Four-legged creatures

by | July 30, 2019 4:46 pm

by RONNIE JOHNSON

I can’t remember a time when our family didn’t have a four-legged creature. We are dog and cat lovers. If we somehow didn’t have a dog or cat for a short period of time, one would miraculously appear at our doorsteps. The thought never appeared that we couldn’t keep it because we told Mama it was God-sent. Now, who can go against divine providence?

My sister, Polly, always came up with the perfect name for our new pet. I remember a stray cat showed up once and ran into our open door before Polly could close it.

“Mama, look at those long legs,” Polly said. “I’m gonna name him ‘Daddy Longlegs.’” The name stuck. Believe me or not, that cat looked as if he was walking on stilts, the kind you see tall clowns walking on at the circus.

When Polly was younger, she would secretly ask her older sister’s boyfriend if he would bring her a puppy. He kept his eyes open on her behalf and would surprise her with a wide-eyed puppy that he had hidden under his winter jacket. She never let on that the puppy had come to our house by her request but rather by her older sister’s boyfriend’s surprise gift.

When she made up her mind that she was going to get a new kitten or puppy, she was fearless. One hot, Sunday afternoon when she was around 9- or 10-years-old, she and our dad went to Aunt Maxie Hall’s home outside of Twin City to get a glimpse of her new barn cats.

Polly asked Aunt Maxie if she could have one. “Honey, if you can catch one, you can.”

Daddy and Maxie went inside her house to visit for a while and cool off from the summer heat. Within 10 to 15 minutes, Polly blew the car horn wanting Daddy to come out. “Daddy, come on. Let’s go home, I caught one,” she said.

Aunt Maxie spoke up, in a shocked and surprised voice, “Honey, did you get one?” she asked.

Polly had put on thick winter gloves and sat quietly in the barn, watching the wild kittens play. She slowly cornered it with all her might as it scratched and hissed, trying repeatedly to get away. She named the kitten “Trouble,” and he was her fateful companion for 13 years.

Polly is now a senior citizen and still loves animals as much as she always has. We both lay claim now to our 5-year-old terrier named “Slick.” Strange as it seems, he was slick as an onion when he was born. Now, he is extremely fuzzy, but with his relentless desire to always get his way and come out on top, the name “Slick” stuck.

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