The Cat in the Tree
When I was in law school at the University of Kansas we lived in a one-room school house in the country north of Lawrence. The school house, which had once been known as Knowledge Hill School, had been converted into a residence, and sat atop a hill with no neighbors insight. Although we had no air conditioning, there was an attic fan, and with the windows open we could sleep fairly well even on the warmest nights.
One of the reasons we had chosen KU for law school what that my parents lived nearby, in Rantoul Kansas, and we could visit them regularly. One day when we started home from the folks house, my Mom handed a pillowcase through the window of the car. It contained a cat, and although Mom denied that she was aware of it, the cat was pregnant!
Since Becky is allergic to cats, we made a nice box for pregnant Ginger in a small shed just outside our bedroom window. As nature went on its catty way, one morning, before I went to class I found six newborn kittens in a hub cap in the shed. No sign of Ginger.
“Ah well,” I thought. “Just as well. We don’t need any more cats, and without a mother they couldn’t survive anyway.” But once I got into town, I started dreading finding six cold kittens in a hubcap when I got home. I skipped class, went to our vet and got a nursing bottle and a formula. When I got home the tiny kittens were still alive, and there was still no sign of Ginger. One by one I picked up the kittens and fed them.
Strange as it seems, we managed to raise all six cats to weaning size. We made a bed for them in the utility room and when we walked in there all six would start meowing and climbing our legs. Since, unlike mama cat, we could only feed one at a time, five would be unhappy while number six got dinner. I don’t think Becky was too happy with my decision to try to bottle feed six kittens, but since she had been part of the conspiracy to acquire Ginger, she couldn’t say much, and to her credit, she dutifully took her turn with nursing duty.
Not long after the litter was weaned, Becky evicted them from the utility room, and we returned them to the shed where they were born. All afternoon we watched them do their kittenish thing, and as night fell they settled in nicely into their box in the shed. Or so we thought.
We had no sooner turned out the light when it began; meow, meow, meow, meow, meOOW. One of the darn kittens was up in the tree right outside our window. “I can’t go to sleep with that going on!” declared Becky.
I got up, wearing what I was born in, and got the big six-volt flashlight. “Are you going to get dressed?” my spouse wanted to know. “Why should I?” I replied. “Now shine that light up in the tree so I can see where the little beggar is.” She obliged, and grabbing a low branch, I swung myself into the tree.
Immediately, the light disappeared.
“Hey!” I said. “What happened to the damn light?”
“I’m not going to shine the light on you naked up there.”
“I can’t get the kitten if you don’t shine the light up here.”
After a brief discussion she reluctantly redirected the light to the tree, and I retrieved the kitten.
We got settled back in bed and Becky started laughing. “You looked like a cross between Moby Dick and Tarzan.” She said.
I’m sure I did.