My friends Pete and Sherri told me a great story the other day and I told him I had to write a blog about it. This one’s for you, Pete. Forgive me if I don’t get the facts exactly perfect – we were laughing so hard it was tough to listen.
Pete and Sherri live across the street from me with a variety of cats, dogs and girls. Seriously, there are about 34 of each. Eric and I had a hard time figuring out which one is which at first (of the girls), and somehow ended up nicknaming one of the girls Bill because we ran out of other guesses. I have also nicknamed a tiny one Boo because she sounds just like the little girl character from the movie “Monsters, Inc.”
Most of the dogs seem to change too often to really keep track, so we just refer to them collectively as “the neighbors’ dog.”
Cats are pretty much always interchangeable, so I never found out their names. One of them is black. This story is about the black one.
Apparently Sherri got in her SUV the other day to go to Slayton and pick up pizza at the Pizza Ranch. They deliver to Avoca now, but my guess is she used the drive to escape from chaos for a few moments. I remember when I had a houseful of kids and dogs and would willingly walk or drive somewhere just for a bit of silence.
Anyway, as she walked outside, the cat was sitting on the hood of the car. Assuming it would jump down when the vehicle was started, she pulled out of the driveway a moment later without much thought.
Now, we’ve all heard stories (I had this happen when I was a kid) of cats that climbed into the engine or wheel-well and ended up either as kitty bits from the fan or got a ride to town. Black cat, reportedly, didn’t head down, but up. He rode the six miles to Slayton on the roof of a Suburban. Not the hood. The roof.
Now, think about what a sight this must have been. Imagine being in a car coming from the opposite direction and seeing a big black cat huddled down and clinging for all he was worth to a luggage rack. Ears flattened by the wind, tail streaming out behind him and whipping in the breeze.
“No one pointed him out or did anything,” Sherri commented after Pete told me the story.
A few of us neighbors were standing out on the lawn talking, and couldn’t help but make jokes about it.
“How do you know it’s the same cat?” somebody asked. “Maybe someone in Slayton is now wondering where theirs went.”
“I can tell by the way he walks,” she answered, and seriously meant it. The cat also actually comes when it is called, she told me, which is an amazing feat in the cat world. Mine all just glared at me when I called their names and gave me a “Yeah, right” look.
Sherri was still surprised that no one else had noticed the cat on her roof.
“They probably did, but just assumed you were from Avoca and didn’t give it much thought,” I said. "A lot of strange things come from here."
Maybe it was the thought of pizza that motivated the kitty to ride to town, but I’m guessing next time that big Suburban starts moving while he is sitting on it, he’ll be smart enough to head down and not up. Then again, maybe he enjoyed the ride and will now make it a habit. Wouldn’t that be funny?
If you are driving down the road and see a big blue Suburban loaded in the back with a posse of girls and topped by a big black cat, be sure to wave. I’m pretty sure it will be Pete and Sherri. The odds that there is more than one vehicle matching this description are slim.