Strange things happen to you when you’re a kid. At least they seemed strange to me when I was 5 years old. Such was the case of a strange and sad kitty event that we talked about for years after.
My Sad Kitty Tale
My family lived in a small house, in a very modest neighborhood. We were a young family comprised of my dad, mom, my middle brother and one on the way. The house was very old but well kept. A coal-burning furnace heated our house. We live on the main floor of the house. The basement was pretty much dedicated to the furnace and coal storage. In a small area of the basement, there was the washing machine and a workshop where Dad would putter around. The coal truck would come every week with a load of coal. My brother and I would watch in fascination, as the coal would go down the coal shut to basement next to the furnace.
It was fun watching dad work the furnace and stoked the fire. The furnace had an automatic feed, but every now and then Dad felt the need to check it and poke around. Part of keeping the furnace in good order was keeping a small window vent open when the furnace was in full swing. The furnace would creak, rattle and crank, making all kinds of weird noises. It was almost as if it were alive. Add that all together, for us, the basement was a place of mystery.
The window vent would pose a problem at times if it were left open a little too wide. Part of the problem what the grate the was meant o keep out the creators needed repair, something my dad hadn’t taken the time to fix. Every now a then a squirrel or field mouse would find itself in the basement. We loved it when that happened because we had the chance to watch dad capture and release the critter to the outside.
It was particularly harsh winter and the furnace was blazing away. Because of that the furnace needed more attention than was usual. The window vent had to be just so. So up and down the basement stairs dad would go to attend to the furnace, with my brother and I not far behind. We thought it was great fun. I’m not so sure my Dad thought the same.
One night just before bedtime, off we traipsed to watch dad do his thing with the furnace. When we can down the stairs we were able to make out a small black and white sad kitty in the far corner on dad’s workbench. My 5-year-old heart melted. I really wanted a little kitty. Dad wouldn’t have any of it and hurried us upstairs and grumble under his breath about critters getting in the basement. He could hear him from upstairs making all kinds of racket, clanging, banging and shouting of all kinds. All I could think was that poor little kitty. Then it was quiet, and we heard him rush up the stairs bound down the hall to my parent’s bedroom. Out it came in a huff with a shotgun in hand. My eyes went wide.
He rush back down to the basement and then there ensured more noise and then it was quiet again; for a moment at least. Then KABOOM. I was horrified. I started to cry. I just knew that dad had shot that kitty. We heard the basement door open to outside. My brother and I rushed to the window, overlooking the backyard. There we saw dad holding a shovel WAY out in front of him with a lifeless black and white kitty at the shovels end. I cried. Mom tried to comfort me and explain, but I wouldn’t hear it. Dad quickly buried the dead kitty and rush back to the house. In all the panic and upset I hadn’t noticed the smell. It was wafting up from the basement into the house. It stunk so bad that I choked and had to hold my breath. When Dad came into the room, it was worse. That was when I heard the word skunk.
We had to leave the house for a few days to air it out. Dad had to take a few baths in some stuff to make him smell better. After we returned home dad immediately repaired the basement window grate. I still didn’t quite get that the black and white kitty had caused all the trouble until my dad sat down to tell me about the kitty that wasn’t a kitty.
What did my sad kitty tale teach me? Never jump to conclusions. Listen to what is said. It can give you some very valuable insight. In my case, it was learning the different between a kitty and a skunk.
Do you have a family story that has stayed with you for years after? One that made you sad and laugh at the same time? I would love to hear it.
Life’s journey continues…
PS: What are some of your favorite stories? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, we would love to hear from you.
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