Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)
- TITLE: The Color of Love is Gray
By Janice Cartwright
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There were four siblings, all male toms like Gray and it wasn’t long before they were clambering over one another, blind as mice, seeking security in a warm meal at Susie’s underbelly. As their mother was stray, so were they all.
The cats lived in the shadow of a house belonging to a man that didn’t live there. Before they came, it was unclaimed territory. Soon after her kittens were born Susie moved them to a broken-down washing machine into which someone had dropped an old towel. She took them deep into its belly and the nest suited her. There she was able to nurse them and over the next few weeks eke out a living for her and the kittens.
Only because God has so wisely designed his creatures did the kittens grow and prosper in their poverty. But before long Susie was again laden in the family way.
Within the allotted time she gave birth and four more male toms came into the world. The day had passed to wean the first litter but Susie was too good-hearted to kick them out. When Louise, our new neighbor, an avid lover of cats found them, Mother Susie was nursing eight male tom kittens
Though it wasn’t easy, over time Louise managed to coax the wild tribe into trusting her. At home she created natural shelters for them, called them by name, and had them treated for parasites. When she could afford it she had a few spayed or neutered.
Though Gray was somewhat harum-scarum, Louise was patient and that patience would pay off. But first he was to fall in with a stray female named Jezebel and become too young a father.
Louise made a special place for the new kittens and each one was cute in its own way. In a few weeks they were staggering around and it seemed for a while that Gray’s love had been justified.
Soon enough though Jezebel began to live up to her name. She would nurse her babies and leave, spending the bulk of her time responding to the call of the wild. She stayed away for longer periods and one day she didn’t come home at all.
Louise went looking for Jezebel; Gray tagged along. He sensed something was awry and followed a few Jezebel trails of his own. But it seemed his Precious had found greener pastures. Gray and progeny had seen the last of her.
Now at his lowest point, Gray began to show the character fate and a Creator with a sense of humor had prepared in him. The kittens were old enough to eat dampened food, but they were wholly unschooled in cat wisdom. One day Gray had enough of their mischief.
What a strange sight greeted Louise’s eyes when she saw him with a subdued kitten tucked under one foreleg! No, he didn’t grasp it by the scruff as a mother cat would, but rather held it tightly around the neck with a forepaw, half dragging it, making his way on three good legs.
From that time forward Gray’s kittens were no longer orphans. In Gray they had both mother and father, a Mister Mom tom. Whenever one of them needed help backing down a tree, or strayed into the street, or was bullied by one of the other cats, it was Gray who disentangled it from its trouble. In short, Gray became the hero that inspired this story.
Now you may agree Gray is a hero, but why 'unsung?' It is because so few are willing to believe. But I do! In part, I believe because I have seen Louise in action and know she wouldn’t lie; but also because I have beheld Gray's kittens at play and seen with my own eyes the responsible adult cats he reared.
And I believe because I have held Gray up close and personal, nuzzled his head under my chin, and stroked his soft gray fur.
Gray, you are my unsung hero. The love you imbibed in your mother’s milk was the fluid of feline kindness. I love you, Gray.
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