house is trashed already,” she quipped.

“Can’t hear you,” I said, suddenly. “The connection must be bad…”

“Rodney!!” she shrieked. “Don’t hang up on me!”

“Hearing nothing but static,” I whispered. “Must be the weather.”

“RODNEYYY!” she yelped. “Don’t get rid of that kittyyyyyyyy!”

“Take it easy, Beck!” I cheered.

I clicked the phone off before she could answer.

While making a fresh pot of coffee, song lyrics began to jingle in my head. I grabbed a pencil and scribbled words on a piece of scratch paper.

What appeared was a new version of the classic cat composition that had been echoing in my thoughts:

The Cat Came Back (Geauga County Version)

The neighbor kids
Tried to take kitty home
But mom wouldn’t budge
She tossed it back out in the snow

When I came home from work
It was waiting by the door
I tried to raise a ruckus
But it hid on the porch

The cat followed close
When I walked my dogs
It wanted a spot
By the Yuletide log

Christmas Day
And Santa didn’t show
But the kitty kept begging
For my lump of coal

I tried to win
But the cat wouldn’t stop
It yowled and yowled
Right around the clock

I finally caved
And gave up my plan
Went to the door
With a tuna can

The cat was wild
Finally got its wish
Dining like a queen
On the tuna fish

My house was plus one
Two dogs and a cat
It won the fight
Now how about that?

Oh, the cat came back
With a desperate yowl
Hidden in the bushes
At the corner of my house

Begging for a meal
Just a wandering stray
My sister named it ‘Gypsy’
‘Cause it wouldn’t go away

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