I swear the trees grow more leaves every year, just to give me more raking work to do in November. I will never use leaf blowers to do the job, no matter how many leaves there are. Raking is a real man’s job. Besides, it’s easy for me to remember which end of the rake moves the leaves, and which I hold in my hand. If I operated a leaf blower, I might make it suck, quite literally. I’m no good with machines.
When I went to rake under the biggest tree, the worst leaf-dropping offender, I heard a little rustling up above my head. It almost sounded like the tree was deliberately shaking more leaves loose to spite me, giving me more work to do. I felt like I should give that tree a severe talking to, or swearing at. Looking up, I soon saw that it wasn’t the tree that was doing the shaking. It was a cat that was walking back and forth on one of the larger branches. It looked down at me and meowed rather sadly.
Boy that takes me back to when Brenda and I used to go out when we were in our mid-teens. Her cats were always climbing up trees and regretting the decision not too long afterwards. I bought a collar for one of her cats. It had Brenda’s address on it. It proved useful more than once. That cat was a roaming cat that disliked staying inside, almost as much as it did getting stuck up a tree, but someone always managed to return her when we couldn’t find her.
I wonder what Brenda is doing now. Our relationship was pretty hot and heavy for a while, and suddenly, a little more than a decade ago, she ended it.
So I put down the rake, and went to the garage to get the ladder that could stand on its own. I wouldn’t want to lean a ladder on that tree, no matter how wide it was. The big ladder was an awkward move. They definitely don’t build big ladders with an eye to making it easy to hold onto and drag across a lawn.
My first attempt failed. While I had slowly and carefully made my way to the branch where the cat was, he or she appeared to be frightened by my presence. It walked away from the trunk and towards the thin end of the branch, causing it to wobble somewhat. I waited a while, but the cat did not move, except with the up and down motion of the branch. I needed a new strategy if I wanted to rescue this cat..
Very carefully, I climbed down the ladder, even though there was a great big pile of leaves on the ground immediately below that could at least partially break my fall. I had an idea - which I expressed in one word directed at the cat – TUNA.
So I went inside to the kitchen and took a small tin of tuna out of the cupboard, opened it up, and went back outside to the big tree with the cat still in it. Climbing back up was a little difficult as I could only use one hand, the other one carrying the tin of tuna. Once I reached the top of the ladder, I stretched out my tuna tin carrying hand,, and said with my most feline friendly tone: “Look kitty, tuna. I have tuna.”
She (I thought of her as a female. I do not know why) didn’t move at first, but then I could see her nose twitching as the smell of the tuna reached her. She obviously knew what it was and that it was a good for eating, as she started to walk towards me. I put some of the tuna on the branch as far as I could away from where I was standing. She sniffed it, then started licking. When she finished that little bit, she looked up at me, nose still twitching slightly.
I bent down with my back to the trunk of the tree, my left hand reaching down toward the branch.. It was a precarious position, but I was rewarded with success. She went right up to my tuna-tooting hand. When she was done, I gently picked her up with surprising little trouble. Then the two of us went down the ladder, and went inside.
Now, what I am supposed to do? That question was answered rather quickly. She had a collar around her neck that had written on it an address. It wasn’t far away, so I decided to walk there and return her to her owners.
Reaching my destination, I knocked on the front door, cat under my arm. The door opened and I was greeted by a girl, who looked to be about 10 years old. She gave me a big smile when she saw the cat.
“I believe that this is your cat, young lady. I had to rescue it from a tree it climbed up. You see, there wasn’t a fire-fighter handy.”
I could tell right away from the look on her face that she didn’t understand my little joke. She gave me a look of slight bewilderment, then bent down to pat the cat, who promptly purred.
Seeing that all was right, I was about to leave when the little girl surprised me by walking up to me and shaking my hand, and asking me my name. I told her that my name was
She then said, “Thank you Brett.” This was followed by a smile that I would have called a ‘knowing smile’ if she were older, a woman. She then asked me where it was that her cat had climbed up a tree, ‘just in case she does it again’. I informed her, and we parted company.
The Next Day
The next morning, I thought I should finish my raking. It was Sunday, so I had no good excuse not to do it. I went into the garage to fetch my trusty rake. As I walked into the backyard, I heard a rustling like I had the day before, only it was significantly louder. It came from the big tree yet again. I hoped that it wasn’t because that same cat had repeated her mistake of the day before. And then I heard a very strange, very loud purring. I looked up and saw her, the girl I had given the cat back to yesterday. She waved, and said, “I have a story to tell you Daddy Brett. I had a little chat with mom on the phone last night.”
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