Random Thoughts


 ... well-fed cat

by Ed Boyd

One day, back when women wore aprons over housedresses, Ma was washing clothes. She was at the soap stone sink and I was playing with my trucks on the kitchen floor. Another frigid New England winter was keeping me indoors.

I opened the coat closet door to get more toys to find a little gray mouse staring at me. I jumped up and the mouse scampered across the kitchen floor. Ma grabbed her broom from the cellar stairs and charged after it.

In the midst of this ruckus, the family cat, "Timmy" yawned his way into the kitchen, ignoring the drama in front of him. I tried to coax him in the direction of what, for most cats, would be a delightful opportunity. I should have known better. Timmy was too well-fed and complacent to bother with catching mice.

Meanwhile, Ma took several chopping swipes at the mouse as it darted about the kitchen in frenzied attempt at escape. I smile to myself with the memory of my little mother, five feet-two, whirling around in exasperated pursuit of a tiny mouse. She, too, noticed the total indifference of our cat and shouted, "Damn you, Timmy, get that mouse!"

After seven to ten swings of her broom handle, Ma finally struck the mouse a glancing blow that left it wiggling on the kitchen floor. She dropped her broom and hollered at me to open the back door. Then, with her left hand, Ma picked up the stunned mouse by its tail and with her right hand grabbed Timmy by the nape of his neck and hurled both cat and mouse into a tangle onto the back porch. I rushed to look and saw cat and mouse face to face. As the cat took a feeble swipe at the mouse, the mouse dashed beneath Timmy's underbelly and beyond.

April 2, 2004

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