By Pettus Read
It was a bright morning when I pulled in the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie’s farm. In the brightest of sunshine, I could see Uncle Sid sitting in the swing on their front porch. As I parked my car beneath one of the huge maple trees near the house, I could see him waving me in and Aunt Sadie coming out the gingerbread trimmed screen door, wiping her hands on her apron.
However, this day I noticed something very different I had never seen on their porch. Laying all curled up in a ball in one of the rocking chairs was a half-grown yellow kitten.
Uncle Sid has not been one to appreciate a cat around the place. A good shepherd dog or bird dog he feels is a necessity for having the most perfect place in the country, but a cat has not been an animal you would see anywhere near Uncle Sid.
Looking over at the cat and trying my best to control my curiosity, I said to Uncle Sid, “See you have a cat these days.”
Uncle Sid just puffed on his pipe and replied, “That’s Sadie’s cat.”
Seeing my confusion he went on to explain his cat ownership: “Your Aunt Sadie’s been wanting a cat, and after I heard a story the other day about a preacher and a cat, I finally broke down and got her one.”
Of course, I had to hear the cat story, which Uncle Sid was also dying to tell. “Now,” he began, “I heard this from a preacher, who heard it from a preacher in East Tennessee, and it is suppose to be true, but you know how these preachers can spin a yarn at times.”
With a willing audience, Uncle Sid continued. “This preacher had a kitten that had climbed up a sapling poplar tree in his yard and was afraid to come down. The preacher tried everything, but the cat just wouldn’t budge. The tree was not strong enough for the preacher to climb, so he decided that if he tied a rope to his car and pulled it until the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the silly cat.”
“So, that’s what he did. But, the rope was sort of rotten and it broke. That tree shot straight up and that cat went clean out of sight. Of course, the preacher felt terrible. He looked everywhere for it, but couldn’t find it,” Uncle Sid said with somewhat of a pout on his face.
“A few days later he saw one of the good sisters from his church in the grocery store with a cart load of cat food. He knew she didn’t really like cats, somewhat like me, and asked her what gave with all the cat food she had,” Uncle Sid continued, now having me completely listening to every word.
“She told him that the strangest thing had happened. She said her daughter had always wanted a cat and to get her to stop asking for one, she told her to go outside and pray for one. Sure enough the child did just that, and as the lady stood in her kitchen watching the little girl down on her knees praying for a cat, a kitten fell right out of the sky right in front of her.
“That lady told the preacher there was no way that cat would ever be given away and had a home with them forever,” he said with a laugh. “And, you know? That story made me sort of soften up and get Sadie a cat too. You do know He works in mysterious ways.”
Yes, I do, Uncle Sid. He sure does.