I,not my husband, own a 1959 red Ford truck. I named her Sally. Some of the red is the actual manufacturer's paint on her body and rust makes up the rest. I've mentioned before she's quite difficult to drive mostly because the brakes have never quite worked and a tire is always going flat. There is no inner tube in the tire and one has to fervently pray filling it with air. One must plead with the Almighty that the tire won't explode and kill the poor soul watching it expand to it's drivable round shape. While we've had both the brakes and tire have been repaired, no permanent fix has taken hold. I love the romantic country way the Sally looks, but she's not a practical vehicle since she's rarely ready to roll.
The tow truck pulled up today to drag my old girl away to the garage again. The driver asked a question which caused to me to laugh out loud. We'll keep that question a secret till the end of this post.
This particular tow truck driver must be assigned to our house specifically. The same large tattooed man has lumbered to our farm several times for Sally and other times for another vehicle in need of repair. One can distinguish the big black towing monster's rumble as it winds up our long gravel driveway.
Last year when Sally was towed away for repair at Carter's Garage in Sweetwater, TN, I got a phone call.
Mr. C: "You missin' a cat?"
Me: "Pardon me?"
Mr. C.: "You missin' a cat. When me and the tow truck driver done opened the truck's hood, a big ole'cat jumped outta the engine."
Me: "There were some wild cats living under the shed where the truck stays parked. Maybe one of them jumped in there and took a ride to your garage."
Mr. C.: "It was wild. Cain't catch it."
Me: "Don't worry about it Mr. Carter. I'm glad that wild cat's gone then. Thanks."
I hung up and casually went about my daily business. I began a reading lesson with Wise One and I spied Janet, our pesky cat, out of the corner of my eye. Noticing her gave me cause to poke around and find our other cat, Patches. Patches is Peace's best friend in the world. After I searched inside and out I asked the children, "Have you seen Patches anywhere? Help me find him." After a while of looking, the color began to drain from my face with the sad realization that Patches may have taken a long free ride from home.
I phoned Mr. Carter.
Me: "Mr. Carter, what color was the cat which jumped out of the truck?"
Mr. C.: "White with brown patches like."
Me: (trying to keep panic out of my voice) "The wild cat was grey and black. The white and brown one you saw is a family pet, my son's cat. He loves that guy more than anything in this world. Can you try and catch him again? I'll be right there to pick him up."
Mr. C.: "I done tried and hit won't come nigh."
I dashed around the house scooping up children, shoes, jackets, and began shouting orders,
"EVERYONE in the van now. We have to go look for something really important."
Tator asks as we clamber into the van, "What is it mom?"
I mustered a happy mommy voice to say, "Don't worry now. We will find what we are looking for. It seems Patches got in the hood of the red truck and hitched a ride to see Mr. Carter at the garage."
"Dear God, pllleeeaasssee let Patches be okay." Peace cried out in terror. He caught the seriousness of the situation immediately. He knew Mr. Carter's Garage sits on a terribly busy highway, and his best friend was horribly lost and in danger.
The children literally prayed for safe keeping for the cat, and we all tried to comfort Peace's broken heart on the fifteen minute drive.
When we arrived, Mr. C. Pointed yonder and told us, "I ain't seen that cat nowheres since hit jumped and tore off thataway."
The children and I called his name, "Patches, Patches, kiiiittttyyy. Come, here boy. Paaaatccchhhes" as we hoofed the surrounding neighborhood in the direction Mr. C. indicated. We went to dozens of peoples houses and knocked. We talked with anyone who would answer the door. We pleaded our "cat finding case" and left our phone numbers for anyone who would take it. After an hour of traipsing about Sweetwater, I announced, "We will not give up until we find him, but we're going to drive around instead of walk for a while."
As my bunch headed back to Carter's parking lot/junkyard to our van, Pooh Bear, who was three years old at the time giggles, "There he is." We all turned our bodies to locate what on earth she saw, and there, lo and behold, the wayward cat proudly emerged from under the wrecked heap of a torn up car. Peace ran to scoop up Patches while sobbing with relief. "I was so worried about you. Please don't you ever leave me again." He buried his tears into Patches fur. Mr. C. Stepped out of his office overhearing the commotion and spoke, "Son, you don't have to cry. He looks like he ain't hurt or nothin'. Gracious, such a fuss over a feline."
Patches, who doesn't enjoy car rides, mewed nervously the whole ride home. My clan returned home with hearts and cats intact. In fact, our hearts expressed thanks for answered prayer about a prodigal stowaway.
This is why the tow truck driver's knowing question about the old red truck today produced laughter from me.
"Got any cats in there?"
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