IT’S NEVER TOO LATE (2)
Here is my mother’s first short story, written in her 92nd year as described in a posting last week. This is exactly how she wrote it. She told me, over the phone a few nights ago, she’s just finished her second story, “Tess”. Happy Birthday, mum, on 2 April.
by R.J Leane
It was a bright, sunny afternoon in April and it was my birthday.
My husband, Eric, suggested that we go for a drive up to Somersby in New South Wales, which was a few miles not very far from where we lived at Ettalong Beach.
Were very fond of that part of the country, as there were small farms, orchards, old and new homes and fruit and vegetable stalls where we would always buy good quality fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs to take home with us. Not forgetting the bags of poultry manure that Eric always used on his own vegetable garden.
To my amazement, Eric turned off the highway to a side road which was not the route we usually followed.
We drove a little way and stopped at a house which had a big sign in front. The sign was a Cattery sign and I asked Eric why were we stopping here?
“Well,” he said, “because it is your birthday, you can have your pick of a kitten here at the cattery.”
I was up in the clouds as I have always loved cats and dogs of all kinds as I have always felt that cats and dogs sometime know us better than we know ourselves.
Helen, the owner, showed us around.
There were cats of all colours and breeds, many that I loved and so very hard to make a decision.
But finally, the one that caught my eye was a beautiful Siamese kitten. She had a pretty, grey coat with a patch of white on her chest, dark tips on her ears and a dark tail. She was beautiful so I didn’t hesitate, she was my choice.
We took our bundle of joy home and I was so very happy as this was the best birthday gift I had ever received.
Eric stressed a point and it was that no cat would be allowed on the beds. And there was no exception to the rule.
I called my kitten Samantha although she was called Sam mostly and as time went on Sam shared her affections with both of us.
One day, Eric was having his afternoon nap and when I checked in on him, there was Eric sound asleep and Sam stretched out sound asleep also beside him.
My daughter, Carole, grabbed her camera and took a photo of them both together and got great pleasure in showing her photo to her father. Eric just smiled, what else could he do?
To watch Sam with her bird catching antics was most entertaining. Sam would wait under the bushes for the doves, pigeons, magpies or parrots to come and when one arrived, the stalking would begin. When she got about 2 or 3 yards from the bird, she would let go with a loud meow and the birds would fly away. I’m sure Sam thought it was good fun and I am sure the birds enjoyed the game also.
Samantha was a fastidious eater; only the best was good enough for Sam. Her diet consisted of fresh fish fillets, pink salmon, chicken fillets and beef soup with vegetables when she felt like it. She would sometimes drink milk but preferred to drink water.
One day the phone rang and a voice on the other end said, ”Mrs Leane, I have your cat here with me, I live two streets over from you and she visits us now and then, usually she is too fast for me, but this time I managed to catch her. I got your name and phone number from her collar.” After that, a tall fence went up to keep her in, but to no avail, Sam continued her visits with her newly made friends.
There were times when Sam would come in the little trap door in the back door with a small mouse in her mouth which she displayed proudly and dropped it at our feet. I think she thought we were not eating enough and she needed to feed us. I am sure that if she could talk she would have said, “Aren’t I a clever cat?”
Whenever she heard Eric coming down the driveway in his car, Sam would run out through her cat-door and would be sitting on the back step waiting for him to make a fuss of her.
Another time I heard a crash and her door slammed shut; so I went investigate. I could see green jelly paw marks all the way down the steps and here was Sam in the sand under a shrub. Sam was coated in green jelly and sand and on her grey fur; this was not a good combination.
I picked her up and ran into the laundry, put some Lux in the tub with mild, warm water and after three baths in which she didn’t even squirm, managed to get her clean. Sam didn’t like green jelly but she did enjoy sitting on my lap in the warm sun, being dried with a big towel, where she curled up and went to sleep.
Who would be a cat; and needless to say, no green jelly was had by us for our dinner that night.
Sam didn’t require many visits to the Vet, but never failed to have her injections.
She wasn’t very fond of children and after a bit of petting would slink away and would reappear when the children had gone home; no doubt pleased to have peace and quietness to herself again.
I never knew Sam to kill anything other than a grasshopper which she would devour if she got the opportunity. She wouldn’t even kill the mouse that she would bring into us. We would have the job to try to catch the mouse to get it out of the house.
When it was time for Sam to go to bed at night, Eric would say, “Bedtime Sam” and Sam would go to the laundry, jump up on the washing machine and into her comfortable basket, with all the essentials that a cat like Sam needs.
There were occasions when Sam wasn’t at all popular and that was when she would decide to get up early and wake us with a pitiful wail. Sam would keep this up until we opened the door and let her out. She didn’t seem to understand that we humans like to lie in bed in the mornings when all the action is going on outside.
Eric was keen gardener and Sam just loved being with him even though Eric would toss small pebbles or weeds at Sam. Sam would run after them. I am sure she would like Eric to garden every day as it was so much fun.
I believe that the Siamese cat is one of the most intelligent cats on this earth and I feel after ten years of having such a wonderful pet, that Sam is in pussy-cat heaven as payment for the love and pleasure that she gave to us.
Thank you, Sam.
Rita Jessie Leane