When you grow up on a farm, you learn the hard truths about life and death at an early age. And when you have rampant inbreeding going on in your farm cat population, death (not to mention mental disabilities and never-before-seen genetic mutations) becomes a guest that drops by way too often.
Such was the case on our farm. For several years we would experience a population explosion spurred by cats who apparently had extremely overactive (and undiscriminating) libidos. Mothers were breeding with sons, grandfathers with granddaughters… When we tried to plot out the family tree the branches became so twisted and gnarled that we finally just gave up and declared our farm a cat commune with very loose morals.
Then, out of nowhere, one cat would get sick, and the weakened immune system that seems to plague the genetically inferior would rear its scrawny head. Pretty soon all we’d have left were our memories. Well, those and the battle scars we wore on our arms from carrying out cat food to EXTREMELY hungry cats who weren’t smart enough to actually hunt on their own.
So it probably shouldn’t have bothered me that much when I stepped out onto the porch one Easter morning and found that a scraggly black-and-white tomcat had dropped dead there overnight.
But despite their flaws and idiosyncrasies, I loved all those mangy cats. And I didn’t think it was fair that he should die on Easter. It was a special holiday for me, second only to Christmas, and this cat’s thin, stiff body made it really difficult for me to enjoy stuffing my face with Peeps, going back for seconds on Grandma’s baked beans and secretly jumping in with the baritones to echo “He arose” in my deepest voice during my favorite Easter hymn.
I’m pretty sure I cried all the way to church that morning. I’m also pretty sure that I told my Sunday School teacher, as well as anyone else who would listen, my lamentable story. My sisters probably didn’t carry on like I did. I was always the melodramatic one. And the fact that one of my sisters went on to major in zoology in college leads me to believe that she had that whole “circle of life” thing down much better than I did.
Pulling into the driveway after church, I was still mourning the loss of this poor demented cat. So when I trudged back onto the porch, you can imagine my incredulity when I saw that another member of the cat commune had, in fact,
Death…birth…somehow it all made sense in my young mind. It was, I was sure, an Easter miracle.
No, the sick farm cat was not resurrected, but there was new life, and I felt peace believing that our cat had at least died on Easter for a higher purpose.
What about you? What are your Easter memories? (Bonus points if they involve dead farm cats!)
When I attended BlissDom last month, I had the opportunity to talk with staff from Hershey’s about Easter. They are creating the first-ever virtual Bunny Trail to connect people through stories, tips and traditions about Easter. How fun is that? Check it out at www.CelebrateWithHersheys.com.
[Disclaimer: I am sharing this Easter story as part of the Hershey's virtual Bunny Trail, and in exchange I will receive Hershey's product. Mmm...Cadbury Creme Eggs...]