There was a time, mostly at my mother’s insistence that we eat sitting around the kitchen table. This was all that she wanted, a proper family meal away from the distractions of the outside world and this was long before cell phones and the internet. And it was so until the advent of cable. There were other factors as well, Mom and Dad were both growing a bit older and getting progressively more tired with each passing week and even though there was cable in our little home town we didn’t actually subscribe until my junior year in high school which paralleled the level of exhaustion my parents were apparently feeling. So the family meal had moved from the kitchen table to the living room with out a peep of resistance from my mother. It is at this time when the odd story I am about to retell actually happened.
We would gather in the kitchen with plates in hand wandering with a strange order about the pots on the stove and the lonely kitchen table scooping food and finding silverware trying not to rush. Sometimes the starch was potatoes or corn or lima beans and sometimes it was bread. The bread was stored in the bottom drawer of the cupboard in which the great stainless steel sink was situated. The whole unit was added when we remodeled just after the purchase of the house, I don’t think I was ten and when I say we I mean we. My parents didn’t believe in hiring people to do work that we, including the kids, could do. So the cupboard we all knew very well. It was when brother number three fished the plastic bag of nickles bread from the bottom drawer, finding a couple of pieces for his plate and repositioned the bread in the drawer that the incident occurred. He closed the drawer but the drawer, you see didn’t stay closed. It instead slide open slowly as if pushed by some strange force.
Brother number three pushed the drawer closed with his finger tips two or three more times over the course of dishing more food unto his plate yet the drawer resisted. Then he tried with his toe a couple more times and still the drawer softly slid open.
This had never happen before. The drawer when closed stayed closed. I know I was watching, but I was so absorbed in the struggle between human and inanimate that I cannot say whether or not my mother, father of brother number two had seen any of it. Brother number three was becoming more frustrated and the struggle pitched upward in energy moving his emotional stated to outright anger. That was my family for you. When normal people would be frightening or loose interest and move on we became violent, just a touch. Finally he kicked the drawer and its response was to spring forward and outward with more energy than it had demonstrated to this point and a cat, Booger to be exact, slide out from behind the drawer like a snake out of its hole and out into the kitchen in something of a dazed panick.
Did I mention my Mother was a cat lover?
Dad, being Dad, and aware of my mother’s emotional state, grabbed Booger from the floor and held her clearer in his sight with both hands. My father stood somewhere between six four and six six so you can understand how high off the ground Booger was. She, Booger, was also dazed and confused and apparently a touch Acrophobic and she did what any disoriented and frantic cat would do and latched on to the nearest object which in this case happen to be my fathers nose. What proceeded belonged more in a three stooges short than it did in reality much less the family kitchen. Dad tried to push Booger off his nose by extending his arms to their full and considerable length but Booger would not let go. I could see that only one claw from each paw retained its hold, she would relax and allow herself to be stretched but she still clung to his nose as if her very life depended upon it. It went on like that, some strange surrealistic rendition of an accordion the only sound to be heard was the laughter of my mother and third brother.
In the end it took the combined efforts of myself and brother number two to disengage the cat from my father’s face.
Is there a moral to this story?
Well, don’t in anger or under any circumstance, slam a door or a drawer because you can never tell what or whom may be behind it.