Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cheering Up Kid

Kid was in a funk.  It was understandable, but nevertheless it was sad to watch her just lying around and staring into space.  She’d wracked her brains for every possible idea, had Emma check her email for ideas from their online friends, and even tried a little online research to see if there were any ideas out on the internet. 

The only thing she’d found that was of any interest was a bunch of stories about US Presidents who had formally pardoned turkeys presented to them by the National Turkey Federation.  Kid printed out the story and carefully carried it over to Bart’s and placed it on the ground outside of the gate to the turkey run.  Lemuel had reported back to her that Bart had roared with laughter when he saw it and said, “No pardon for these gobblers.  They’re destined for the church supper, and a fax tax write-off for me.”  He did carry the article back up to the house and Charlie reported that he and his wife had laughed about it before sticking it to the fridge with a magnet.

Val and her mom thought perhaps Kid didn’t like the food she was being given and gave her some very choice table scraps.  Kid appreciated them and snarfed them down, but food was just food.  It didn’t replace a friend. 

Buddy had gone so far as to lie next to Kid one night on Val’s bed and give her a good grooming.  He still chased her when he found her in the yard, but was extra kind to her in the house. 

Emma read her each email as she received it.  Even when there weren’t ideas on saving the turkeys, there were lots of kind words and a few cheering stories.  Kid and Emma did have a good laugh over Clem’s email.  Imagine writing to all those people asking them to pass laws forbidding the killing of turkeys!  Clem was such a kitten, and obviously had never spent any time either on a farm or talking to those who lived on farms.  The yarn lady was a nice person, but obviously not a farm girl.  After all, she didn’t even use wool for her knitting most of the time.  Kid did hope that they straightened out the misunderstanding before next week, though.  The yarn lady always went to her sister’s house in New Hamster for Thanksgiving, and it would be terrible if she couldn’t go just because Clem had sent some silly emails. 

Bella was sorry that Kid felt bad, but didn’t feel the need to do anything about it.  Ziggy, on the other hand was such an upbeat dog, that he knew he had to do something to cheer Kid up.  He thought about it, and decided that some worms might do the trick, so he went out to find a few.  Unfortunately, Ziggy had a bit of a worm addiction – when he found a worm he had a compulsion to paw it repeatedly and then roll around in the remains.  There was something about the smell of worms that took him over and the worm would be mushy pieces before he even noticed.  So, it was a good thing that it had rained recently and there were lots of worms around.  It took him six tries before he was able to get one into the house whole.  He proudly presented it to Kid, who looked up and thanked Ziggy kindly, but without a lot of enthusiasm.  “Aren’t you going to play with it, Kid?  Worms are sooo much fun!”  Ziggy bounced a bit as he said it, as he was beginning to feel the compulsion to roll in it himself.  Kid obliged by batting it around the living room for a few minutes, and then ate it daintily.  Worms weren’t anywhere near the top of her favorite food list, but she didn’t want to disappoint Ziggy.  She then went back to the couch and lay with her head on her paws, staring at the fireplace.

Bella pulled Ziggy aside.  “I don’t think that went over too well, Zig.  I think she was humoring you.  Cats aren’t as into worms as much as dogs are.  They like toys they can play with, stuff that can roll around.  Why don’t you see if you can find a sycamore ball in the back yard?” 

Ziggy ran back out and proceeded to search the yard for sycamore balls.  It was a bit early in the season for them to fall on their own, but there had been a bit of wind the other night, so there was a chance that some had fallen.  He started with the deck and moved to the back yard.  Not a single whole ball in sight.  There were a few that had fallen and been pulled apart by squirrels, but that was it.  He decided to root around in the ivy beds – they were right under the trees, so one might be hiding in there.  Ziggy found one in the last place he looked, but then again why would he keep looking if he’d found one.  He proudly brought it into the house, after chewing off its stem.  He thought it would be a much better toy if it didn’t have a stick attached that kept it from rolling. 

He dropped it on the floor near Kid, but instead of saying anything about it, he gave it a small kick and chased it as it rolled in front of the couch.  Kid’s ears perked up, but she didn’t move.  Next he batted it towards where Bella lay under the coffee table.  “Catch, Bella!”  He gave her a significant look as he said this.  She compliantly trotted out and stopped the ball with one paw.  She then tried to pick it up in her mouth.  “Ouch!!  This thing has pricklies!”  She gave it a furious swipe with one paw and it shot across the living room and down the hall. Ziggy ran after it, completely forgetting that the purpose of this was to entertain Kid.  He did a soccer dribble between his two front paws for a few feet and then whacked it into the living room.  It ricocheted off the entertainment center and came to rest in the center of the room.  Bella eyed the ball suspiciously.  That thing had hurt her mouth – would it do the same to her paws?  As she considered what to do, Kid leapt off the couch and sent the ball flying into the dining room.  Ziggy chased it and kicked it back towards her.  Relieved that she no longer needed to participate, Bella retreated under the coffee table to her soft bed. 

Ziggy and Kid kicked and chased the sycamore ball all over the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway.  After it had hit Val’s mostly closed bedroom door several times, it shot through the narrow opening into the bedroom, so Ziggy and Kid followed it in there.  Val was in the process of waking up, so when she heard the whack of the ball against her furniture and the running feet, she sat up and put her feet on the floor – her right foot landing square on the sycamore ball.  “Ouch!  What the heck is this?”  She pulled her foot back on the bed, examining it closely.  When there was no obvious damage she looked at the floor and saw Kid, Ziggy and a sycamore ball.  The two animals looked apologetic.  They sycamore ball did not.  Ziggy yelled, “Banzai!” and kicked the ball back towards the door.  Val watched the two run around the room chasing the ball and began to laugh. She’d never seen Ziggy and Kid play like this before. Emma and Kid, yes.  Ziggy and Bella, yes.  Finally she put her feet back on the floor, checking first to make sure it was clear and moving quickly across the room, grabbed the sycamore ball.  She ran out into the hall and scooted the ball into the living room.  Ziggy and Kid ran past her and Val followed, deciding it was time to make her morning coffee. 

She watched for a few minutes more until both Ziggy and Kid began to tire.  Eventually the sycamore ball came to rest under the buffet in the dining room and the two animals just sat and looked at it, their sides heaving.  After they’d rested for a few minutes Kid looked over at Ziggy and said, “Thanks Ziggy.  I know you’re trying to cheer me up, and I appreciate the effort.  The worm was so-so, but the sycamore ball was a great idea.  I really love you guys.”  She got up and nuzzled Ziggy’s face and thought how good it was to have true friends.   

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