Soda City is hopping this weekend with things to do. Between The Okra Strut, Pride, the Italian Festival, the Plant and Flower Festival and Nationwide Smithsonian Free Museum Day, Saturday was not a day where being bored was an option. A little for everyone. But of course, I was headed AWAY from all the festivities, towards my tiny hometown of just over 2800 souls, minus one. A friend of the family died under tragic circumstances and I wanted to go and give condolences to his family, especially his Mom. I don’t do a lot of the proper Southern social etiquette things. I always have allowed my Mom to be the family representative for things like that. My contribution to any cause, be it funeral, wedding, baby shower, anniversary, birthday party,etc. was understood to be included in the ‘and family’ signature on the many cards and delicious desserts my Mom would send. But I’m too old for that now. It’s time for me to take up that particular banner for my own family…which is just me, but that’s not the point. I need to be the proper representative for myself. *adds to areas of improvement list*
I went and gave my condolences and then went for a short walk to my great Aunt’s house down the block from my parent’s home. The house is abandoned but our family has decided to salvage it so it has undergone a lot of renovation, including the beautiful, wide, oddly shaped porch attached to the front of the house. It looks out onto the town’s main highway and gives a clear view of every car that passes by. Perfect house for nosey small town folks. An awesome clear blue sky, a slight breeze and the smell of grilled food made my porch perch perfect.
While I was sitting, I noticed a stray cat being run off from the guy that was grilling chicken across the road. This guy grills in that spot every weekend, selling chopped barbque, grilled chicken, ribs…good stuff. As the cat ran towards the house I noticed he was really scrawny. I could see long lines of his bones through his fur. You could tell he was really hungry by the way he kept his nose to the ground as he walked, hoping to catch the scent of a morsel of food. I felt so sorry for him. Did I mention I’m a cat person?
As the animal came closer, I was astonished to recognize the cat’s coloring. His face, tail and legs were dark brown and his body was light brown and his eyes were a beautiful blue. This was a pure breed Siamese! Why was a pure breed roaming around as a stray? Who abandoned this animal? Was it lost? Did it belong to someone? Was a family somewhere crying because they lost their beloved cat? I wanted to pick it up and love it; perhaps take it to a vet to see if it had a chip that could answer these questions. But it wouldn’t let me get near it. I called for it and tried to go towards it but it would run every time I moved. It risked a lot getting so close to the guy cooking across the street that he had to be shooed away. He must be starving.
I left the porch and the cat took off down the street. I knew he’d be back because he was obviously desperate. I went a bought a chicken leg quarter from the grill dude and went back to the porch. I made a lot of noise opening the aluminum foil packet the chicken was wrapped in. I smacked hard and loud on the delicious, perfectly cooked bird. Sure enough, the Siamese came back. He had his eye on me as he came closer. I tore off a piece of chicken and lifted my hand to throw it towards him and he ran away again. Eventually, he came close enough to understand that I was throwing food at him. He ate most of the chicken, as I delicately threw it off the side of the porch onto the acorn covered grass. He looked like he needed some serious love and care but I knew he wouldn’t let me get close enough to give it to him. He had white feet so I started calling him Lightfoot.
After I got home, I did some research and learned that white feet on Siamese disqualified them from being ‘show cats’. Is that why he was roaming the street? Didn’t someone realize what kind of prized, beautiful animal this was?
I often wondered the same about myself. Nearly 45, divorced, educated with no children, why couldn’t someone see what kind of prized, beautiful animal I am? Why am I alone? Was someone somewhere looking for me? What disqualified me? Am I lost?
I appreciate the lesson God decided to deposit in my spirit about my encounter with the stray Siamese. If this cat had not been out there trying to live and get what it needed out of life, it would not have encountered me; a person that was willing to nurture it and feed it and give it love. Not everyone that has their hand drawn back above their head is throwing rocks, sometimes it’s life giving nourishment. Like Lightfoot, I have to get out there and get closer and receive what I have been looking for.