From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Rescue of Kitty

Life in Bolivia... Another Trip Down Memory Lane...



Bolivian catKitty in 1981

When Dennis and I were young, newly-wed, and just out of college, we took a job teaching school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. There we adopted a cat, a sweet kitty-cat whose name turned out to be Kitty. I went with another teacher to the home of his in-laws and chose Kitty from a tangle of kittens who were playing on the clean-swept dirt floor. She cried all the way home because she didn't want to leave her family, but in a few days, she overcame her heartbreak and went back to being a cute playful kitten. It didn't take long to become fond of her.

After a couple of weeks, she disappeared. I walked all over the neighborhood calling her. Two days passed. I began to give up hope. On the third day, I went out to look for her again when I got home from school, and as I called her name, I heard a faint meow in reply. I finally saw her on the roof of the neighbor's house. The neighbor had a tall iron fence around his house and two big Dobermans. They patrolled the perimeters tirelessly and tried to attack passersby through the bars. Kitty had ventured into their territory and now she couldn't come back down to the ground for fear of being killed.

We had only been in Bolivia a few months and my Spanish was limited. I pushed the buzzer at the gate and a servant came out of the house. I tried to explain what I wanted, but I couldn't make myself understood. He went back inside and got the master of the house.

The master was not happy about being disturbed. I said politely in the best Spanish I could manage, "Please! Pardon me! I need help! My kitten is above the house." I didn't know how to say "on the roof", so I was trying to approximate it. "Above the house? Above the house?" he said angrily. "Sí , señor, mi gatita está sobre su casa!" I insisted. (Yes, sir, my kitten is above your house!)

Fortunately Kitty decided to plead her own case. She peered over the edge of the roof and meowed pitifully to me. The master sent his man to get a ladder, and in short order, Kitty and I went home. After a hearty meal of tuna, several long drinks, and a long nap, Kitty was herself again.

That was just one of Kitty's many adventures. We brought her back to the United States with us, and she lived to be 15 years old. She was a sweet, funny kitty -- maybe a little neurotic, but after her rooftop experience and some of the other close calls she had, it was understandable.

Kitty on the patio. She was a long cat.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.