lonely summer

image courtesy of photobucket.com

After I read the book I started calling our cat by the same name, I thought it was clever. Our tomcat, Bugs, didn’t seem to mind it either, “How you doin’ today Cat”? I asked like the main character in the book did his cat. It didn’t matter to my cat and it all depended on his mood and if he wanted to get his scarred up head and ears scratched or not.

Of all the fiction books I read as a kid, that one has a special place in my heart. The book is by Emily Neville and is titled, “It’s like this Cat.” I was in grade school when I read it the first time and was engrossed by the story that took a boy from a small town to live in a big city.

I’d never lived in a big city and was excited reading about the details of life in that setting. The boy in the story didn’t have any friends, so his cat became his best friend and companion. Some years later I was about the same age as the main character from that book when I learned we were moving to the city.

To say I wasn’t thrilled to be moving to the city to spend the summer and then start high school would be a gross understatement. The reality of living out the fictional story in real life was not nearly as enjoyable as reading about it. The one thing I had going for me that the kid in the story didn’t was my dog Pee Wee. Sure we had two cats; Bugs and Big Kitty, but Pee Wee had been with me the better part of my childhood. I’d picked him out of a litter at a farm my uncle kept his horses as a very young boy.

We’d never seen much in the way of fences in our small town and Pee Wee had never been trapped inside one… My dad and I moved some furniture down on a Sunday to our new home and I stayed home with Pee Wee while he was at work for that week. A tough week. The next Friday after my dad got off work we headed back to get my mom, sister, and the rest of our furniture; the final move. I made sure Pee Wee had plenty of water and food to last him a couple of days, secured the gates, and we began our 3 1/2 hour trip back to our hometown, one last time.

That Sunday when we returned to our new home, I saw it as we drove up… The side gate had been opened and Pee Wee was gone… I never let my parents see me cry. They felt bad enough about having to move us… not to mention they missed my dog that was part of the family.

I spent the summer hanging out with the cats, talking to them, mostly Bugs. I was their protector from the big city tom cats that didn’t welcome newcomers.. Kinda like how kids don’t like newcomers either…

Although the story sounds like a country song, it had a purpose in my life. I learned how other kids felt being on the outside. It gave me strength to make sure I would never allow peer pressure to push me into the “in” side again. God allowed me to be in a tough spot that I would have done anything to get out of, but I didn’t have enough to pull it off, still don’t… Which is a good thing.

How many difficult or tough circumstances in our lives have turned out to be some of the best things that have ever happened to us? – Probably more than we could remember or count.

I’m no Dr. Doolittle, but there was one lonely summer… I talked with the animals…