I woke up this morning and felt a memory story coming on. It’s a return back to my very happy childhood. Here goes…
I was around 4 years old, I think. Daddy came home from work in through the side door with a very secretive expresson when he greeted Mother and me at the bottom of the kitchen stairs. Normally, he would go directly to the cellar to remove his “barn” clothes. It was a rule because Mother didn’t want cow odors in the upstairs area. He had a short and hushed whisper in her ear until she smiled and looked at me. There was something in his barn jacket pocket. He gently pulled it out for me to see and it was a tiny golden KITTEN! With amber eyes! With a damaged tail! Aww…..
Mother and he operated on the tail, removing the end which was hanging loose and dangling by skin. They explained to me that it didn’t hurt the kitten very much and needed to be done. The kitten had been trapped by its tail under a big tractor tire and my dad couldn’t find any one to move the tractor so he pulled the kitten free in the best way he could. He was unsuccessful after searching around the area to find its mother or siblings and just brought it home with him. Farm cats and kittens are often considered inessential but he really saved its life. Individual cats and kittens are continually replaced through the numerous ones that live and reproduce on farm properties.
She was named “Goldie.” As time went on, Goldie herself had families born in the house; in my brother’s bed, on top of the coal pile in the cellar, in the laundry basket of unfolded clean clothes, and we were able to find homes for all.
At about age 6, my twin sisters were born. Mother wasn’t well. The care of four children and a cat with a new litter of kittens overwhelming. Dad decided to find a new home for Goldie and her kittens. He put them in a burlap bag in the back of the car and took them all to a farm to live. My understanding now is that the farm was about 50 miles away where his occupation of the state dairy tester took him that day. It was traumatic for me. I loved Goldie way too much for her to be taken away, but he reassured me that she would have plenty of room and food to live well and be happy.
Then, life went on without her. Mother recuperated and all was good. One day two years later, as I was returning home from school (we walked to and from school) I saw a bedraggled cat on the sidewalk of my street and knew it was Goldie. I screamed, picked her up, and dashed home to tell everyone that she had returned. Her paws were raw and her coat was patchy and crusty. She smelled bad. It WAS her! There was no doubt, due to her immediate purrs and half tail. She was happier than I was. It took about a year for her to regain her golden beauty and she never had kittens again.
The cat came back - I thought she was a goner, but the cat came back (about two years after she left.) Check out the origin of this song here: