This time of year in middle Georgia, there are these beautiful fields of clover interspersed with the tiny purple flowers that will eventually take over. I think the clover is precious, as it is only in season for a short while, and it reminds me each year of the story of the CatBite.
I was probably six years old because I remember Mama still toting my baby sister around. We had a cat, I’m thinking it was Josie. We couldn’t have her as an indoor cat because we found out my middle sister was allergic. Bless her, I think Mama and Daddy originally got the cat to cheer her up because she was sick so much when she was little.
I liked to go out on our little back porch and play with the cat. And with chameleons too, but that’s another story. I can remember Mama warning me not to bother Josie while she was eating. Ahem. Well technically, what I did was not BOTHERING her, I was only trying to help. The cat food was so pretty, in those little star shapes. So I put one on my finger and held it out to her. She took the piece in her mouth and ate it. Cool. I tried again. I’m not sure how many times I did this before Josie took bad aim or I moved my finger at the wrong time. This is when the CatBite happened. I don’t blame Josie. I only wish Mama hadn’t blamed me. I was hurt, and I was in trouble. Not a good combination. And to top it all off, after Mama called our pediatrician, I was hurt, in trouble, and on the way to get a tetanus shot as a precaution. (I think it was a tetanus shot…..if that doesn’t make sense, let’s say it does and move on, deal?)
Because our pediatrician then was in Macon, Mama loaded me and my two sisters in the Little Blue Car, and we drove through town to the interstate. Just as we started onto the entrance ramp to I-75, the car broke down, and Mama had to carefully pull over to the almost non-existent shoulder. I am not sure what exactly was wrong, but it wouldn’t go. Not an inch. I am sure Mama had to take some very deep breaths. Not an ideal place to break down. At all. The only plus is that Daddy worked on the other side of the overpass at the USDA station. This, my friends, was in the day way before cell phones or bag phones and just after the dinosaurs. The funny thing is, I don’t remember how it was resolved. The picture in my mind’s eye is of the car sitting on that hill. And the clover. As I stood next to the car, the clover at my feet and far beyond was so breathtakingly beautiful. And when you look at it up close, it’s amazing how all those tiny little parts go together to make up this field of scarlet. A work of Art.
I am sure that the car was fixed and we were on our way, because that’s how Mama rolled. She got things done. But the two things that stick out from the memory of all of this is the sight of that pretty cat food star on my finger and the beauty of the scarlet against the vibrant green of spring.
There’s really nothing to learn from this story tonight. Except maybe don’t feed a cat on your finger…..and even if you tell your young’uns don’t do it, you might want to double check to see how that’s going.
But wait, there is this. I’m thankful that when I look back at the TRAUMA of being CatBit and of the Little Blue Car leaving us stranded, I do not recall a moment of fear or worry. What I do remember is the joy of being with Josie, and the happiness and comfort that the vision of clover brought me then. It still does each year about this time. It takes me back. For that I am truly thankful.