pumpkin
           
PUMPKIN

by Brenda Looney

"Trick or Treat." I opened the door and there stood three little
children dressed in spectacular colorful costumes. The wind was
blowing hard and it was definitely one of our colder Halloween
nights. I grabbed the candy bowl and allowed them to each pick
out one piece of candy. I noticed one of the children was holding a
kitten in her arms. I asked her what his name was. She said
that she had just got him from another house. The lady there had
dumped him in her bag when she commented on how cute he was. I reached
over and scratched his head and he looked up and purred at
me. The children left and ran to the next house and I closed the door
and sat down to wait for the next group of children to come begging
candy.

The hour was getting late so I decided to turn off my porch
light. I stepped outside for a moment and there was the little kitten
meowing loudly. I figured the kids had decided not to take
the cat home and had dumped him out. I felt sorry for the little thing
but I did not want a cat as I already had two poodles that I knew
would be upset at a cat coming into the household. I did set him
out a saucer of milk and some food and closed the door hoping he'd
go back home ..... wherever that was.

I awoke the next morning to a terrible thunderstorm. Lightning
was striking close to the house and lighting up the darkened
bedroom. Rain was coming down in torrents and the wind was blowing hard.
I got up and pulled on my old chenille robe and slippers and
padded out to the kitchen to make some coffee. I heard a cat outside
screeching for dear life. I opened up the front door and
there stood the little kitten scared half to death and sopping wet.
I scooped him up and tucked him inside my robe and brought him
into the house. I shut the door to the bedroom where my poodles
were still sleeping so they wouldn't know there was a cat in the
house. I got a towel and wrapped him up and fixed him a saucer of
warmed milk. By this time my son who was 3 was up and right there in
the kitchen with me. I told him that we need to take the kitten
in to the Humane Society so they can find him a home.

"Mommy, please don't call the 'society'! They will kill him.
Mommy please, please can we keep him?" I tried to explain that we
could not have a cat because our two dogs would hate it and they
would fight. Looking up at me with those big eyes full of tears
David said, "Please Mommy don't call the society. Please!" My heart
softened and I finally agreed that the kitten could live in
the garage but not in the house.

We made him a bed in the garage and put a litter box out there
and food dishes and water. David was thrilled to have this
wayward kitten and was constantly petting him and playing with him.
We had the two dogs before David was born so they bonded with me and
were more my pets than his. Pumpkin, as we named him after the
holiday he arrived, was David's very own pet.

The weather began to get really cold and one night I noticed
Pumpkin was crying out in the garage. I felt sorry for him
and agreed to let him now live in the basement. We moved his litter
pan and food downstairs and kept the door shut. The dogs knew that
he was down there and the constant barking was driving me nuts. I
finally decided to let Pumpkin out of the basement and let them
fight it out one way or the other. I left the house and several
hours later when I returned they were all getting along. They
weren't friends, but they were tolerant and respectful of
each other's space.

David couldn't have been happier that Pumpkin had now wormed
his way into the house and finally into his bed. At night I'd go to
check on my son who was sleeping and there stretched across
the foot of his bed was Pumpkin. They formed a close bond and
grew up together.

Pumpkin proved to be an asset to the household. He was a very
good hunter. Some birds had built a nest in our chimney and somehow
one by one the little birds flew out into our basement. Pumpkin
was on duty! It took two days but one by one Pumpkin caught all five
birds and gently held them in his mouth and brought them upstairs
directly to my husband. They were unharmed and my husband
turned them outside and they flew away. On more than one occasion
Pumpkin alerted us to a mouse in a narrow cupboard next to the sink
in the kitchen. He'd just lay there all hunkered down and we knew
then to set a trap and we always caught the mouse. Pumpkin was never
wrong.

Pumpkin was an excellent hunter. He constantly killed birds and
would proudly bring them to me and drop them at my feet. I'm
sure in Pumpkin's mind that was a great gift to me! My son would get
his little red wagon and put the garden shovel in it along with the
dead bird and he'd head up to the school yard and bury the
birds and have a little funeral. I love birds and hated that Pumpkin
would stalk and kill them so one day after Pumpkin had killed
5 birds I made him an indoor cat. He wasn't happy about that but
in time he adjusted to living inside the house.

One of Pumpkin's favorite holidays was Thanksgiving. I remember
one in particular. I was having the family over for dinner and had
decided to set the dining room table with all my best dishes
and in the center of the table I had placed our turkey platter. I was
busy cooking in the kitchen and had cleaned up and was proud of
myself for my organization at getting things done ahead of time. The
next morning I wouldn't have much to do before our guests arrived. I
turned out the kitchen lights and walked through the living
room and caught something out of the corner of my eye. I looked at
my beautifully set table and right in the middle on the turkey
platter Pumpkin was curled up sound asleep! What a funny picture. It
looked like we were having dead cat for dinner:) I scolded him and put
him down off the table but I was smiling. My precious Pumpkin
got lots of turkey leftovers the next day and contentedly curled
up and slept on David's bed.

The years flew by. The poodles each died a year apart and we
acquired another kitten named PJ. Pumpkin loved PJ and would
lick him all over giving him his morning bath. They would curl up
and nap together and became best friends. It's good that Pumpkin
had someone as David was busy with school, girlfriends, work and
hunting and fishing trips up north with his friends. Even
though he was busy David never forgot to pick Pumpkin up when he came in
and love on him and talk to him. Pumpkin would follow him all over
the house meowing for attention. I was his main caregiver who fed
Pumpkin and cleaned the litter pan and made sure he went to
the doctor when needed......but his heart belonged to David.

It is hard to believe Pumpkin will be 22 years old in June, 2002!
Sadly, he won't reach his birthday in time to celebrate. He's
been a good cat and until the last year, he's been very healthy.
He's been here for two decades of Christmases, birthdays, graduations,
births and deaths of other family members and pets. He's shared
our joys, fears, good times, bad times and tears. It is hard to say
good-bye. What will we do without him?

I thought it would be hard on Pumpkin when my son moved into
his own home last fall. They had been so close. I lavished lots
of extra attention on him so he wouldn't miss him too much and
David came by often to visit with him and share an Arby's roast beef
sandwich with him. Pumpkin was always happy to see David and
knew David would let him outside to roam around a bit in the yard.
I called my son today to tell him "It's time". Pumpkin has
refused all food for three days in spite of the array of goodies set
before him. He has lost so much weight and is nothing but skin and
bones. He has abandoned his window seat that he loved and has gone
into hiding behind a couch. It was time to help him on his journey
away from us and onto the Rainbow Bridge.

I owe Pumpkin a great deal. I thank God I listened to the tearful
cries of a little boy and decided to bring this lost kitten
into our home and into our hearts. Through caring for him my son has
learned to love unconditionally, have compassion, patience and
an understanding and appreciation of the creatures that God put
on this Earth for us. Pumpkin came into our lives in the arms of
a little boy and left our lives in the arms of his master, David,
who is now a grown man.

Go Pumpkin to the wild and wonderful fields that surround the
Rainbow Bridge. You have served us well and been a loyal companion
that we will miss so much. You will be forever in our hearts.

Pumpkin born June, 1980 - left this Earth April 21, 2002

Stairway To Heaven

If tears could build a stairway
and heartaches make a lane
We would climb the stairs to heaven
And bring you home again
But there is a bridge of memories
From here to heaven above
That keeps your memory close to us
Its called the bridge of love.
Remembering you is easy
We do it every day,
But missing you is heartache
That will never go away.
Author Unknown

               

Memories of an Abundant Life  * Family Ties  *  Flowers & Friends
Grandpas' Picture   * In Rememberance   *  Letter to My Father
The Time of My Life   *  My Father   *   To My Husband
Sweetheart Overseas   * My Dove   *   My Favorite Places
My Garden in Bloom   * My Animal Children   *  No More
                                       New Pages !!!
Christmas Gift  * Pumpkin  * Empty Nest  * Beyond Tears  * The Red Rose  * Annie's Story of Great Depression  *
Garden Pictures  * Coming Into Manhood  * I Love How You Love Me  *
Time To Give Thanks  * Autumn Memories  *  Sunset  *My First Mothers' Day  *
The Gift   *  Neighbors  *   Seasons of Life

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