Sometimes you reach out to grab the brass ring only to discover the one you got was made of plastic. Take for instance my neighbor George. A large colony of feral cats were not being good neighbors, so he was trying to find a way to resolve the issue.
I imagine some of you are wondering, “What the heck is a feral cat?” Well, a feral cat is a domestic cat that was born in the wild. In other words, they are basically wild domestic cats. Feral cats exhibit none of the “pet” characteristics of that cute little puddy tat you have at home. You know the one, “Mr. I’m the king of this castle” and who is kind enough to let you live in your own house.
Anyway, as I said, George was having problems with some of Sylvester’s wild relatives. I was totally unaware of the problem until one day on our way out to do some shopping, my wife Ann and I noticed George standing in an empty lot surrounded by tall weeds.
As I looked at George my mind was working hard trying to figure out what he was doing, but the longer I watched him the more impossible it became to hold back my laughter. There George was, leaning on a long metal pole with what appeared to be a “kicked in the butt” look on his face. On his hands were two pairs of gloves. I am assuming he felt one pair was just not enough protection. The first of the two pairs were work gloves and the second ones were white latex gloves. George looked like a cross between an EMT and someone on safari.
There was not the slightest bit of shade where George was standing and the temperature was now hovering right around ninety-four degrees. Oh, did I mention that George was wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a strange looking hat? Just the sight of him had sweat beads forming on my brow. Whatever was going on, I had to assume that walking away from it was not an option for him. He reminded me of the story about a little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke only George was beginning to wilt from the hot sun.
My curiosity was getting the better of me and I had to find out the story behind George’s odd behavior and appearance. As I was pulling off the road, Ann asked, “Have you figured out what the heck George is doing over there?” “No, but I’m about to find out.” With that, I activated my warning flashers, grabbed my camera, and headed over to chat with George.
Since there is very little traffic on our street, the warning flashers were a little overkill, on the other hand, it did make me look like I was on an official ‘Joe Friday’ kind of mission, “Okay, just the facts ma’am…ah…George.”
As I was crossing the street, I noticed George was standing near what appeared to be a cage or trap with a furry little critter inside. Oh man, this was really getting good. I could hardly wait to hear his story.
As I approached George, we went through the normal pleasantries.
“Hi, how are you?”
“A little warm, but fine, and you?”
Then we moved on to the important stuff.
“So, what’s going on?”
“Yeah, feral cats.”
“I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s feeding them and when they finish with her gourmet food, they come over to my place to use the toilet.”
“Do they flush when they’re finished?”
“No, and it smells to the high heavens…’sides, they’re killing the birds. They can’t be hungry so I’m guessing they just do it for the challenge.”
The whole time we were conversing, I was busy snapping pictures of the fuzz ball.
“George, I may be mistaken but that sure doesn’t look like a feral cat in your trap.”
“Not my trap. It belongs to animal control. They lent me the equipment to trap the cats. You know, you are a lot smarter than you look. It’s not a feral cat, it’s a possum.”
“That’s what I figured. Why is it still in the trap if the door’s open?”
“It was hot, so I gave it some water and after that I guess it felt safer in there than out in the wild. It curled up to take a nap so I tilted the trap up and tried to dump it out. Should have known better, they’re experts at holding on to things even when they’re upside down.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“Well, the truth is I was waiting for you to come along.”
“Me? Why me?”
“Well, I figured you’d bring your camera and take some pictures.”
“Got me figured out, huh?”
“Yeah, well you always drive everyone and everything crazy snapping a ‘gazillion’ pictures so I figured the furry little thing would leave just to get away from you.”
Now, I laughed at George’s logic…that is until Mr./Mrs. Opossum wandered out of the trap, gave me a dirty look, then headed across the lot to where a bunch of pepper bushes were growing along the canal bank.
“Told you! I would have called you earlier but I left my cell phone in the house.”
“Yeah, well it won’t be so funny when I send you a bill for varmint removal service.”
As I climbed back in our vehicle, Ann took one look at me and instinctively knew not to ask what happened. Needless to say, it was a very quiet shopping trip. The way I was throwing things into our cart, Ann thought it best to send me off to get paper towels and toilet tissue while she got the eggs then picked out some tomatoes and other vegetables.
Another great adventure comes to an end. It doesn’t get any better than this…well, unless you’re talking about the awesome beauty of a Florida sunset. That might just be a step up from this story.
I guess as we travel the road of life, we can never be really sure which way the road will turn…one thing’s for certain though, if you see one of your neighbors standing in a field just wave and keep on driving.
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