I agreed to wrangle 10 cats on Christmas day. Eight were in one household and two in another.
Their owners had out-of-town plans. Even after reading the encyclopedic notes regarding which kitty got which smelly vittles in which bowl, it seemed simple enough. Besides, I had met all these cats. They were fickle felines, none of whom particularly like me.
But, you know, any old human holding a food bowl is halfway home. They’d worked up a liking of me before, so I figured we wouldn’t hiss at each other.
And that’s when the storm hit.
As blizzard wind swelled and snow tumbled, the two cat-owning couples were snowed in. Their schedules changed again and again, breaking and making airline and hotel reservations coast to coast. Meanwhile, I got progressively more worried about those cat bowls on Christmas day.
Would I be able to plow out there in my twelve-year-old Toyota? Tensions rose. I didn’t say they could no longer count on me; I’d make it somehow.
Eventually, the two couples worked out a deal. One hubby was left to feed kitties as the rest of the humans slogged out to the highway and away. This is a story unto itself, but one for another day. Bottom line, instead of caring for ten cats, I cared for none at all.
I know many of you may believe this was a Christmas miracle, but I actually like cats and would have been happy to do it.
As a result, Christmas day was abnormally quiet. Following seven decades of noisy ones, I was just fine with the calm. I sat and read and reminisced. Sis and I could even eat what we actually wanted (I far prefer pizza to Brussels sprouts).
I finally realized something significant had happened after all. This was my first experience with promising more than I could deliver. I would have tried, but it would have scared me to slide in the slush nearly to Joyce and back, if I made it at all. My much younger friends knew that without asking. They looked after ME as well as their cats, although maybe not in that order.
Driving in snow like that, well nobody should do it. Especially a senior citizen who doesn’t quite realize she is one. There’s no doubt age dulls the senses, heightens the glare, slows instinct. I am going to be more careful about what I offer to do now that I am more careful about what I will do. I guess that is a New Year resolution of sorts. A good one.
Besides, cats probably wouldn’t start eating each other in just one day on their own. On the other hand …
Linda B. Myers is the author of 10 novels, including Starting Over Far Away, released this fall, available at Port Book and News, Pacific Mist, and Amazon. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.