Thursday, May 3, 2007

Barn Kitty Boo!

Autumn glided in with lady-like grace that year. The trees blushed at her coming. The dirt road wandered away from the busy city and lead it’s travelers into the cool, quiet of the countryside. The still-green fields were speckled with the browns and grays of horses who munched on the last of the summer grass.

The silence was broken by a golf cart careening down the dirt road kicking up the red dust that makes up all Southern dirt roads. Too young to drive a real car and too old to sit at home my friends and I headed to our favorite teenage hangout: the barn. From Jessica’s house, it was a short trip by golf cart to the stables where we took riding lessons and kept our horses. The weather promised to be beautiful and we had the whole Saturday to spend riding, grooming and visiting with our four legged friends.

Despite my best efforts, I drew the back seat for that trip, boring because it was too hard to talk to the girls up front. I stared backwards contemplating the view and enjoying the fresh weather. Suddenly, from the side of the road a tiny gray kitten darted from the grass and chased after the golf cart mewing and running his hardest.

“Stop!” I shouted to the girls up front. We collected the little guy from the road. He purred when I picked him up. Thinking him lost, we began knocking on doors. There were only a few to check at. No one was missing a kitten. He was so tiny and hungry. He must have been without a home for some time. With no other ideas, we took him to the barn.

He was a beautiful cat. He was white with large gray patches and a little white spot right next to his nose. His eyes were startling green. His looks were only the beginning of his charm. He loved people! His efforts to locate much needed food that afternoon were distracted by our presence. We were captivated.

After some discussion, we decided to go back to Jessica’s. There was no cat food at the barn (Miss Kitty had moved to the house by this time) and the kitten was too hungry to delay. Jessica had two cats and plenty of food to share. We set him in a large bucket with a bed of hay and retraced our steps.

Jessica’s large, adult cats threatened the kitten’s life. Nicki’s family lived in a place that did not permit pets. The kitten came to my house. I was thrilled! He was a ball of fun. After a few days of food and water he began to feel great. He played hide and go seek with my sister and I. I would tip toe through the kitchen and into to dining room to surprise him but he’d sneak up behind me and pounce me first! We named him Boo because he was always jumping out at us.

To my deep regret, I wasn’t allowed to keep him. Mom was sympathetic to my cause but as good parents do, she backed my father. She loved Boo too so she made certain that he went to a loving home. We were sad to see him go but as things do it worked out for the best. My grandmother moved in with us just a few short years later and brought her cat, Snowball.

Though Boo’s involvement in my life was brief, I’ll never forget the day he dashed desperately after the only humans he could find, three girls on a golf cart. Humans are not the only the only creatures with character. Boo’s determination to survive lead him to a happy, healthy home of his own. We can learn so much from animals if we take the time to listen. Boo taught me never to give up. I still chase my dreams, even if my legs are too short to catch them.