Ever since Peep had come to live with the Daddy she had been confused about something. He talked a lot about the ham equipment that he kept in the special room in the garage, but no matter how many times Peep went in there, she could never find the ham. He kept the door closed and it wasn’t the type of door she could open, so she had to wait until he was going in, so she hadn’t been able to get in there all by herself to really investigate. Sometimes she’d hang around the door after he’d said to the Mommy that he was going to go talk on his ham radio and then she’d sneak in when he opened the door. She’d prowl around and carefully sniff the air, but there was no sign of ham, either fresh or canned.
Peep loved ham. It was her second favorite food, bacon being the first. Canned ham, fresh ham, ham cold cuts, ham steaks, it didn’t matter. They were all delicious. When Mommy or Daddy put ham in front of her, she just couldn’t resist eating it as quickly as she could. She didn’t talk to it or on it, and didn’t understand how the Daddy did it. Last weekend they’d had ham for dinner, and Peep had watched them carefully, and not just because she thought she might get a smackeral for herself. She wanted to see how Daddy talked on the ham. He didn’t. He ate it, although he did talk to the Mommy while he was eating. But he talked to the Mommy lots of times when he wasn’t eating ham, so that didn’t make any sense either.
This weekend Daddy was talking about going to a hamfest. Now that was something Peep could get into. She bet there’d be canned hams, fresh hams, barbequed hams, baked ham with pineapple, ham sandwiches – a cat’s delight. She wished Daddy would take her, so that she could eat all the hams too. It was selfish for him to go by himself!
So, Peep decided on a plan. Daddy said he’d be leaving early in the morning. Peep waited until he’d gone to bed and checked out his truck to see if he’d left a window open. He did that so that LT could sleep on the seat where it was comfy. She was in luck – the driver’s side window was open all the way. She leapt through it and started looking for somewhere to hide that Daddy wouldn’t find her. There was a narrow spot behind the seat she could sneak into where he wouldn’t be able to see her, and it looked comfortable enough for sleeping. She settled in and quickly fell asleep.
Early in the morning, Peep was awakened by the slam of the truck door. She had a minute of panic, wondering why in the world she wanted to go anywhere, but steeled her resolve with the thought of the hundreds of hams Daddy had said would be at the hamfest. They drove for a little over half an hour, and then she felt the truck turn off the road onto a dirt surface. They bumped along for a minute or two and then she heard Daddy turn off the truck.
She’d wondered all the way over whether she should try to jump out of the truck as soon as Daddy stopped it, or if she should wait until he left and hope there was a window open. Daddy liked to have fresh air in his truck, so she figured one might be left open enough for her to squeeze out. She decided at the last minute to wait, fearing that Daddy might just turn around and take her home and then be angry with her.
A few minutes after he’d left the truck Peep eased out of her hiding place and climbed on the seat, putting her front paws on the door so she could see out the window. Luckily the Daddy had parked right on the edge of a row of booths where humans milled around talking to each other. There were lots of those machines that Daddy had out in the radio room, but she couldn’t see any hams. She couldn’t smell any either, even though the window was open a full three inches.
Peep sat and watched the people for a good fifteen minutes before frustration got the best of her. By golly, if there were hams to be had, she was going to find them! She balanced her rear paws on the steering wheel and squirmed through the open window. She fell to the ground, landing awkwardly on all four paws. Looking around to see if anyone had noticed, she quickly ran to the tables. She made her way down the row, walking under the tables. The humans were discussing things like transceivers, impedance and RFI, but not ham. She just couldn’t understand it.
As Peep came to the end of the row of tables she caught of whiff of something tasty. It didn’t smell quite like ham, but it certainly was food. She peered out from between two boxes and saw a booth with an awning proclaiming gyros, kielbasa and cheesesteaks. Not ham. She wasn’t sure that kielbasa didn’t have some ham-like stuff in it, but she’d eaten kielbasa and she’d eaten ham, and they were quite different. Still, food was food, and she’d missed breakfast this morning. She eased out from under the table and headed for the gyro stand. She thought that if she sat just behind the cooks and looked cute they’d probably feed her something. Her stomach grumbled and Peep hoped they’d notice her quickly.
As she was about to make her way around the back of the stand, she was snatched off the ground. She fought until she heard the Daddy’s voice say, “Peep, is that you? What the heck are you doing here?” She stopped fighting immediately as she didn’t want to hurt him. “Well, I was pretty much done here anyway – I don’t need anything they’re selling and it looks like it’s going to rain any second. Let’s go home.” He took her to the truck and deposited her on the passenger seat. He looked at her for a long moment, musing to himself that he hoped this really was the Peep, as he wouldn’t want to kidnap someone else’s cat.
When they arrived home, Peep streaked out of the car and headed straight for the kitchen. The Daddy laughed, deciding that it was definitely Peep, since she knew where the food was. When he entered the kitchen, Peep’s face was deep in the squishy food dish. He told the Mommy of Peep’s hamfest adventure, and Mommy said, “Well, you know how much Peep likes ham. She probably thought you were talking about the kind of ham you eat and not a type of amateur radio. She went to get some ham for herself!” Mommy and Daddy both laughed, and Daddy said that he figured Peep had just fallen asleep in the truck, and that he doubted that she was smart enough to have stowed away in hopes of a ham lunch.
Peep thought to herself that yes, she’d been smart enough to stow away in hopes of that ham lunch, but not smart enough to know that there weren’t any edible hams involved. She slunk into the bedroom and climbed onto the new pillow Mommy had bought her yesterday. As she started to drift off to sleep she heard Daddy talking about a sweepstakes. Good, thought Peep. I do like a good cut of beef….
Photo courtesy of Kevin Saky - http://www.nivek.com/kc2kfc/newhamkit.htm