On how we came to bury the wrong cat

The time has come for me to tell you how we came to bury the wrong cat.

One weekday when I was 10 or so, my dad was taking me to school. We hadn’t gotten out of the driveway when a neighbor came up to the driver’s side window and said, basically, “I think your cat is dead on Reese Road.” (This is a fairly busy street near my childhood home.)

Of course I went nuts. The world seemed to stop then and there. Weren’t kitties supposed to live forever? My dad, meanwhile, reassured me and said all the right things. He then said we would have a proper burial.

After school, we found a shoebox and Daddy explained how you needed to put lime in it, and wrap it up all nice and tight, and then we walked to some nearby woods and dug a grave.

My dad led a little funeral service, the whole bit. (It’s probably how I ended up Episcopalian, come to think of it. Daddy marked EVERYTHING with ceremony.)

Next morning, we were all at the breakfast table. Our back door had a screen door covering it. The main door was ajar that day, so we could see out.

Lo and behold, Kitty showed up on the stoop!, healthy as ever. In my youth, I thought he’d somehow gotten out of the shoebox and had come back to life.

My dad laughed, I’m sure. He knew we buried the wrong one.

Lucky for us, Kitty rejoined our family and had many more years of accident-free living. Thanks be to God.


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