The Ballad of the Wormy Kittens.
This may be my greatest literary achievement of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen I give to you…..
The Ballad of the Wormy Kittens
By: Sondi Davis Justice
It was a late summer night. The Georgia air was thick and moist. The sliver of moon was hidden behind a cloud making the dark night, even darker. We rode along a lonely, curvy, country road in tired silence. The matching vacation bible school t-shirts on our backs were salty with sweat. Neither of us had said a word for miles. Suddenly, in a flash, we see wild eyes before us! What is it!? I slam on my breaks in panic, praying I have avoided catastrophe. My heart is racing as I turn the car around. The wild eyes?? What is it?? My shaky hands grip the steering wheel tightly as I ever so slowly and carefully creep down the road. When my squinting eyes finally see what I am searching for Alyson screams at the very same time….”MAMA!!!!! KITTENS!!!!” Sure enough. Kittens. Two of the tiniest, scrawniest, pitifulest, looking things you ever did see. Alyson’s big brown eyes shine in the dim interior light of the car as she says “Mama, Jesus sent us here at this very time to save these kittens.” Great. She just threw Jesus in it. Let me pause right here to tell you a little something about myself.
I am a people person. I love people. I’m not saying I don’t love animals. I have FOUR dogs that I adore. They are well groomed and live in my house. I love them. But everyone has their gifts, and mine are more with people. What I am trying to say is, when I see a stray cat or dog, I don’t feel compelled to pick it up. I feel compelled to throw up. Like, I get grossed out. You know the commercial for the ASPCA and Sarah Mclachlan is singing? Well every time I see that dog with one eye in that commercial, I feel sick and I can’t eat for two hours. Judge me as harshly as you feel necessary. Now, back to the story…..
“Mama, Jesus sent us here at this very time to save these kittens.” I’m looking at my daughter with a blank stare. I look at the wormy kittens. I look at my daughter. I look at the wormy kittens. I look at my daughter. Oh good grief. I turn on my hazard lights and open the car door. I command her to stay in the car. Alyson claps her hands in delight. In my mind I’m hoping that they are feral, and when I approach them they will miraculously gain the strength and stamina to run from me at such high speeds it will be impossible for me to catch them. Then we can go home and take a shower and forget this ever happened. No. The wormy kittens see me coming and run to me, as if they were saying, “Holy crap! Help us!” I reach down and pick up the first one. I can feel every bone in it’s body, and underneath it’s fuzzy fur, I can feel dozens of ticks. I swallow down a gag. As I start to pick up the second, it runs from me, down into the ditch and into the woods. Now what? Surprisingly, I find myself emotionally committed. Alyson is screaming directions out of the car window. The hazard lights blink and I can feel sweat rolling down between my boobs. The kitten in my right hand has now turned into the tasmanian devil and has the strength of an ox. As the sweat rolls, I cast my mind back to last summer. In the very spot of road I am standing, a car ran over a rattlesnake that was so big, we pulled over and took pictures. Am I seriously going to go into the woods in flip flops on a night black as pitch? More bossy directions are screamed from car. Into the woods I go.
From a curve ahead in the road, I see the shine of headlights. A whole new crop of terrifying worries enter my mind, producing more boob sweat. What if someone gets us out here? I watch the news and read Facebook. It’s horrifying. Sure enough the car pulls up and the window rolls down. This is it. How could I have ever been so irresponsible and put my daughter in this kind of danger? Only yesterday did I read the startling statistics of human trafficking. More boob sweat. Tasmanian devil is still ripping my right hand apart. The kind and sorta familiar face says, “Excuse me Ma’am, is everything ok?” For some reason I give a goofy laugh and my voice reaches an octave that only dogs can hear. My response, “Everything is just fine. I’m just an animal lover rescuing a little precious kitten.” The man looks at me and says, “Hey! Aren’t you Terry Sizemore’s step daughter? I go to church with him and your Mom! Good folks.” I close my eyes and thank the good Lord for my small town. Alyson’s voice booms from my car window, reminding me to stay focused on the mission. The friendly man says, “You sure you don’t need help?” I say, “No thanks. Are you sure you don’t need a kitten?”
Back to business. I go into the woods calling the frantic kitten in my crazy kitten voice that even I don’t recognize. I kneel down and hear the rustling of leaves coming toward me and hope it isn’t a rattlesnake. Sure enough, wormy comes. I scoop it up, feeling more bones and ticks. Gagging. Praying. Trying not to cuss in my vbs shirt. I have never been more relieved to get back into my car. As I hand Alyson the squirming wormies, I thank her for her shouts of encouragement and direction. She tells me I am welcome. I turn on the interior lights to get a better look. Twin calicos. Just then, Alyson screams….. “Oh my Lord! This one only has one eye!!!” Jesus take the wheel.
The rest of the short ride home is filled with cat scratches and giggles. The light of the garage reveals that the kittens are starving and completely covered in poop from their back legs down. They smell as good as they look. I watch my Alyson turn into Dr. Pol as she takes a no nonsense approach to vet medicine. I smile. I gag. I wash my hands.
I don’t know if there is a moral to my story. Perhaps if you read close enough, you will find a few. I think for the most part this is a documentation to tell how much I love my daughter and who she is. Today, with her help and Jesus’s, I’m going to bath two crappy, wormy kittens, put them back into my car, and allow them to attack me all the way to the vet, where I will spend my hard earned money to have them de-wormed and Lord knows what else. I wouldn’t do that for just anyone.