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Vintage Dilbert August 23, 1993

Vintage Dilbert
August 23, 1993

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was dark brown, almost black. It’s shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree; a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is a rule of nature that only a few of these seeds grow. Most never do or are destroyed early on in their growth.

And it came to my mind, it’s quite often so with people’s dreams. Wonderful ideas come to our minds but they die too soon – we don’t tend to the little saplings, we don’t protect them as we should. And then one day we wonder what happened to our dreams, why did they never come true?

I put the apple seed on the table and bent down to see how the light was reflected from it, this nature’s tiny wonder. I wondered when someone was seriously growing apples, how many times they had to try to get a seed to germinate? How much work did it require?

Maybe it was like with our dreams: the seeds of your dreams did not automatically grow. Like planting an apple tree. It might take many trys; like a hundred job applications to get that good job. You might send your manuscript out two hundred times before it was accepted. You might meet dozens of people until you meet the true friend.

But if you kept on sowing the seeds of your dream, one day you would succeed. And after that others would comment on how you were lucky to be successful – when in fact you probably failed more often than you would like to count. But you were good at failing – you learned, you adapted, and then with your new knowlegde you tried again. And again. And again. And one day success was yours.

I picked up the apple seed again – but instead of throwing it away I took an empty flower pot, poured some earth into it and planted the seed. Maybe one day it would grown into a proud tree. I’d never know if I didn’t try.

Some people think their best time in life is when they are young. Once they’ve hit the 40-mark, they begin to tell how it is of no use any more to start achieving new things.

I refuse to believe that. There are plenty of examples out there that prove you can achieve amazing things even in your mature years.

I love the little story of a woman who decided she wanted to go and study when she was in her forties. Her husband asked her. “Do you realize that if you start your studies now, you will be fifty when you graduate?” To which this admirable lady replied “Darling – I shall be fifty in any case.”

So go ahead and follow your dreams. Start today. No matter what they are, no matter what your age, and no matter what others think of it. It’s your life after all.

 

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Vintage Dilbert February 22, 2003

Vintage Dilbert
February 22, 2003

From a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain.

As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland, to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM … that’s 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”

Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.

In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.

People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.

We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.

Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.

And they were true to their word.

Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel.

We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!

We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.

What we found out was incredible…

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.

Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.”

Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.

Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day.

During the day, passengers were offered “excursion” trips.

Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.

Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.

In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time.

Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days.

He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.

He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.

He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

“The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.

It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward. Let’s not forget THIS fact.

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I have..... Explore the
 MS&D archives for over 1000 additional stories...  
 Take Care and God Bless  :-)  Kenny T
Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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Vintage Dilbert July 24,  2004

Vintage Dilbert
July 24, 2004

When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him and breathed life into his nostrils.

But you woman, I fashioned after I breathed the breath of life into man because your nostrils are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly fashion you.

Man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with the creativity. From one bone I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects man’s life.

I chose the rib, which protects his heart and lungs and supports him, as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you. I modeled you. I created you perfectly and beautifully.

Your characteristics are as the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ in man, his heart.

His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The rib cage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. Support man as the rib cage supports the body.

You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side, to stand beside him and be held close to his side.

You are my perfect angel. You are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtue in your heart. Your eyes – don’t change them. Your lips – how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose so perfect in form your hands so gentle to touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep; I’ve held your heart close to mine.

Of all that lives and breathes, you are the most like me. Adam walked with me in the cool of the day and yet he was lonely. He could not see me or touch me. He could only feel me. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you: my holiness, my strength, my purity, my love, my protection and support. You are special because you are the extension of me.

Man represents my image – woman, my emotions. Together, you represent totality of God. So man – treat woman well. Love her, respect her, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you hurt me.

What you do to her, you do to me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart, the heart of your Father and the heart of her Father.

Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his inner self.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
May 6, 1996

We found out that Jenny was hearing impaired, when she was four and a half years old. Several surgeries and speech classes later, when she was seven, we found out that Jenny had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

She could not put pressure on the heels of her feet, so she walked on tiptoe and when the pain became unbearable, I carried her. Jenny was fortunate though, because she did not suffer the deformities often associated with JRV.

All through grade school and on into high school, Jenny suffered yet never complained. She took her medicine and I would often wrap her feet in steaming towels and hold her until the pain eased. But, as soon as she could withstand the pain, Jenny immediately carried on as though she were pain free.

She wore a smile on her face, a song on her lips and a love and acceptance of others, that was simply amazing. I don’t remember her ever voicing self-pity. She ran when she could run. She played when she could play and she danced when she could dance. And, when she could do none of these things, she took her medicine and she waited until she could.

Jenny, a beautiful blonde with warm brown eyes, was never a cheerleader. She never competed in a sport. She could not even take part in a Gym Class though she took the same health class four years in a row just so she could pass with a substitute credit each year. She joined the band. She won a place in the Governor’s School for the Arts; yet, no one in the Charleston, South Carolina School System knew quite what to do with Jenny. The perimeters were simply not in place to deal with a student, who was both active and handicapped.

Jenny continued to have one surgery after another all through school. Her hearing improved to 60% and she taught herself to read lips. She carried a pillow to school all through high school and once when she suddenly experienced crippling pain, her friends scooped her up and carried her from class to class.

She was totally mainstreamed, popular and funny, attending every football game, cheering the team on, carrying her pillow everywhere she went so that she could cushion the pain when she sat down. Then came her senior year. She would be considered for scholarships; however school activities, especially sports, could often mean the difference between receiving an award or losing out.

So Jenny came to a decision; and in her quirky unorthodox manner, she began to bombard the high school football coach. She begged. She pleaded. She promised. She got her best friend to sign up with her. Finally the coach gave in, with the admonition, “If you miss ONE game, you’re out!” So Jenny became Manager of the Garrett High School Football Team.

She carried big buckets of water to her teammates. She bandaged knees and ankles before every game. She massaged necks and backs. She gave pep talks. She was continually at their beck and call, and it turned out to be one of the best years for Garrett High School Football Team, in its twenty-five year history. Often Jenny could be seen carrying a bucket of water in each hand, nearly dragging them, along with her pillow tucked under her arm.

When asked why he thought that the team was winning all their games even in the face of injury, one linebacker explained in his soft Charleston drawl, “Well, when you’ve been knocked down and you can’t seem to move, you look up and see Jenny Lewis, limping across the field, dragging her buckets and carrying her pillow. It makes anything the rest of us may suffer seem pretty insignificant.”

At the Senior Awards ceremony, Jenny received a number of scholarships to several Universities. Her favorite scholarship, however, was a small one from the Charleston Women’s Club. The President of the Women’s Club listed Jenny’s accomplishments, starting with her grades and ending with a closure, “…and the first girl to letter in football, in Charleston History. But more important, what an inspiration. She excelled in the face of adversity, inspired an entire football team to new heights and gave hope to the future of every student at Garrett High School. Jenny will change the life of every one she meets.

 

By - Jaye Lewis          http://www.chickensoup.com 
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 28, 1999

Hurricane Bertha left me in a bad mood.  I had managed to maintain my sour disposition for several days in spite of the attempts of almost everybody to cheer me up.  I had leaks in my ceiling at the gallery, the floors were flooded, the showcases dirty, there was no air conditioning or electricity, and I had over one hundred artists calling me to see if their work had been damaged.  On top of all that, I had to drive over to Jacksonville in the pouring rain and choking heat, and the air conditioner in my truck had quit working. I was not happy.

As I motored along North Carolina’s Highway 24 to Jacksonville, my faithful truck was trying to tell me something . . something important like . . . YOU FORGOT TO BUY GAS!  For the first time in my life I had run out of gas.  I’d always smirked at the friends and family who’d done this, as if to say, “How could you be so stupid?  There’s a gauge on the dashboard to tell you that your tank is empty, and all you have to do is read it.” I was right: There was a gauge, and it said EMPTY. I was not happy.

I coasted to the side of the road, saying several things about my own mental abilities . . . several things about Hurricane Bertha . . . and vowing to sit there until the darn truck rotted and fell apart.

As I contemplated the possibility of getting a job with the French Foreign Legion, I heard a motorcycle pull up beside me: a big, throaty, rumbling, growling Harley-Davidson.  I opened my door and was face to face with a throwback to the 1960s.

Snakes were painted all over his face shield and helmet and tattooed all over his body.  He wore the traditional Harley-Davidson garb: denim jacket, jeans and biker boots.  Chains hung from every available hook or loop.  His hair was so long that he had it doubled up and tied to keep it out of his wheels.  The Harley was straight out of Easy Rider – extended front fork; suicide rack on the back; black, purple and green paint job, and the gas tank painted to look like a skull with glowing green eyes.

“S’wrong?” he said.  His shield and helmet completely masked his face. “I’m out of gas,” I whispered. “B’right back.”  And he rode off.  About fifteen minutes later he returned with a can of gas.

When I offered to pay him he said, “Wait till ya get to the station.”

I started my truck and drove the two or three miles to the station as he followed along (in the pouring rain). Again I offered to pay him.  He said, “Pay the guy inside.  Everything okay now?”  I said yes.  He said, “See ya!”  And off he rode down Highway 24 toward Jacksonville, hair undone and flying in the wind, Harley roaring and throwing up spray from the pavement.

After pumping twenty-four dollars worth of gas, I went into the station and gave the attendant thirty dollars.  He said, “It’s only four dollars.  The other guy paid twenty and said to tell you to ‘pass it on, Brother.'”

I will always remember the kindness of the snakes-and-chains stranger on the Harley with the glowing green eyes, and I will never again judge by looks or perception -a promise I had often made to myself before God let me see, He truly works in mysterious ways.  And I will always wonder, “Who was that masked man?” ….As for the twenty dollars . . . I pass it on every chance I get.

Robert R. Thomas (c) 1996
Chicken Soup for the Soul www.chickensoup.com  
Image from www.allposters.com 
Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 24, 2004

I grew up on a farm in the mountains of northwest Arkansas. As children, my brother and I roamed every inch of the little mountain facing my parents’ house. We knew where every giant boulder and animal burrow was on that little piece of mountain bordering my dad’s farm.

One day, my grandpa came to visit from his home several miles away. We sat on the front porch swing looking at the mountain, and he began to tell me a story. It was a delightful tale about him and me living in a little cabin on the mountain.

 “Can you see it?” he asked. “It’s right there by that big acorn tree. See it?”

Of course I saw it. What eight-year-old child wouldn’t see what her imagination wanted her to see?

 “We’re gonna live in that cabin. We’ll catch a wild cow for our milk and pick wild strawberries for our supper,” Grandpa continued. “I bet the squirrels will bring us nuts to eat. We’ll search the bushes for wild chickens and turkeys. The chickens will give us eggs, and we’ll cook us a turkey over the big ol’ fireplace. Yep, we’ll do that some day.”

From that day on, every time I saw my grandpa, I asked when we would go to live in that little log cabin on the mountain. Then he’d once more spin the story of how the two of us would live in the cabin with the wildflowers and wild animals around us.

Time raced on; I grew into my teens and gradually forgot Grandpa’s story. After graduating high school, I still saw Grandpa and loved him dearly, but not like that little girl did. I grew out of the fantasy of the log cabin and wild cows.

Before long, I married and set up my own house. One day, the phone rang. When I heard my daddy’s sorrowful voice, I knew my grandpa had left us. He had been in his garden behind his house and died there, his heart forever stopped.

I grieved alongside my mother for my dear grandpa, remembering his promises of the cabin in the woods with all its animals and flowers. It seemed I could once again hear his voice telling me the fantasy we shared. I felt my childhood memories being buried with him.

Less than a year later, I went to visit my parents’ farm. Mama and I sat on the front porch admiring the green foliage of the mountain. It had been ten months since Grandpa had passed away, but the longing to hear his voice one more time was still fresh in my soul.

I told Mama about the story Grandpa had always told me, of the cabin in the woods, the wild cow, the chickens and turkey. “Mama,” I said after I had finished my story, “would you mind if I went for a walk by myself?”

“Of course not,” was her reply.

 I changed into old jeans and put on my walking shoes. Mama cautioned me to be careful and went on with her chores.

The walk was invigorating. Spring had come to the country, and everything was getting green. Little Johnny-jump-ups were springing up all over the pastures. New calves were following their mamas begging for milk. At the foot of the mountain, I stopped. Where did Grandpa say that acorn tree was?

“Straight up from the house,” I thought I heard him say.

I began my journey up the little mountain. It was steeper than I remembered, and I was out of shape. I trudged on, determined to find that tree.

Suddenly the ground leveled out. I was amazed to see what was before me. Soft green moss covered a small, flat clearing. Dogwood trees, smothered in pastel blooms, surrounded it. Off to the side stood a tall oak tree — Grandpa’s acorn tree! Scattered among the tufts of moss were vibrant colors of wild wood violets. Green rock ferns and pearly snowdrops were scattered about as well. I could hardly catch my breath.

I don’t know how long I stood there — several minutes, I suppose. Finally I came to my senses and sat down on the moss. In all my childhood wanderings on the mountain, I had never seen this magically beautiful place. Was this what Grandpa meant when he pointed out our special spot on the mountainside all those years ago? Did he know this was here?

A squirrel darted in front of me. He had a nut in his mouth. I watched as he scampered up the oak tree. No, I didn’t see a wild cow or chickens. But in my heart, I knew they were there somewhere.

I decided to go tell Mama what I had found. She would want to see it, too. Before I left I took one more look. It was the most beautiful place I could have ever imagined.

It didn’t take me as long to get back to the house. I burst into the kitchen babbling about the clearing on the side of the mountain. Mama calmed me down enough so she could understand what I was talking about. Daddy heard the conversation and tried to convince me there was no such place up there. He knew the mountain and had never seen anything like that.

On my insistence, he and Mama decided to go see the amazing place I was raving about. Once again I climbed the mountain straight up from the house. Before I knew it, we were at the top.

“We must have missed it,” I told my dad.

He just nodded and we retraced our steps. We searched for over an hour for that little place on the mountain. We never found it. I was devastated.

On the way back home, Mama put her arms around my shoulders.

“Sissy,” she said, “you know what you saw, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know what I saw and I know it’s there somewhere. We just missed it.”

“No, sweetie, it’s not there anymore. You saw God’s garden. Only special people can see that. Your grandpa loved you so much, and he knew you were grieving inside. Hold that memory in your heart.”

I’m fifty-two years old now. Every time I go back to Mama’s house and sit on the porch, I remember the secret garden Grandpa told me about. But I no longer go out and look for it. No, I know just where it is.

By Bertha M. Sutliff    From Chicken Soup for the Soul: 
Stories of Faith Changing Lives One Story At A Time

 

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
April 21, 2003

Oscar was named after the Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can because that is where we first became acquainted.  I was working at a pizza-delivery chain and had been assigned garbage duty.  While tossing bags into a dumpster, I heard a faint meow.  I began digging through the trash, and several layers down I found a cat – bruised and thin.  I wasn’t sure if the cat had crawled into the Dumpster to scavenge for food or if he had been put there purposely.  Our establishment sat directly behind an apartment complex, and unsupervised and abandoned pets were common.

Back on solid ground, it became evident that the cat had an injured leg.  He couldn’t put any weight on his right hindquarters.  The situation created a dilemma for me.  Finances were tight, and I was moving back home to my parents’ house – with two cats already in tow.  Dad barely tolerated the two established felines.  His reaction to another injured stray was sure to be less than receptive.

I took the stray to the vet, hoping to patch him up.  After shots and X-rays, the vet discovered the cat had a cracked pelvis.  I posted notices, hoping someone would claim the cat or adopt him.

Meanwhile, the response at home was swift and firm: No more cats!  Dad insisted I take the cat to the Humane Society immediately.  I protested that the cat would be put to sleep.  Luckily, my mother intervened.  She agreed the injury would make the cat unadoptable, so we would keep him long enough for his hip to heal.  Then he would have to go – no arguments.

Oscar must have somehow understood his situation.  He seemed to study the other two cats and their interactions with my father.  We suspect he bribed Tanner, our golden retriever, with table scraps in exchange for etiquette lessons.  When the other cats were aloof, Oscar was attentive.  He came when his name was called, and he would roll over on his back to have his belly scratched.  As his injury began to heal, he would jump on the ottoman by my father’s favorite chair, and, eventually, into his lap.  Initially, Dad pushed Oscar away, but persistence paid off.  Soon, Oscar and a muttering Dad shared the chair.

At mealtimes, Oscar would come to sit with us.  Positioned on the floor by my father’s chair, every so often Oscar would reach up with one paw and tap Dad on the knee.  At first, this provoked great irritation and colorful expletives expressed in harsh tones.  Oscar, however, refused to be put off.  Repetitive knee-taps soon led to semi-covert handouts of choice morsels.

Oscar greeted my father at the top of the stairs every morning and waited for him at the door every evening.  My father sometimes ignored Oscar, and, at other times, stepped over him, complaining the whole time.  Oscar mastered opening doors by sticking his paw underneath the door and rocking it back and forth until it opened.  Soon, he was sleeping in the master bedroom at the foot of the bed.  My father was completely disgusted, but couldn’t stop the cat from sneaking onto the bed while they were sleeping.  Eventually, Dad gave up.

Before long, Oscar, aspiring to his own place at the table during meals, began jumping up into my lap.  He was allowed to stay as long as his head remained below table level.  Of course, an occasional paw would appear as a reminder of his presence.

Three months passed, and the vet pronounced Oscar healthy and healed.  I was heartbroken.  How could I take this loving soul away from what had become his home, from the people he trusted?  Sick at heart, I brought Oscar home and told my parents what should have been good news: Oscar was a healthy cat with a healed hip.  “I’ll take him to the Humane Society like I promised,” I said dully.

As I turned to put Oscar in the carrier for the trip, my father spoke, uttering three magic words: “Not my cat!”

Oscar is home to stay.  He now has his own chair at the table and sleeps – where else? – in the master bedroom between my mother and father.  He is their official “grand-kitten” and living proof that deep within the most unlikely heart, there is a cat lover in all of us.

By Kathleen Kennedy

 

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