Gr-Gr-Uncle’s Sad Fate

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was WIDOWMAKER. I’ve never heard of this word, though I grasped the idea soon enough. Still, what might I might write in response to this prompt?

About ten minutes later our cat, Angus, came around the corner of the house with a mouse in his jaws. He rushed up the steps, intending to bring his prize inside, but that’s not allowed. The creature’s tail hung limp and lifeless, but you never know. They can fake it until the chance comes to dash under some furniture.

Anyway, my mind went back to the prompt and I thought, “Okay, here’s a tale…”

Widow-Makers

“”Quiet, children! Did you hear that sound?” Our mother trembled. Most of us froze, ears alert to the faint sound coming down through our tree stump.

Some of our siblings were still tumbling around, pulling each others’ tails. “Stop squeaking,” she hissed, reaching over to box their ears. “Everyone listen.”

The plucking, rasping sound was louder now and we all trembled a bit, wondering what it could be. She started shoving us into the corner farthest away from the door, whispering, “Don’t any of you dare squeak, or put so much as a whisker out the door.”

We all huddled in the corner until the sound stopped. Still Mother wouldn’t let us move around for a long time after.

“Mother, what was that sound,” one of our sisters finally asked.

“That, little ones, is the sound of THE CAT, a furious beast, sharpening its claws on a tree nearby. We must be silent whenever it’s near because if it hears any rustling, that monster will be over here in a flash, reaching in to snag whoever it can.”

By now we were all trembling. We’d heard many fur-raising tales about “THE CAT.”

Mother’s whiskers twitched wildly as she described the beast. “Its claws are viciously barbed. We call them widow-makers. Few mice ever escape those clutches. THE CAT has massacred dozens of our relatives.” She began wringing her hands “I do hope your father and brothers are safe. Snitching grain from the harvest field won’t be worth it if they lose their lives doing it.”

After awhile Father and our brothers came back and we could all relax. They told us all how they’d seen THE CAT and had hidden in another stump until the beast had moved on. Our brothers described THE CAT for us: a big furry monster with fiery golden eyes, HUGE paws and a long tail that it whipped around constantly. Oh, we were glad they hadn’t fallen prey to a beast like that!

But the sad news went round that evening when we mice gathered among the trees to visit our clan. We’d lost our great-great-uncle to THE CAT. Our great-great aunt is years younger than gr-gr-uncle and has perfect hearing; she shuddered as told us how she’d squealed a warning to him, but gr-gr-uncle hadn’t understood it. He’d poked his head out to see what was making that noise and spotted the cat. He’s kind of slow in his old age and didn’t duck back inside soon enough. THE CAT spied him and dived toward their hole, reaching in to snag gr-gr-uncle with its vicious barbs and carry him away in its jaws.

The mouse clan offered many sympathies to great-great-aunt, another widow in the daily battle for mouse survival. We’re all twice as cautious now. None of us want to be caught by those widow-maker claws.

Remembering Tuffy

We have another beautiful day ahead of us. Our two older cats have been out exploring and just came in for breakfast.

A month since he left us, I’m remembering our little Tuffy on this beautiful spring morning that he would have loved.

such a small creature
such a big hole left
to catch all the rain

A Sad Day For Us

The loss of a small creature can leave a big hole.

Last Sunday our pastor mention at the start of his sermon that just about any verse of the Bible might generate a long and meaningful sermon. Which made me think of the shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” and how much ink has been expended on those two words.

“Why did Jesus weep,” scholars have asked. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus, so why did He join the mourners in their sorrow? Because that’s what He does, writers claim. He joins us in our sorrow.

There’s sorrow in our house today, as our beautiful, lovable kitten, Tuffy, was killed on the road last night. I’ve been weepy all morning, ever since our neighbour texted that they saw him lying there, because I know how much we will miss his lovable ways. I’m thankful for every day we were able to enjoy him.

About eight months old now, he came to us one night last November, a day after the big snowy weekend we’d had. When I let our other cat out early that morning, a little black nose and two black ears poked out of the cat shelter. Fearless and friendly, this small kitten scooted into the house and made himself to home. He’d obviously been someone’s loved pet, but he couldn’t have just wandered half a kilometer down a country road.

His lively antics and cuddle-ability made our COVID-restricted winter so much brighter. The grandchildren enjoyed his fun nature, too, whenever they came to visit. And once the weather turned warmer, he loved being outside. Though I worried about predators and wondered how much “street-smarts” he had, it would have been cruel to keep him in.

“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This was Job’s answer, after learning how he’d lost so much, including his ten children. He realized that he’d brought nothing into this world; everything he’d gained in life was a gift for him to enjoy while he was here but he could take nothing with him to the grave. Scripture tells us he never accused God or became bitter about his loss.

People do ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Why COVID, why cancer, why this and why that? We’re so inclined to lament the bad and forget all the good. “Why?” is frequently asked, but no answer comes except that this is life on planet Earth. Life is a rainbow: there’s health and sickness, joy and sorrow, winning and losing, life and death. And we cry because we love.

I could ask why God let Tuffy get hit when he was so precious to us? Why did God allow that vehicle to come down our road? (Our gravel country road gets so little traffic, especially now with the restrictions, and Tuffy seemed wary of noisy vehicles. So I rarely worried about the road being a danger.) Why did God allow that driver to get behind the wheel last night?

I could even go back to, “Why did God allow people to invent motors? Just think how many people have lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.” What with the climate and running out of oil, etc., surely our world would be a better place if we walked or used horses. But the next time I want to go grocery shopping in town, I want the car.

The only answer I get is to enjoy the life we have, the conveniences we have, and take the risks that go along with it. My own life was saved because modern medicine has come up with an effective cure for leukemia. I could – should – ask, “Why do I have it so good?” or “How did God manage to bring Tuffy into our lives so we could enjoy his unique personality during a season when we most needed him?”

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Just think how many sermons and funeral messages have been preached about those few words. And because we know “Jesus wept” together with Mary and Martha about the loss of their brother, we know He sympathizes with us in our sorrows and loss, the huge ones and the little ones. He understands why I’m sad today.

Silence of the Cat

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SILENCE

Much has been written about SILENCE, and many verses have been composed, but I had such an apt demonstration while I was reading others’ posts this morning that I decided to go with this example. The prompt is to be fun, so here’s mine.

Image by MonikaDesigns — Pixabay
SILENCE OF THE CAT
 
Silently he slinks
 noiselessly he springs
 a dark shape passes
 in front of my monitor.

 Suddenly the White-out
 spins off my desk
 followed swiftly by a pen.
 A few deranged paper clips
 scratch their way to the plunge;
 a rubber band leaps after.

 A deft white paw lands
 with a click on my keyboard
 and zxzxzxzx's flash
 like magic across my screen
 as Puss leaps into my lap.

 A silent creature by nature
 he has his way of insisting
 I leave this impertinent clacking
 to come play "chase the mouse"
 or at least offer a nibble from
 the jar of treats on the shelf.

 He may do his deeds in silence
 -- unless I step on his tail --
 but when he wants me
 to meet his need, he has his way
 to ensure I can't miss him.

Vacation Days

on the calendar
 she counts the days one by one
 two-week vacation

I don’t know if it’s because last night was full moon and I’m feeling a bit bold myself, or because this is the first day of “OFF-time” for me and my mind is free to create. But after some exchanging of shifts, I have eighteen days “off.” That is, I won’t have to make a meal at the Villa until nineteen days from now. Needless to say, I have lots of plans — mainly housekeeping, but hopefully some writing, too. I’m clearing my schedule of other tasks so I can devote time to editing the story I have on the go.

Also, I bought some paint brushes and am going to have a go at swirling them around on some art-quality paper. 🙂 I’ve decided that art and blogging will be evening activities during my time off; cleaning the house will be my morning duty. And I’ve blown it already with my four posts in one morning! But tomorrow…when the moon’s not so full…

The cats are indeed squirrelly. Right now Angus and Tuffy are wrestling on the carpet. Angus can join in kittenish fun, but he’s an old cat and when he gets weary of Tuffy’s rough play, he goes and jumps in the bathtub. Tuffy hasn’t figured out how to get into that, so he just peers over the edge and swats in Angus’s direction.

The temperature has come up today; it was -18C this morning and supposed to go all the way up to -12. In the last couple of days I’ve seen several flocks of grouse (8-12 in each) scooting around the prairie, finding what they can. Unless it was just one flock that got around a lot? We saw a small group in our yard one morning, not far from the bird feeder, so probably picking up what the sparrows toss out.

We went to the city yesterday, then I made supper for the folks at the Villa. Later in the evening, here at home, we listened to the family memories from our son-in-law’s uncle Dennis, who died of bone cancer a few days ago. We didn’t know him that well; those who did described him as ambitious, active, dexterous. He’d tackle about anything in the mechanical line and invented a number of things. His family said he was a faithful Christian pastor, a loving and much loved husband and father, always encouraging and supporting them. All in all a wonderful tribute!