Thursday, December 22, 2005

A funny Sudie's family story, or "what contstitutes true love at Christmas/winter in Iowa"...

If you click the title of this post it will take you to a site from Mad Dog Productions and one of their premier products...yes...Earl the Dead Cat.

Now I know you all are saying, "What's up with Earl the Dead Cat?"

Well, it reminds me of a story about my mom and dad when my sister and I were (relatively) wee squabs. My sister and I each had a cat when I was in jr. high and she was in high school. However, we weren't allowed to keep them in the house (per Dad's edict that "I don't want a damned housecat.") so they had to stay out in the garage.

Well, as many of my readers know (or if you don't know I'm telling you right now), it gets DAMNED cold in Iowa in the winter time. We're talking below zero temperatures without the wind chill. In addition, the garage was not heated. My cat didn't freeze to death because he found the old pile of rags and blankets to sleep in. Ruth's cat was not so lucky, and met her untimely end.

Now before you PETA types start screaming at me that this was terrible, please note that I am in full agreement. However, Dad was under the impression that it was his house and HE made the rules, therefore NO cats. (He became enlightened before he passed on into the great beyond, and he and Mom had a housecat for a few years because Mother wanted him. So much for his house, his rules...)

Anyway, Mom and Dad were home for lunch one weekday afternoon, and Dad went into the garage for something and came back announcing, "Well, one of the damned cats froze to death."
The cat's legs and tail were all frozen solid, and sticking straight out.

Mom, who is tender hearted, stated, "Oh, dear...we can't let the girls see the cat like this! They'll be so upset." Dad, who apparently had been OK with the cat freezing, softened at that point when Mom evoked our names (we were both "Daddy's girls", you see).

Together, he and Mom decided that they would dispose of the cat before we got home from school.
However, keep in mind that it was below zero outside, with several inches of snow on the ground, not to mention frozen solid ground underneath the snow.

Not good.

Dad and Mom set out in the pickup truck to see if they could find a place to - and I am totally serious about this - dispose of the dead cat so we wouldn't see it upon returning to our humble home on the school bus.

So anyway...they're driving down the county road that leads to town, and they stopped at the train overpass that went over Crooked Creek.

Dad thought that was as good a place as any, so they stopped on the side of the road. Dad got out of the truck (keep this in the back of your mind as it is integral to the story) with the dead, frozen cat wrapped in a towel, and set off to find a place to chuck the cat.

Mom stayed in the WARM Jeep and yelled directions out the window to Dad, such as:

"John! The girls will see that from the school bus! Don't put it there!"
"John! Don't get caught in the snowbank!" (Keep in mind my dad was 5'8" and was in snowbanks up to his knees...)
"John, are you sure you want to put the cat there?"

Finally, Dad got mad and chucked the cat as far as he could throw it. It landed TAIL UP in a snowbank. so the corpse looked like a little flag.



Mom was immediately fine with Dad's placement decision. So needless to say, they went back to work, and when we came home from school they broke the news to us about one of the cats freezing to death.

We felt kind of bad, but then I reminded Mom of the book I bought on my first trip to Chicago entitled 101 Uses for a Dead Cat (See? See? The wheels come 'round.) I showed her one of the images...(represented at left)

So you see, my sister and I were preparing ourselves for the inevitable. It's not Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but it'll do in a pinch.

But Dad hiking through snowdrifts and Mom pointing her finger to tell him how far to go is a true symbol of parental love to me.

I know it's weird, but it's all I've got at present, dammit. Give me a break...

Merry Christmas...