Hello campbellsworld visitors and Kitty Cat Lovers everywhere.
This morning while rummaging round in folders looking for something to post I came upon this lovable story. You cannot know how it warmed my heart unless you read. So, without further conversation I shall share Jo’s tale.Just as the character in her book The Bright Side of Darkness cared about a kid with no future, so did Jo care about a kitty with a hard luck story. Make certain to keep reading after jo’s story to learn of her incredible book.
Thanks for stopping into campbellsworld and have a P U R R F E C T day!
I never thought I’d be a cat person. I’ve handled guide dogs for twenty-five years. I understand dogs; they live to please you. But cats? They’ve got minds of their own. If you happen to be pleased with what they’re doing, fine. If not, it’s your problem. Cats don’t seem to care much either way.
Our kitty first joined the family because I fell for a hard luck story, plain and simple. The cat wasn’t much more than a kitten, living comfortably with two little girls next door to a friend of mine, when the bottom dropped out of his world. The girls angered their father, and as punishment, he booted the cat out into the cold October street. The bewildered cat hung around his former home, and the girls and their mother fed him when they could, but the father refused to let him back in the house.
Then my friend found the girls prodding their poor kitty out from under her parked car with a plastic golf club, afraid he would be run over if the car moved while he was hiding beneath it. A discussion ensued between neighbors, and my friend offered to adopt the cat since she already had two others. The girls and their mother were glad their kitty would be off the street and wouldn’t end up in the local pound. That should have been the happy end of the story. But my friend’s cats had other ideas, particularly one of them, who began to pick on the young intruder.
That’s where I came in. My friend, well aware of my soft heart, told me the kitty’s woeful tale. I had no interest at first. I put my foot down firmly. No cats. I didn’t like cats. I didn’t want a cat. I had my dog. I had parakeets. My little girl was three years old at the time. I didn’t need to be responsible for any other living critters, thank you.
But I couldn’t put that poor cat and his sad story out of my mind. Who would take him? What would happen to him? He needed a loving home, a family where people would be kind to him. He’d been through who knew what on the street. How could a father just toss him out? What an awful experience for those little girls, let alone the kitty, who couldn’t understand anything about the situation. He’d gone hungry, been cold, maybe gotten chased by dogs, tougher street cats … and with winter right around the corner, too. So, after a few restless nights wondering what would become of the dratted kitty, I agreed to take him in on a trial basis, with one condition. He had to wear a collar with a bell. One too many times, cats in the homes of other people had sneaked up on me and landed in my lap out of nowhere, scaring me to death. I wasn’t about to put up with that in my own house.
My friend brought the cat over soon after, before I could change my mind. Along with the cat came his bell and collar, his litter box, his food and water dishes, a brush and nail clippers he still runs and yowls at the sight of, a few furry toy mice that creep me out because of how realistic they feel under bare feet, and a tub of catnip, which gives me a rash if I don’t wash immediately after handling it. My three-year- old, of course, fell in love with the scrawny gray tabby right away, not noticing that the poor thing was hardly more than skin and bones or that, after more than a month on the street, he was afraid of everything that moved.
“Come here, tat!” she commanded.
The cat zipped under her bed and curled up in the far corner behind a box of outgrown clothes, staring out at her
with wide eyes.
“Come here, tat!” she repeated.
“Honey, cats aren’t as bouncy as dogs,” I explained. “He’ll come out when he’s ready. You have to wait till he gets
used to you.”
My little girl plunked herself down on the floor, crossed her arms, and proceeded to wait. At least she didn’t crawl under the bed after the cat. I counted my blessings.
“What are you going to name your cat?” I asked her.
“Sam-I- Am,” my daughter said with confidence. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss was her favorite book at the time, so the name made perfect sense. Soon the cat responded to Sammy Boy, or Sam for short.
Bit by bit, Sam put on weight and cast off fear. He’s middle-aged now, plump and comfortable, playful and pampered and ready to be petted most of the time. When my daughter was little, she tried putting a leash on Sam once or twice. She figured out pretty quickly that cats don’t like leashes, so these days she uses a laser pen to give Sam his exercise instead. Sam has taught her some responsibility and made our home a lot more loving.
As for me, I’ve become a cat person in spite of my best efforts not to. I love cats—their soft fur, their quiet purring, the way they roll over playfully and wave their paws in the air and then bat at your waiting hands, the way they rub against your legs and meow when they want your attention, their subtlety in contrast to the bold exuberance of dogs.
Cats are sweet household companions. Sam has warmed my feet at night for the last seven years, settling down on my side of the queen-sized bed when all is still. He may be my daughter’s cat by day, but at night, he’s mine. We curl up in peace. It’s a nighttime comfort I’ve come to cherish. I know from experience that taking chances on strays sometimes works out and sometimes doesn’t. But Sam-I- Am was meant to add love and laughter to our home. The rough start he had to endure was simply the path that led him to our family.
More On Author Jo E. Pinto…
“The Bright Side of Darkness” Is an award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
About the author…
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness. Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her
favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog. The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
Rick Myers, an orphan without much faith in the future, and Daisy Bettencourt, a blind girl who is running from an alcoholic father and a set of overprotective foster parents, cross paths at a high school baseball game and make their way together. Daisy becomes the bright spot in Ricks universe as he and his four lifelong friends– Tim, Mark, and the twins– battle the forces of poverty and hopelessness. Marks grandma dies of heart failure, and Tims stepdad is arrested on felony child abuse charges, leaving them, like Rick and Daisy, with no authority figures in their lives. Rick and Daisy are trailed by a fat man in a battered green jeep who makes Rick more and more uneasy as the weeks pass. Then, just when Rick discovers an interest in the culinary field and decides to complete his education, the bottom drops out of his world.
Theres nothing a damn bit bright about sunshine when you’re seventeen and you see it from the wrong side of a jail cell window. It isn’t that I’m moping for my lost freedom or anything. I wouldn’t give a half a crap for my life anymore now that the crew is scattered to the four winds, and all I have left of Daisy is her parting note in the waistband of my jeans and a wilted dandelion dangling between my fingers. But it seems to me that the Man Upstairs could have marked my downfall with a terrific thunderstorm or at least a few nasty black clouds out of the west. When there’s a war or a funeral or some other sad thing going on in the movies, the sky usually turns dark and ugly, and the rain pours down in buckets. The longer I stare at the square of sunlight streaming through the tiny
window of my cell and stealing across the floor, the lonelier I feel. August 27, 1986, is slipping by the same as every other hot, heavy day, and I’m the only one in the world who knows that nothing will ever be all right again. It hasn’t always been this way. I ought to have known better than to believe I could reach out and snag a piece of paradise, but for a little while I had it on my fingertips. Breaks are hard to come by for kids from the projects, though, and sure enough, all I ended up with at the last second was empty hands. I’m doing my level best to hold off a flood of memories, but my mind keeps drifting back to the sweltering summer evening when the chain of events began that shattered my world into a zillion pieces. First thing tomorrow morning, some juvenile court judge will decide if my life is worth rebuilding. Maybe he’ll have better luck with my future than I did with my past.
If you would like to contact Author Jo E Pinto please feel free to e-mail:
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