This week we Debs are supposed to regale you with funny family stories.
This has turned out to be a surprisingly difficult task. I know there are lots of funny stories in my family, because I distinctly remember sitting around re-telling them and laughing our heads off while doing so. But when it came to the part about blogging, I ran into a problem. Most of the stories that come to mind a) are only in funny in family context – ie., you really had to be there, or b) they would embarrass somebody in the family if I shared them, or c) they really aren’t fit to tell in mixed company.
In my mind, a good funny family story should be something like this:
But as nothing remotely approaching the hilarity of A Christmas Story comes to mind, I shall tell you about Irving the cat and my mother.
It is important to understand that my brother, my Dad, and I were cat lovers. My mom, not so much. She tolerated the procession of pet cats who lived in our house over the years, but would have much preferred that they live in the barn. The idea of a warm purry critter in her lap while she read a book or watched TV? Not for her.
Irving sensed her opinion of cats. In typical contrary cat fashion, he selected her as his particular victim. He would wait around the house for her, hiding behind stair railings or chairs. When she walked by he’d shoot out a paw to snag her nylons, then run hell bent for leather to a place of safety. The running was important on his part, because there were episodes where she chased him with a slipper or a broom.
But this was not his only trick, oh no. Irving was a master of his craft and knew well the value of variety. He would wait until she sat down in a comfortable place where it appeared she would stay for awhile. When she was settled, he would curl up beside her, ignoring her suggestions that he move elsewhere. A few moments later, he would put a tentative foot on her lap, purring in his most charming and non-threatening manner. She’d push him away. He would persist, repeatedly, until she gave up and tolerated the foot. The second foot followed. Inroads were made in this manner until Irving had insinuated his entire body not only into her lap but onto her chest. For a few disarming minutes he would lie there, purring, biding his time. At the perfect moment (known only to him) he would bite her on the neck and run away.
Yes, people – this happened not once, but repeatedly. My brother and I would watch the process with repressed glee, knowing full well what the outcome would be. (And yes, we were evil children for not intervening.) How did my mother – a woman of great determination and strength of will – allow this scenario to repeat itself?
I can only say that I believe firmly in the Power of the Cat, of which Irving was a master.