When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually say “a little of this and “a little of that.” My formal title is “Business & Personal Consultant,” but that fancy title is just for my banker. It looks cute on business cards but it is pretty vague. What I really do is help my community in a variety of projects. It is something that my family has been doing for years and it makes an interesting career. Just to think that I got started in all this by getting a cat out of a tree.
I officially took over the job the day before my great-uncle turned ninety-five years old. That’s a pretty long time to hold down any job. Uncle June Bug owned several thriving businesses but what he loved the most was helping folks in his community. Recently, Uncle June Bug decided to devote his remaining “retirement years” to supporting his family as we expanded our own careers.
I was given the cell phone and I found a set of huge shoes to fill. Thankfully, my first assignment was a pretty easy one. I was asked to get a cat down from a tree, but it wasn’t just any cat. It was Mr. Wiggles.
The fire department would usually get Mr. Wiggles down but they were busy putting out a fire and the Sheriff was on the other side of town. I was barely got out of class when my cell phone vibrated on my hip. Yes, I was still in high school at the time.
I answered the phone and spoke with Mrs. Nelson and reassured her that I would head right over to help get her cat out of the tree. Everyone knew about Mr. Wiggles and the old magnolia tree. That cat seemed to have an unnatural attraction to that tree and after all this time, he should’ve known how to get down on his own.
By the time I arrived on the scene, a crowd had gathered, and to make matters worse, a teenage boy was up in the tree going from branch to branch, which Mr. Wiggles did not welcome at all. The cat meowed repeatedly and climbed even higher. It was too dangerous for anyone to get him down safely so Mr. Wiggles would have to try and get down on his own. I managed to get the boy out of the tree and disperse the crowd. Then, I knocked on Mrs. Nelson’s door and asked her to come outside and stand by the tree. Mr. Wiggles needed some encouragement.
As she stood guard, I jogged across the street to my mom’s restaurant.
“I guess Mr. Wiggles is at it again,” my mom joked as I walked inside. I set my backpack down and headed into the kitchen.
“Hey Mama,” I said, kissing her right cheek.
“Hey,” she replied, placing a scoop of ice cream on top of a slice of warm peach cobbler.
“Get some hash and use a chipped plate. There’s a bunch under the sink,” she said, heading to the dining area with the dessert.
I put some beef hash on a chipped plate and walked back across the street. I set the plate on the ground and noticed the crowd. They stood quietly across the street watching Mr. Wiggles and then watched the news van as it pulled up beside me.
“Oh dear,” Mrs. Nelson said in a whisper.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said, shaking my head.
A reporter approached us as the cameraman zoned in on Mr. Wiggles and the growing crowd. Mrs. Nelson spoke to the reporter and before she finished, Mr. Wiggles jumped from branch to branch and made his way down that old tree. He ate the food, licked the plate clean and went right over to Mrs. Nelson who picked him up and immediately stroked his thick fur. The cameraman caught everything on tape.
“Thank you for helping Mr. Wiggles!” Mrs. Nelson exclaimed.
“No problem, Mrs. Nelson,” I said, petting the cat. “Ok, Mr. Wiggles. Now, you stay out of that tree.”
Mr. Wiggles purred and meowed at me three times. If I could understand cat talk, I’m sure he was probably saying, “Thanks. See you next month. Bring bring some hash.”
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