No Pet Left Behind
I remember that moving day in the late 1940s. It’s Saturday morning, and the movers loaded up the truck. I begged and pleaded with my dad to wait for me to find Spot, my cat. He was paying the movers by the hour and wouldn’t wait long for a cat.
The van pulls away and I’m crying my eyes out, “Please daddy, please don’t leave my cat!” Besides leaving the family pet, I’m leaving behind the only home I’ve ever known in my nine years, the small town of Belhaven. We’re moving to the country to live with Granddaddy in Ponzer. Times were tough, and Grandma died a few months before. Granddaddy needed someone to look out for him.
I cried all the way to Ponzer that day, cried all night and most of the weekend. But Mama kept saying, “Come Monday morning when you go to school on the school bus, you take a box with you and go back to our house and get that cat.” She gave me hope. Hope that I could do something and perhaps find my cat and bring him to our new home in Ponzer.
It was a long weekend, but finally Monday arrived. Mama gave me a box with holes cut in it to put the cat in. She also gave me fried chicken left over from Sunday dinner in hopes to entice the cat with. Since I had to wait until lunch time to leave the school grounds to go to our old home, the morning lagged endlessly. Finally, lunch time arrived. I go to our old home with box and chicken in hand. Once there I call for Spot. Spot came running. He’s hungry just like Mama said he’d be (he was used to eating two good meals a day and it had been since Saturday morning when he was fed last.)
We were so happy to see each other. Spot gobbled up the chicken. We played and cuddled and we’re both happy, until I tried to put him in that box!
After struggling with him for quite some time (remember I’m just nine years old), I finally get Spot in the box and head back to school. Spot was a smart cat! About a half a block down the street, he got out of the box and ran to hide in a bush. “Please come back Spot, please come back,” I cried.
About that time, a little boy named Harry came and asked if I needed some help catching the cat and I said, “Yes, please help me.” I even offered him two pennies I had stuck in my penny loafers if he’d help me. He did and I was glad to pay him. With Harry’s help, we captured Spot and put him back in the box, this time tying it securely shut with a rope provided by Harry.
I think Spot knew how much I wanted him to come with me and succumbed to the box with no more struggles.
All afternoon Spot was in the box beside my desk in the classroom. (Thank you, Ms. Ricks for being such an understanding teacher. This was in the 1940s — with today’s rules and regulations, that wouldn’t be allowed in the schools and no teacher would let you do that.)
We arrived at our new home in Ponzer. Spot was happy to see my mama too.
Time came to catch the school bus back to Ponzer. Bryan, the school bus driver, said I couldn’t bring that box with a cat in it on the bus. I got off the bus and started to walk all the way to Ponzer (10 miles). I guess Bryan felt sorry for me because he relented and let us ride home on the bus.
We arrived at our new home in Ponzer. Spot was happy to see my mama too. Spot surveyed his new surroundings and stood up on his hind legs peeking out the window and saw a pig for the first time in his life. He was growling at the sight of this pig because he had never seen anything like that before. He probably thought it was a dog with a strange bark.
Life was good there in the country for Spot. He liked roaming in the big yard and fields. I missed my friends in town and found Ponzer in the 1940s to be so very, very isolated. Without Spot in my life, it would have been unbearable. Spot will always reside in a special “spot” in my heart.
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