Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Excerpt from More Than a Job - about cats

He reached out his hands and pulled her to her feet. "Now let's go get those flowers in the ground."
"Okay. Let me get the trowel. Do you mind a little company while we work?" She didn't give him time to answer, but propped open the door to her room, then the screened in back porch, and picked up a hand trowel and some gloves. She called, made little kissing noises, and then said, "Here, kit, kit. Come on, babies."
A small cat edged out her bedroom, his black nose first, then a white paw. She scooped up Pepper from the hall and deposited him by the back door.
Sprite was not as cautious as her brother. She raced by Josh and dashed up a tree before Pepper had cleared the threshold.
Josh laughed, dropped to one knee, and held out his arms. Pepper approached him, stretched lazily, and then jumped into those outstretched arms and nudged Josh's chin. Josh's whole face shone with joy. Did guys like cats? What a revelation.
He nuzzled their faces and pulled Pepper's ears. "What are they, maybe eight weeks old?"
"We don't know for sure. They were deposited here by their mom after Grandma left and before I moved in. There were four in the litter. I told the neighbor who owns the mom that I'd keep these two."
Paige knelt and cut a few clumps of plants from the flat and set them along the edge of the bed where she'd decided they would go. "Here in the shade look okay?"
Josh released Dr. Pepper to follow his sister up the tree and knelt to help. "It looks great. So are the cats indoor or outdoor cats? Or both?"
"Both. I only let them all the way out with me, but they spend nice days on the screened in porch."
            "Where were they yesterday?"
            "I left them with my neighbor, Linda, so our work day wouldn't scare them to death." She leaned back on her heels. "Joshua, it is so weird. I've never owned cats before. They're another one of those gifts I was telling you about. I didn't know I would get attached so quickly."
"You're in for a treat. Won't be long before they're stalking each other and pouncing and chasing butterflies."
"They already chase each other. They're so much fun to watch." The two of them developed a rhythm to their work as they talked. Paige dug a hole, Josh put the plant in place, and together they patted dirt around it and moved on. By the time they finished, darkness had fallen. Josh helped her to her feet and put the flats into the recycling bin. The temperature had dropped with the sun and an autumn chill filled the air.
"Let's call the kitties in and get out of the cold."
"They come when you call?" He sounded skeptical.
"Oh, yeah." She unlatched the back door and held it open with one toe. "They love their food more than their freedom. Watch." She called, "Here, kit, kit, kit" and gave a plastic food container a few sharp shakes.
"I'm sure it's the sound of the food and not my voice," she admitted, "but hopefully they'll come when I call before long." Both kittens raced to their food dish, and she latched the door and poured food into their bowls.
She looked up to find Josh watching her intently. She grinned and caught his hand. "Come on in. We can leave them out here. I've been wanting to get you alone all day."

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