The Almost-Famous Story of a Cat Who Almost Made the Big-Time, Part 1
How’s it going?
That’s good/I’m sorry. (Choose the most appropriate response.)
Here’s the deal. I’ve been sitting here staring at my Blogger “Compose” box for hours. Okay, it’s probably only been like 10 minutes, but it feels like hours. There’s a lot on my mind, a lot going on right now. But that seems to be making it even more difficult for me to decide what to write. I tend to get a BIT overwhelmed when I have a number of things happening in a short span of time, and then my anxiety-riddled brain can’t give priority to anything. So instead of thinking about the present and the near-future, I’m going to turn my mind, instead, to the past…
The Almost-Famous Story of a Cat Who Almost Made the Big-Time
Growing up on a farm, we had our share of cats. Although the cat population ebbed and flowed due to the in-breeding, which would cyclically wipe out nearly the entire herd with some mangy disease and then build it back up again, we could always count on at least a couple cats of varying sizes, colors, and mental capacities dotting the rolling landscape.
Now, being “farm girls” (and I use the quotations because we were so pathetic at actual farm work that I’m not sure we really deserve the title), my sisters and I were members of the local 4-H club: the Ward-Washington Wanderettes (which was, interestingly, later changed to the “Ward-Washington Wanderers” due to the fact that one of the member’s “boyfriends” [again with the quotation marks because I’m pretty sure this boy played for the other team] wanted to join our all-girls group.) And being a 4-H girl, I wanted to show projects in the Clarke County Fair. I mean, does it get any better than the Clarke County Fair? I think not! Growing weary of sewing fabulous 80’s-style ginormous sweatshirts, entering “photography” (This time the quotation marks are because I had the CRAPPIEST camera and took the CRAPPIEST pictures that for some reason I thought were Ansel Adams-esque at the time.) exhibits, and baking kick-ass Snickerdoodles (No quotation marks needed here because these blue-ribbon-winning cookies were actually good!), I decided it was time to do like other farm kids do…show an animal.
Here’s the problem. I didn’t actually raise animals. Dad had cattle and hogs at one time, but I didn’t exactly pay attention to them unless they got out in the middle of the night and we had to stand on the gravel road in our nightgowns yelling “Hyaaaah!” and waving our arms at them…but that story is for another time. And apparently if you show livestock, you are supposed to actually raise them, not just close your eyes and pick one right before you load it up in the trailer. What kind of a stupid rule is that, I ask?
But you could show a pet without going through all of the preparation-schmeparation, so that’s precisely what I did. At the time, we had quite a farmful of cats, so I would have plenty of “pets” to choose from. (Gotta use the quotation marks again because technically, I’m not sure our cats were considered “pets” since they lived outside, got fed slop in a barn, and wouldn’t have known a vaccination if it poked them in the butt.)
And who did I choose, you may be wondering? Let’s see, that one’s missing part of his tail…That one can’t put its tongue back in its mouth…Hey, how about Chubbette?
Yes, how about Chubbette? Let’s see…where to begin. Well, she was born “Chubby Checker” until we realized she was a girl, so we just tweaked her first name and the figured she was good to go. She was a black cat with long hair. If you’re picturing long, silky hair, go ahead and just change that image to long, straggly hair, thinning in some places, thick and tangly in others. Oh, and did I mention that she had just given birth to a litter of kittens and was nursing, which made her skinny as a rail? (I’m pretty sure she had gotten pregnant by one of the kittens she had given birth to last spring too. I swear, Jerry Springer could’ve just set up his studio in our barn and he’d never have to worry about coming up with content.)
So Chubbette was dubbed “The Chosen One” and I readied myself by
bathing and grooming her, bulking up her diet with iron-rich food and essential oils to make her fur shine, clipping articles out of Cat Fancy Magazine, writing articles on “The Proper Care and Feeding of Cats” (which I preached but obviously didn’t practice), and drawing pictures of Garfield to make the best darn Cat Project Book the Clarke County Fair had ever seen!
The anticipated day finally arrived, and it was time to transport my project to her temporary home in the Small Animal Barn at the fairgrounds. I
lovingly picked up my purring feline began to bleed as I snatched my ball of hair and claws and shoved her in her “cage.”
Did we buy her a precious little cat carrier, or even a small wire kennel?
No, of course not. We chose to put Chubbette in what I’ll refer to as “the honyock cage.”
Yes, you guessed it. An upside-down laundry basket on top of another laundry basket, fastened together with rope or zip-ties or those little twist-ties from baggies or something. I don’t remember the specifics of the contraption, I just remember that I was the only one at the fair with a laundry-basket-cage.
Okay, friends, I hate to leave you hanging, but it’s late and I’ve gotta get some shut-eye. Look for Part 2 of The Almost-Famous Story of a Cat Who Almost Made the Big-Time to come…
Damn it! Last night the Orange County Housewives left me hanging with the dreaded “TO BE CONTINUED…” and now this! I hope you get back soon, pjmom! You had me laughing out loud! Though my kids aren’t in 4H, I think I’m witnessing much of the same amount of effort you put towards showing Chubbette as they put into their school and Cub Scout projects. Too funny!
I can’t wait! Hurry and write the rest before that principal calls and gives me a job! By the way, thanks for the encouragement!
Ah yes. I DO remember Chubbette. Isn’t she the one who ran across the yard while delivering and dropped kitties and just kept going?
Thanks for the walk down memory lane…can’t wait for the next installment.
Believe you could write an entire set of volumes about our various cats. Remember Branstad and how about Mr Thomas?
(Reading your little quip reminded me that my bladder control is not improving with age. I need to be more careful when I laugh my head off!)
I can’t wait to hear how this one ends! I might have to follow up with a post of my own about what happens when suburban teenagers try to raise a hog named Bud.
And yes, we really did.
Seriously, I was crying. I can’t wait for part two, and I even know what happens.
For the record, Chubette was NOT the one who dropped a kitten in the driveway and then kept on running to the food. That was Rocky. Interestingly enough, I THINK Rocky was Chubette’s mother. But I don’t think Chubette was the kitten dropped on her head…
Boy can I identify with farm cats. We had them on the George farm too, but the slop was put on the front porch (mom was a city slicker turned farmwife, you know). It was a bit tamer that way, but we occasionally had other wildlife make it onto our front porch–which would be the reason for your long trek to the barn (to keep the wildlife there).
Only briefly felt the desire to show at the fair and that passed…