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Monday, July 25, 2011

#201-AN UNLIKELY HERO

My mother, God rest her soul, had a number of interesting interactions with MY pets over the years.  Here is one of the stories.

In 1963 I was living with my parents in Palm Desert, California.  My first husband, and the father of my son, had just bailed on us and I came home to have our baby.

Ugly sitting on the deck by the pool.
I brought with me an unusual cat which I named Ugly.  She was a small irascible kitten when I found her and was extremely emaciated.  Her head and paws were much larger than the rest of her body which gave her a strange look.  Plus, she was a weird multi color (which, I found later, to be called tortoise shell) and had a short tail, (with a crook at the end) hence the name Ugly.  This cat NEVER uttered a single meow! Instead she would chatter like a squirrel!  She even had a  strange habit of flinging herself from trees as if she imagined herself to be a flying squirrel.  She was so in tune with me that she started labor when I did.  In fact, I had to deliver her 3 kittens before I went to the hospital myself.

This story happened around June of that year when my parents were having a swimming pool built in their back yard.  The pool crew had dug a gigantic hole in which to burry their debris.  It was about eight foot deep and several yards from the pool.  We all knew it was there and was very careful to skirt the pit during the day (key phrase).

One night Mom was out back doing some yard work.  You see, it was during the summer and day time temperatures were extremely hot d (and barely tolerable at night).  The yard had been landscaped with flood lights on various shrubs and trees (another key phrase).   The lighting cast a shadow across the area of the pit (see where this is going?).  As Mom cut across the yard she stepped off into hell!

I was in the front room which had a large picture window looking out onto the back porch and beautifully landscaped back yard.  The sound from the television and air conditioning made it impossible to hear anything from outside the house.   I sat comfortably, sipping iced tea (and probably watching Red Skelton on TV),  as Mom was hollering her lungs out .  The only one who came to her call was my cat, Ugly, and her three kittens (Larry, Moe, and Curly).   Ugly would appear at the edge of the hole,  peer down, chatter, and then disappear while her kittens ran around and around the edge knocking sand/dirt/gravel down onto Mom.  Ugly, would return periodically, chatter a message, and then disappear again.

Now from my vantage point I could see Ugly come to the sliding screen door and paw the screen, then she would disappear.  A few minutes later she would come to the screen door again and rattle it even harder.  This went on for quite a while and each time she would get more aggressive with the screen door.  Finally, she plastered herself two feet off the porch floor, in the middle of the screen and shook it like a crazed monkey on meth.

Finally, I got up to see what was going on.  When I opened the glass door Ugly took off, chattering up a storm as she darted off the back porch.  I stood there watching her disappear into the dark.  I was curious about her behavior but, not curious enough to step into the blistering heat.  Then, as I was closing the door I head a little sound and my mother's voice shakily uttering, "Hhhheeeelllllllpp!

 I ran out  into the scorched night and Ugly came up to greet me then took off again.  When I realized what had happened, I said, "Hang on Mom I need to get a light and ladder."  I reversed myself to the garage for a ladder and a flashlight.  Upon returning I gazed down upon a beleaguered, dirty, (no, muddy from the sweat) mother who still had a little spunk left in her as she said, “Well, hell!  "It’s about time you got out here!"

Ugly, sitting in the front room.
And, yes kit looks a lot like her.




Mom was OK, and what interested us the most was how the actions of my cat, Ugly, brought me to my mother’s rescue.  You see, it was not uncommon for my mother to stay out past midnight working in the yard.  In just a few more minutes I would have gone to bed and probably never found her until morning.   Who would have thought that a cat could deliberately communicate the need for help.

PS:  And you might as well say it, because I know you were thinking it.  Yes, I take after my mother.


Also, my regular followers are probably thinking that Kit looks a great deal like Ugly.....Yep, sure does!






Next Monday = #202 - ALL FIRED UP!
And be sure to see my favorite story on Aug. 29th 
kt 7/2011