When I was about five years old I wanted a kitten so much. In those hard times you didn't just go buy a pet, at least not at our house. Money was spent carefully during the war years, and even after. Habits learned are hard to break. Money was not to be spent foolishly, so I was told.

My Dad's cousin, Jr., lived next door. He was a teen ager and I idolized him so. He taught me about Bumstead sandwiches. After school I would go to his house. I was a lonely, only child.

One day Jr. came over to our house carrying a burlap sack, and inside was a wild kitten, one born in the woods. It had never been around people. Well, Dad said she was my problem and my cat. She was coal black and I named her Blackie. I fell in love with her right then.

Blackie grew up as an inside and outside cat. I let her in and mom and dad would let her out. She liked outside, she was a hunter by nature. I heard about her hunting small game from my Granddad, the hunter. He didn't like her killing the game.

Blackie had a couple litters over the years and I named them all. First came Blackie 1, then Blackie 2, and Blackie 3. Dad had enough of Blackies so the following litter was BlackieJr., and Jr.

I loved that old cat for many a year. Then one day while I was at school she went off to hunt. She didn't come home that night, and the next day she still hadn't come around. I cried until even Granddad went to look for Blackie, but she didn't come home for weeks. I thought my heart would break. Granddaddy said animals that got old often went off to die.

One day when I came home from school I found Blackie lying at the foot of the back steps. She was hurt bad and I screamed for Granddad to help.

Granddad said cats weren't like his hunting dog. They would live or die on their own. I worried over her so, I think granddad tried to help her when I wasn't around.

A year went by and the leg that had been caught in the trap had healed, but she never put her weight on it. I loved her even more than ever.

Blackie didn't have anymore kittens. Then one day she went off to hunt, and this time she didn't come back. No one ever said she wouldn't be back, but in time I knew I had seen the last of my wild cat. She had taught all her kittens how to cross the highway. She was a good mama and taught them how to hunt. When she knew it was time for dad to come home, she would get in his chair, but at no other time. Dad didn't think much of cats. Blackie was Barbara's cat, and Barbara belonged to Blackie, too.



By Brier (Brierhillbarbara@aol.com)





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