WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour – Day 2

RWISA TOUR (1)

Karen Ingalls

Karen Ingalls

A FISHY DAY

It was one of those wonderful August days when the sun was high and warm in the sky. The big cumulus clouds slowly drifted by, creating designs that filled Jim’s imagination, who at nine years could see all kinds of amazing sights. He had been playing with his model airplane in his aunt and uncle’s yard, where he spent the summers on their ranch in San Diego, California. Staying with Uncle Leon and Aunt Helen was always a special time of adventure, fun and farm work.

“Jim, do you want to go to the pasture with me? We’ll check the water trough for the cattle,” Uncle Leon asked, at the same time he took his handkerchief and wiped some perspiration from his tan brow.

“Oh, yes,” Jim responded with great excitement. He ran to the front porch and put his treasured airplane on the table next to where Aunt Helen sat in her rocking chair.

Uncle Leon walked over to the Allis-Chalmers tractor and stretched his long, thin legs up and over onto the metal seat. “All right, Jim, you can come on up now.” Jim awkwardly managed to climb up and grab hold of his uncle’s hand, who swung him onto his lap. With the turn of the key the tractor began to vibrate and the engine roared. Shifting the gears into forward, Leon yelled, “Here we go!”

The pasture was a favorite place for Jim with its rolling hills, oak trees, and green grass. It was always a peaceful place where a boy could run until he was out of breath, and then fall onto the grass and let the wind gently blow over his panting body. Many were the times that Jim would spend his days, just climbing in the oak trees pretending he was hiding from some enemy, or shooting squirrels with his imaginary rifle.

He and his uncle drove through the pasture until they came to a large trough sitting by a water pump on the top of a knoll. The cattle were grazing some distance away, but their occasional moos could be heard.

Uncle Leon helped Jim off the tractor and then sauntered up to the trough. “Not much water left so we best get this filled up.”

Jim was leaning over the trough where the top of it just reached his chest. “What can I do? I want to help.”

“Well, now, how about you pump the water in once I get it primed,” replied Uncle Leon with his usual smiling face. He was happy that Jim wanted to help, but he also knew that pumping water would be a big job for such a young lad. Once he had the water flowing with each downward motion of the pump handle, he instructed, “Okay, young feller, it is your turn now.”

Jim eagerly grabbed the handle and standing on his tiptoes, pushed it down, smiling happily when the water gushed into the trough. He repeated the pumping for as long as he could, but all too quickly his arms and shoulders began to ache. Jim did not want to admit that he was getting tired, but his uncle knew and said, “How about if I do it for a while?”

Once the water neared the top, Jim leaned over cupping some water into his hands. “This is the best tasting water I’ve ever had,” Jim thought to himself. He slurped several handfuls into his dry mouth.

Looking over at his nephew, Leon asked with a twinkle in his eye, “Did you see that fish drop into the water from this here pump?”

“What fish?”

“Why, that fish that came right out of the pump into the trough. I thought sure you would have seen him while you were drinking the water.”

“No, sir. I didn’t see any fish.” Jim wiped his mouth with his shirt sleeve and earnestly looked in the water.

“Well, he must still be in there.” Uncle Leon leaned over the trough looking for the mysterious fish. “Now isn’t that something. I can’t see him anywhere.” He peeked a look at his nephew, who now had eyes as big as saucers. “I wonder if you accidentally swallowed that poor little fish while you were drinking all that water.”

Jim stepped back from the trough and began to rub his stomach. “I don’t think so, sir.” The minutes passed and Uncle Leon continued to wonder out loud what happened to the fish. Jim began to imagine that the fish was swimming in his stomach. “I don’t feel so good,” Jim said as he stretched down on the cool grass.

Seeing that his nephew was fearful and feeling sick, Uncle Leon laid down next to him and pointed up towards the clouds. “Jim, look at that cloud up there. See the little one next to the big puffy cloud?”

He waited until Jim nodded his head and said, “I think so.”

“It kind of looks like a fish, doesn’t it? I wonder if that is the fish that was in the trough.”

Jim looked at his uncle, then up at the clouds, and then back at his uncle who was smiling from ear to ear. Uncle Leon laughed and began to tickle Jim’s stomach. “Or, is that fish still here? Where is that fish?”

Jim laughed and joked right back while he patted his uncle’s stomach. “No, I think that fish is right here!”

Soon they both stopped laughing and just looked at one another. “I hope I don’t tease you too much,” Uncle Leon said.

“Oh no, Sir.” Jim looked at his uncle and went on to say, “I like to tease my younger brothers. Mother is always telling me not to do it too much. She doesn’t want them to cry.”

“Well, I would never want to make you cry.” Uncle Leon put his big hand on Jim’s head. “Do you know why?” Jim slowly shook his head back and forth not wanting his uncle to remove his hand. “I love you too much to ever make you cry for any reason.”

With tears in his eyes, Jim whispered, “I love you, too.”

They spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun, the warm breeze, and just being next to one another in the grass, watching the clouds drift by. It was a special day that Jim always remembered with a smile.

~~~

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Karen Ingall’s RWISA Author Page

Life is life…

lifeislife

My neighbor, Heike, and I had planned the night before to leave at noon for Costco about 60 miles away. The morning had been fraught with frustrations including spending over an hour on hold with Yahoo customer service. Two minutes before the appointed hour I hung up, hoping the issue was sufficiently solved as I grabbed my purse and headed across the street. I didn’t even want to think about what my blood pressure probably was.

Before we got to the main highway we were startled by what appeared to be a very large black cat crossing our country road about an hundred yards up ahead. This was not a domestic cat, it was substantially bigger. There are cougars in our area but they’re not black. It had disappeared into the brush by the time we got closer so didn’t get a chance to identify it but definitely wondered what it could be. We’ll probably never know.

We arrived without incident at our destination a little over an hour later where we each grabbed one of Costco’s massive shopping carts and proceeded inside. I think those carts are designed to make your purchase look relatively small, at least until you get to the checkout and see what that buggy full of goodies costs. Undoubtedly the store’s name derived from “cost cooperative” but “cost coercement” seems more appropriate. The store itself can best be described as humongous, Wal-Mart on steroids.

So after about an hour and a half of shopping, we arrived outside with our bounty, wallets substantially lighter, and headed past the huge ocean of shopping carts toward Heike’s car. When I say “ocean” I’m talking about approximately ten rows, each fifty feet or so long, of stacked king-sized shopping carts, bordered on the side by several flat pallet-sized ones like you see at Home Depot. You know, the ones designed to carry case lots or huge purchases like wide screen TVs.

As we walked past this metallic jungle what do we see but a kitten, standing by the outside row of carts and gazing out into the parking lot as if it intended to head in that direction. Those of you who know me are aware that I’m a cat lover. I have four ferals I care for, two Bengals I keep in the house plus my “grandkitty” who belongs to my daughter who’s staying here for a while. Heike has a total of eight, most of which are her own plus a neighbor’s cat who hangs out at her place and a recent new arrival. And a Chihuahua named Chica, who was waiting for us in the car.

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Needless to say, our hearts stopped when we saw this furry tragedy about to happen. Calling to the little fur ball at least temporarily deterred her foray into the parking lot, but then she hunkered down beneath the first row of flat carts. At least at this point we got a fairly good look at her, innocent green eyes peering up at us through a maze of metal.

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She was a beautiful little thing, mostly white long hair with a few random brown spots of various hues. Not surprisingly, we had 75 pounds of dry cat food between us, so it didn’t take long to put some of that out in a box one of the employees provided, informing us the kitten had arrived the day before. Obviously hungry, the kitten cautiously approached the box and started eating. I grabbed a new bath towel I’d just purchased, hoping to throw it over kitty and the box to catch her. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Heike took our purchases to her car and loaded them up, undoubtedly risking a hernia in the process, and while she was there allowed Chica to have a potty break.

animalhellNumerous shoppers saw the drama in progress, some trying to help (but didn’t), others voicing our own thoughts of what kind of a horrible person would drop off a kitten in such a hazardous place. There are numerous no-kill shelters in the area making this strategy for getting rid of an unwanted animal entirely unacceptable.

By the time I’d spent about an hour unsuccessfully trying to lure the little fur ball close enough to grab, Heike and I exchanged a forlorn look. At what point should we give up and abandon this precious little creature to what would undoubtedly be a horrific fate?

About that time a beautiful young woman arrived on the scene. Tall, athletic, nicely dressed in a white blouse and black slacks, a single heavy blond braid snaking down her back.

“What’s going on?” she asked, so we told her. “Oh,” she replied matter-of-factly. “I’ll get it.”

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Heike and I exchanged another look, part hope, part skepticism, as the girl threw her carkeys and wallet on the ground, got down on her belly and inched toward the kitten’s shopping cart sanctuary. The kitten moved back, deeper into the buggy maze, by now about three rows in. The girl got up and shoved them out of her way, row by row. Clearly nothing was going to stop her. Again she was down on the ground, reaching toward the elusive feline.

I snuck a peek at her driver’s license, her name obstructed but I could see she was 19 years old and a Leo based on her August birth date. As an astrologer, I smiled. Taking charge with total confidence and her graceful, athletic movements were true to her sign. The fact that Leo the Lion is also a feline, albeit a massive one, chimed in as well.

kittyhatIt didn’t take long before our young heroine stood up triumphantly, kitten in hand. She cuddled it to her bosom and joined us, allowing us finally to pet the little kitty who had caused such a stir. She looked like she was probably about three months old. It was November. The kitten was probably also a Leo. Coincidence? Of course not. There’s no such thing.

animalscharacterHeike asked her if she would keep it and she assured us she would, that their cat had recently disappeared and her mother would know what to do to take care of it. With heartfelt gratitude we praised her efforts and compassion then at long last headed home, knowing one discarded kitten would have a warm bed that night.

As we left the parking lot and turned onto the access road to the highway I saw the heart-wrenching remains of what was probably one of her siblings who would not be so lucky. I closed my eyes and didn’t mention it to Heike whose heart is more tender than mine. Yet I’ll be forever unable to forget it myself.

The question still lingers: How can people be so cruel? Is it any wonder the world is in the state it is?

greatnation