Thireteen years ago, on Labor Day weekend, I heard a cat crying repeatedly from my apartment window. I would go out onto the balcony and look down to see where the crying was coming from. Nothing. More crying. More looking down. Nothing. This went on all day long.
The hubby and I were celebrating our last weekend in our apartment before moving to our “new” home. On our way out to dinner, we took the back way out of our apartment building. Had we gone out the front, we never would have come across Chumley. We never made it to dinner, and we didn’t exactly “come across” Chumley. We walked under him.
As we passed under the tree that stood next to our balcony, I heard the crying again. We looked up and there he was, stuck in the tree. We tried to cajole him down. Nothing. Others came along and tried the same. One couple informed us that the cat had been up in the tree for at least two days. They had called the fire department and were “referred” to someone else. The hubby went in to call the fire department and informed them how long the cat had been up in the tree. They couldn’t leave the firehouse in case a real call for help came in. We tried some more cajoling. A crowd gathered.
Soon a group of young men, and one father, came along saying they were part of the Civil Air Patrol. They lived behind the apartments and had noticed a crowd gathering. They were glad to be of service. The father called out to his son, “Go to Grandma’s and get the ladder!” Soon the ladder arrived and climbers were up in the tree. The police had also arrived. The cat went up further (or is that farther). The men climbed higher. The cat went out on a branch. The crowd grew. A policewoman arrived.
“What we need now is a saw,” the hubby said. The Civil Air Patrol dad yelled down, “Go to Grandma’s and get the saw.” Soon a saw was raised by a rope far up into the tree. I’m assuming the firemen were still at the station washing their trucks and waiting for a real call. The saw glinted in the moonlight (how romantic). The branch began to sag. The policewoman removed her jacket. The branch and cat crashed slowly to the ground. Once the cat was on the ground, the policewoman tossed her jacket over him and then tossed him in the back of the police car.
Several people had risked great danger to help this cat who now stared like a criminal from the backseat. Calls were made, a place was found for the cat until a search could me made for his owner. Assumptions were made that the cat had been abandoned when the summer students went home. Snips were made. Shots were administered and a week later Chumley came to our “new” house with us.
Thirteen good years. A few sad weeks. Three upholstered chairs wrecked.
Now, I’ll have to tell all of my secrets and my artistic ideas to the dog, and he really doesn’t act as if he cares. The cat, however, always seemed interested.
So today I thank mama kitty, the Civil Air Patrol, policemen and policewomen, the vet who removed a malignant tumor from his back when he was three or four, my daughter who let him sleep on her bed until the end even though he could only look at her with one eye and drooled on her favorite blanket, and the hubby who let me take in another stray whom he knew was going to shred his favorite chair.
I love you Chumley, Puss E. Cat, fur face, fur buttski, fur friend, fat boy (old days), skinny boy, good boy, bad boy, you little son of a ___, sweet boy.