Wow, I had no idea when I started this story it would take on a life of its own. I must applaud you readers for sticking with me this long. And now for the thrilling conclusion of my tale.
Johnson's wrecking yard has been around a long time, much longer than I've lived in Mandan. I've had occasion to visit there every now and then for some part or another. The place has not changed. There has always been a few very large dogs laying around every time I've been there. I'm sure these aren't the same dogs they had back when I was in high school but the dogs could've been related as they all had the same disposition. They were big but very gentle, they never barked, never jumped or tried to lick anybody. They were always very mild mannered and friendly. So the morning I drove up to get my car door I wasn't surprised to see a couple dogs on the porch. They stood up and wagged their tails in greeting.
Johnson's was a little busy so I waited for someone to help me when all of a sudden the hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle. Not very many people know this. Ok, absolutely nobody knows this. Dear readers for the first time ever I am about to reveal that I have a sixth sense. It is kind of a cat radar that warns me whenever I am in close proximity to a member of the feline species. I turned my head to the source of the disturbance and sure enough, slinking along the counter, acting for all the world like royalty has just entered the room and why isn't everyone bowing, was a medium sized gray cat.
I hate cats. All right, I don't hate them, I try very hard never to use the word hate, but I strongly dislike them. Not all cats mind you. Mountain lions, jaguars, Siberian tigers, any of the big vicious variety that can take your head off with one playful swipe are just fine. I adore these magnificent animals. It is just the members of the housecat variety that I really have a hard time getting along with, and I have every reason to believe they feel the same way about me.
But I perfectly understand there are people in this world that do like them. Johnson's Wrecking for instance, must have had some reason for keeping it around. So I do my best to give these animals the benefit of the doubt and am perfectly capable of minding my own business as long as the cats mind theirs. Never the less, I kept a close eye on this one as it walked along the counter and jumped gracefully onto the stool directly in front of where I was standing and gazed at me. One of the reasons I dislike cats is they have this way of looking at you that appears they can see right into your very soul. They look haughty, smart, knowing, and teasing all at the same time. This cat was looking at me as if to say, "I know something you don't know, nyah, nyah, nyah." It was unnerving to say the least.
But like I said, I was willing to give this cat the benefit of the doubt that it meant no harm and extended my hand in friendship. The cat, as if it knew exactly what was coming, stretched out it's neck and allowed me to pet it. You would have thought I just sent the animal into cat-heaven. It closed it's eyes and fired up the purring motor on all cylinders. It started moving its head around in my palm as if to present the parts of it's head and neck it most wanted scratched or petted. Then as if that weren't enough it started circling my arm winding itself around my hand and wrist. I put up with this for just a few seconds and I was just thinking to myself this is really getting weird. I no sooner thought this when the cat immediately stopped, sat up straight on the stool and stared at me again. It didn't move, it didn't blink.
My cat rader started going off again. I stared back into this spooky feline's eyes and tried to discern what was going on behind them. My radar started to signal even louder and I found myself thinking, this moronic cat is going to jump. Sure enough, these brain waves had just barely formed into thought patterns in my head when catzilla made a magnificent leap onto my shoulder like some nightmarish version of a pirate's parrot. Now I wouldn't call myself scrawny but I'm no NFL defensive lineman either. The cat was having a hard time finding a foothold. Go figure. So while it's back legs started scrambling to find purchase the front legs made do with digging into my hair and neck.
Now I must pause for a few moments. I know I do this way too much, but I can't stop being me. That would be like asking the Earth to stop orbiting the sun. I feel it's important to understand a few things so as to truly appreciate the bitter struggle that is about to ensue. Brianna is taking Life Science at Mandan Middle School, and as homework-helper-in-chief, I also am taking Life Science courtesy of Mandan Middle School. Chapter 5 - heredity. There exists two chromosomes. Females are given two of the X chromosome variety, while males, bless us, are given one X and one Y chromosome. I'm sorry this is very twisted logic but it seems to me we've got girl genes and boy genes running amok inside us. Sorry fellas but I find it's better to face the truth than try to deny it.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or I should say, back at the wrecking yard, a vicious battle has just begun. That's right, boys against the girls, and the battlefield is me. My X chromosomes were pulling my hair out, (or maybe that was the cat) to scream like a girl and prance around like a chicken with it's head cut off. But my Y chromosomes, ever the voice of reason, were saying, "Do you really want to do this in front of these Johnson's employees and customers, not to mention about 20 square feet of dog lying on the floor who are gentle now but probably wouldn't appreciate having their tails trampled?"
Thankfully, most certainly through divine intervention, the Y chromosomes won out and I was able not to lose my head completely, sort of. I attempted to channel the desire to scream into grabbing this beast of a cat who was obviously from a planet far far away. Maybe a planet of the apes where the inhabitants have huge platform-like shoulders that cats can stroll around on surveying their kingdoms. The cat seemed to be one, or maybe 4 steps ahead of me, though. Every time I grabbed it scampered out of the way. The one time I did manage to grab hold it sunk its claws into my coat and refused to let go.
As you can imagine, I was putting on quite a show for the employees and customers who by now were laughing hysterically. One helpful man was finally able to talk between fits of laughter. "If you walk over to that candy machine, the cat will jump right on top of them." At this point I was willing to take the advice of anybody. In the middle of my mad gyrations I spotted two puny little gumball machines and I thought why would the cat want to jump on these little things when there was a great big counter and several stools to choose from? But I wasn't in any position to ask questions. Very carefully avoiding the dogs I made it to these pitiful excuses for vending machines and tipped my head over like I was about to do a handstand. The cat monster was having none of it and dug it's claws in further.
The guy said, "No, the big machine in the corner over there." Oh, well, excuse me for missing that, it's not like I was distracted or anything. I stumbled over to the corner, again, trying very hard to avoid slumbering dogs, and launched myself as if I was trying to throw a shot-put with my shoulder. The cat, thankfully, let go, landed on the top of the machine and looked at me like I was the one causing all the ruckus.
So you can see why I just cannot abide cats. This was just one example. I could write several more entries on vicious altercations I've had with these freaks of nature, through no fault of my own of course. Somehow I managed to get my door loaded and headed back home.
Deanna was absolutely radiant. It was nice to come home to something that wasn't trying to rip my head off. I could tell Deanna enjoyed her relaxing morning. She has to get the kids to school every day and deals with getting them dressed and presentable. I was happy one of us got to enjoy their morning.
So let us head to the debriefing room and review what we have learned from this little sequence of events. 1.) Life is very much a comedy production God has given all of us to enjoy, both as spectators and participants. This is meant to be a gift, not a punishment, so enjoy it. If you can laugh at yourself, you are a fortunate person indeed. 2.) Actual, true-life events are always much funnier and more enjoyable, (unfortunately, they can also be sadder and more difficult) than anything made up or contrived. As my good friend Steveatrandom says in one of his comments, "You just can't make up stories like this." 3.) I know I say this all the time, but I feel it's so important, that the key to happiness does not depend on the events in which we find ourselves, but our reactions to those events. The most wonderful occasion can be ruined by a bad attitude, and the most sorrowful situation, can perhaps, be a little less so by having a happy and thankful heart.