Friday, March 2, 2012


When I came home from hot, steamy Vietnam, the Air Force sent us to New Hampshire. We chugged up there during January from Texas in our little 1967 VW Bug, innocently asking ourselves "What does that 'Frost Heaves' sign mean?" as I battled through a snowstorm. After we'd been there about five months Susan finally asked me if she would ever have warm bones again. Well, maybe not until we left, which was a long 11 months away. So I did the best I could do -- I got her Arlo, a little kitten.

Our neighbors found Arlo for us and said Arlo was definitely a Barn Cat. So? Little did I know. Here's what we learned about Barn Cats: They are mixed breed, usually a combination of whatever lived within a mile and came prowling around, they live mainly in barns and are therefore ferocious hunters. They are only a notch or two above wild or feral cats, the main difference being that they like being held and petted. On their terms. They like to be active - in hindsight, maybe sort of like a cat on speed.

The Air Force provided me with a very heavy all-wool coat to wear over my dress uniform (and a fox-lined coat to wear on the flight line). The picture below is sort of what it looked like, the main point here being the big buttons on the front. One day, not long after we got Arlo, I put my coat on and was walking through the living room to the front door. Arlo had been near the door, spotted the buttons on my coat and before we knew it, jumped up onto the back of the couch, launched himself through the air and splatted himself flat onto my chest, claws digging into the coat as he tried to capture the buttons.

OK, faithful Blog readers, now you are wondering what this has to do with the two pictures. They are of the very first ceramic piece I ever made, it's about 15" tall and weighs a ton. Susan proudly put it on a pedestal with pussywillow branches in it. As we stood admiring it, Arlo spotted it. A Barn Cat likes to climb up on anything it sees and those branches looked good to him so he took a flying leap at the branches. If you look closely at the second picture you can see the chip and the line where I glued the pieces back together.

We had Arlo for just a few years, he lived hard and died young. We should have named him James Dean.

P.S. It is not a good thing to sleep Commando if you have a Barn Cat wandering around.


Lori said...

I love the Story.

ArtPropelled said...

Lol .... a great story, Don.