Friday, September 06, 2013

Junkyard Cat

Saved at the salvage yard

Our son had some trouble with his car, and his mechanic advised him that a used part would make the repair a lot cheaper. He couldn't take off time from his job, so I volunteered to get the part. I inquired by telephone at some salvage yards and finally found a compatible vehicle at Arrow Salvage at Nortonville, Kentucky.

"We don't take parts off cars without a deposit," the man on the phone told me. So I drove up there to make a down payment.

Nortonville is a small town in southern Hopkins County, about 45 miles from where I live in Christian County. Arrow Salvage is a few miles west of Nortonville on a small highway that winds through the hills to Dawson Springs.

I was a little worried about finding the salvage yard, but it had a huge sign painted on the side of an old semi trailer. Then I wasn't sure whether the sign really meant I should turn on the extremely wide road with a coal mine sign and a half-closed gate. But yes, that was the right road, and it led to the discontinued coal mine which is the site of Arrow Salvage.

Apparently when the coal mine ceased operation, the big crane and some other equipment were left in place. Arrow Salvage recycles cars, steel, aluminum, copper, and brass (according to their sign on the highway) so maybe they'll eventually pull down that machinery and recycle it.

Inside the little office, the boss was on the phone with someone who wanted parts for a car. A black and white kitten was playing around the legs of his desk. As I waited, my shoelaces caught the kitten's eye, and he attacked them vigorously. To divert his attention, I scooped him up and tried to pet him. He didn't have any patience for that, so I picked up a flyswatter and convinced him that he should play with it instead of my feet.

The boss finally terminated his phone call. "Sorry about that," he said. "Sometimes they have to tell you their life story." As he was writing the receipt for my deposit, I told him I liked his kitten.

"That cat!" he said, and told me its story. The kitten showed up on the steps of the office one day. Maybe someone gave him a little food. Anyway, the kitten decided that was his home, and he was there every day playing around the building.

Then one day, an elderly lady came to the salvage yard, and she tried to make friends with the kitten. He was feeling frisky, and he nipped her finger with his sharp little teeth, as kittens are prone to do. The lady bled a little, but the boss thought it was a minor injury. "You know how old folks bleed real easy," he told me, and I agreed that we do.

But the lady didn't take her injury so lightly. She went home and called the Health Department, and some workers drove out to the salvage yard to investigate. It made the man mad because the little kitten was innocent. He had only been playing, and he wasn't sick. They wanted to know if it was his cat. He told them, "No, but by gosh, it's going to be."

So the kitten went to the vet where it was observed for a period of time. At the end of its quarantine, the vet pronounced it healthy and gave it the vaccinations it needed, and the man paid the bill and brought his kitten back home to the salvage yard.

As I drove home, I pondered how the kitten had won the friendship of a busy man who runs a metal salvage business and doesn't take parts off cars without a deposit.

The next day, I drove back to the salvage yard to pick up the part. The sun was shining brightly, and the air was pleasantly cool. The boss and another worker had a pickup truck and trailer parked beside the office, and they were working on the truck. The kitten wasn't in the office when I paid the remaining balance for the part, so I asked about him. "He's out there in the trailer, and he's feeling real frisky this morning," the boss said.

"Feeling real frisky" meant that the kitten was climbing the slats of the trailer and reaching out to snag anything that came within range. I managed to get a couple of wild-eyed photos of him. They don't do him justice. He really is a beautiful little creature -- sleek and lithe and overflowing with the joy of life.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.