A Cat and a Fiddle
I’ve grown to appreciate the stories that are passed down father to son.By Charles Canady | Photo also by Charles Canady
My father had a habit of launching into a story or joke whenever the time wasn’t right, leading me to divert my eyes to the floor in search of a hole to swallow me, sparing me from shame. “What does a bucktooth cow say?” he asked anybody that would listen. “Mooooth.” He would laugh, having tickled himself until he was red-faced and coughing from a chronic case of bronchitis. Another one of his favorite lines: “That’s why you never see a dead crow in the road, they’re always looking out for each other by yelling, ‘Ka, Ka’.”
But time, like a merry-go-round, has a funny way of bringing us full circle, and I’ve grown to appreciate the stories that are passed down father to son. As a teenager, I loathed these stories; as a father of three, I crave them to share with my children.
One day, while listening to my father play his violin on my front porch, I asked him to recall the time Mom brought home a possessed cat.
“Oh yeah,” he said as he pulled the violin down into his lap. “Your mother always did like to bring in stray animals. One day she let in this little striped tabby cat.
He walked around the house with his tail sticking straight up. His eyes were what I like to call mattered up, they were swollen pink and puffy, and he had a steady discharge coming from his nose we couldn’t get to stop no matter what we did. He refused to eat, or even drink milk. You know something is seriously wrong with a cat when they refuse to drink milk.”
“That afternoon when we gathered around the table for dinner and prayed I finished our prayer with, ‘in Jesus’ name.’ When I said the name of Jesus, that cat bowed up and hissed. I said it again, ‘Jesus.’ That fool cat went berserk and jumped up onto our curtains pulling them down. I said, ‘I know what’s wrong with this cat, this cat has a demon!’”
My father sent my older brother and I to our bedroom and rolled up a towel and placed it in the gap between the door and floor. He then scooped up Nancy, our black and tan dachshund, in his arms and carried her to the back bedroom shoving a towel underneath its door. This was so nothing could get in or out.
“I was going to cast the devil out of that cat and I didn’t want it going into you or Nancy. You never know what they’re going to do; the Bible talks about them entering pigs as well.” Then he went back to the living room to deal with the cat.
He laid hold of the animal and began to pray for the cat. Again, the cat went wild and lept from my father’s hands.
“I went and opened the front and back doors to our home so that it was the only way out, and I said, ‘I don’t know who you are, or how you got in here, but you come out of that cat in the name of Jesus and get out of my house.’ The cat jumped, screamed, and suddenly went limp, collapsing on the floor as if dead. I thought I killed it; he didn’t look like he was breathing. After lying still for a moment, the cat suddenly jumped up and made a beeline to that saucer of milk in the corner. That cat was starving. The next day the animal was completely well. His eyes were clear and back to normal and the discharge from his nose was gone. Two days later and just like that, the cat ran away, and we never saw it again.”
Dad placed the violin back up against his cheek and slid the bow against its strings, jumping into the chorus of one of his favorite hymns. I sat back reminiscing about that cat and realized stories can be instructional as well as entertaining. Ever since that possessed cat episode, I always lean into the ear of every cat I meet, so I can whisper the name Jesus.
DIGITAL EXTRA: Another front porch tale from the author’s father: The story of Uncle Rob and the bobcat.