Thursday, January 28, 2010


I've been wishing today that I still had my old Wham-O slingshot. I'd been the only girl in a ten-block radius who didn't mind getting into the mud, up trees, into gunfights with our Roy Rogers cap pistols (though I DID hope sometimes to be a WhiteHat instead of the drygulchin' owlhoot).
With the new dog we've acquired came a new dynamic to the house---barking and growling at the cats strolling through the yard. And keeping the wooden door open on these sunny days is one of my "glads" for this new year, for always before, January has been a dark, dismal month downstairs, and having that blast of daylight and sunshine down the stairs has made a great difference in my outlook.

But the Cats---oh, the cats. They've pretty much had free run of the place, the one who has lived in the potting shed and the ones who live in the house next door, but are out roaming through the yards surrounding. And FuzzyPup just will not stand for it. He would tear them limb from limb if ever he could catch one---just let him out there. And so, he growls and barks at the back door, and I can track his route from there clumpclumpclump through the kitchen overhead, into the far corner of the living room to the low windows, where he nudges beneath the curtain and repeats his threats to whichever one is sauntering past.

The big ole black one-eyed Tom we call "Wink"---we've never known his name---seems to be the worst of the lot. He comes onto the back sidewalk, in full view of the door. He sits, leisurely licking a paw, flipping his head disdainfully and taking his sweet time with his bath. He turns that one emerald eye toward our pup, giving him one of those lorgnette looks of appraisal and scorn, and resumes his task.

And Fuzzy goes into a frenzy---his bark is so cute, rather like a growly version of a cat's purr---a little hummygrowl with tiny vocal cords like a bee in a jug. But it gets old, especially when our Girl is having a nap, one room away from the door and the ruckus.

Wink simply meanders off in that way cats have, tail aloft as he sways away, and a clear insult in the flaunt of his hiney---throwing down the gauntlet, sneering out a dare.

And I think somedays, when our Sweetpea is resting so peacefully for a couple of hours (and so am I, if I'm lucky) that I'd get a couple of nice rocks and see if my aim is still the best in the neighborhood---just a gentle smack in those sturdy haunches to send him on his way. I can feel the heft of that old wooden slingshot right now, with my sweaty fingers clasped around, old black slice of inner-tube stretched to its limit, scent of oily rubber and the grubby leather of the pocket around the rock.

I can feel the aim-and-let-fly, the satisfying sound of the projectile connecting clunk with the haybale, a tree-trunk, the side of the storehouse, back on the back side where the charcoal-drawn target had to be re-traced every time it rained. I have never aimed at nor hit a living target, though some of my compadres who did were in grave danger of my forgetting myself and letting them have it with all the ire of my unerring aim.

But some days, when the house is warm and the sunlight streaming in, the little one slumbering and my hands in the sudsy warmth of a leisurely kitchen task, just getting to a good part in my book I'm listening to---when that cat invades and sits down for a spell, and the dog goes crazy with noise, I wish like blazes for just one more moment with my worn, familiar Wham-O in my hands.


Tonja said...

Your post brings back memories of long ago days playing with all the boys in my neighborhood. We didn't have slingshots, but we had cap guns. And, I can still smell the faint scent of the cap as it popped against the trigger of the gun. Isn't it funny how the smells we experienced long ago are still present in our brain. And, it's all tied up in memory.
And, I bet you were a sure shot with that sling shot!

Southern Lady said...

I loved this story, Rachel, and can just picture that cat sitting there preening and teasing your little FuzzyPup.

Like Tonja, we had cap guns, too, and I know exactly what she means about that smell.

How nice to start my day by conjuring up sweet memories of my childhood ... thanks to you and Tonja.

Hope your weekend is filled with sunshine and smiles, like you bring us every day.

Kouign Aman said...

nail the dog, not the cats!
We have a blowdart that uses puff balls instead of something harder - keeps the damage around here to a minimum. We also have groundsquirrels. I may need to get me a whammo!