My little brother’s cat had four toes on one paw, six on the other. We called him Toes. It was raining cats and dogs when my oldest brother jumped into his Jeep, pulled away, ran over Toes’ head, kept on going. My little brother looked out the window and saw a bloody Toes running in circles. He let out a scream. My older brother and I ran to investigate. Toes head was shaped like a triangle. There was lots of blood. An eye was popping out. Toes never ran but was now running full speed in circles. Dave commanded, “Get the gun.” This meant I had to go into my parents’ closet and grab the .22 rifle we were forbidden to touch. I also had to go back three times to grab bullets as my brother kept missing. The third shot hit right in the brain. The poor pussycat started jumping two feet in the air and wouldn’t stop. “Get the shovel,” my brother yelled. A strong whack in the head finally did the trick. My little brother was traumatized for hours. We all were.
My mother grew up in New York City never learning how to drive a car before she left. When she moved to Frederick, MD for college, she fell in love with the country life. She loved gardening and flowers. Her gardens were quite unorganized and messy compared with my father’s orderly rows of onions and cantaloupe.
When the daffodils came in, she would send my niece off with scissors and a grocery bag to gather them from the neighbor’s lane. I remember walking in the kitchen and the table covered with mounds of daffodils. My mother would put vases of these flowers all over the house. She was as reliable as crocuses in the spring.
Santa is coming. I hope he brings me a new car for Christmas. The check engine light has been on in my car for a few years. It is German-made, too complicated to fix, or maybe I’m projecting. My dog, Louie the fourteenth, is my main passenger, which is why my swanky dash is covered with dog hair. We travel country roads every day and when he sees a cow, he barks and licks his lips. When we get to the park he jumps from back seat to front seat eager to get out and walk and have a dooky. If someone is watching I just keep pulling him forward while he is going because I’m not picking it up. What’s one dog turd going to hurt when there is duck poop everywhere? The sun is out, the sky is blue, we are on our walk, it’s a good day.