by byrd tetzlaff
Take what you like and leave the rest.
A certain friend (really! it was not my family!) was raised in a home where money was scarce. They could not afford movies and television held little allure for them. So to while away the time and afford a bit a of amusement for the parents, just for fun, they would torture the children.
This may seem a bit extreme, but bare with me.
This story has to do with a teenager who loved her cat. She played with him, taught him tricks, and slept with him at night. The two were very close.
But in the morning, the teenager would jump out of bed, rush around getting ready for school, then leave, pulling the door shut behind her so that her younger brothers and sisters could not invade her territory. This left the cat in her room for the remainder of the day until she got home from school.
Time and time again, the mother remonstrated her, telling her to leave the door open so that the cat could get to food, water and, most importantly, the litter box.
The teenager never listened.
One day, both the mother and father had a well-earned day of vacation at home while the kids were at school. To celebrate, they went to a local restaurant which featured an all-you-can-eat bar which actually figured out to less money than if they fixed the same foods at home.
Mother and Father sat eating, she with her favorite salad, he with his fried chicken livers in gravy, side order of biscuits.
They talked as they ate, she waving her fork, he munching and sopping up gravy with the biscuits. As they spoke, they noticed something which gave them an idea on how to torture their teenager. After all, they had neglected her for a while, it was her turn. So they settled up with the restaurant folks and went home happy, smiling at their planned devilment.
Upon reaching home, they went into the teenager's room and put out the cat. Then they took out the small container of chicken livers and gravy they had purchased from the restaurant.
Carefully, they placed three or four chicken livers just so on the teenager's pillows case. Then they artistically added a few well-placed drops of gravy for the final touch.
They backed out of the room, closed the door and waited for their daughter to come home.
The unsuspecting teenager returned.
Parents were angry-looking and unhappy. Lifted eyebrows, stern looks. "Well, it finally happened. I told you not to keep the door closed. Come see what the cat did in your room."
The teenager rushed down the hall and flung open the door.
There, sitting on her pillowcase in plain sight, was what looked suspiciously like a Cat's Business.
The teenager screamed and ran in, followed by Mother and Father, who were trying not to laugh.
The innocent cat, wondering what all the fuss was about, strolled in and lightly jumped up on the bed.
The cat sniffed. Something was very interesting. He walked slowly up to the front of the bed, ignoring yelling and cries of horror. He stretched out his neck and sniffed at the most intriguing lumps on top of the pillowcase.
He opened his mouth to take a bite.
Father, who saw what was about to happened, decided to forestall the event. "Hmmm, " he said, "These do look pretty tasty." And with that, he popped a chicken liver into his mouth.
We will now leave the screaming teenager, the mother collapsed on the floor with laughter and the smug father. They have their own relationships to work out.
I could not have survived in a household like that. I would have been permanently scarred for life.
But the friend who told the story is unusually well-balanced and even-keeled. She handles almost any situation with calm and intelligence. Perhaps that form of torturing children is not so very bad after all.
I shall think on that as I plan the Summer festivities for the children in my life.
So Be It