Happy TGIF (and happy Memorial Day Weekend, USA). Today’s chapter is about focus, determination, and the importance of awareness. Sometimes we can get lost in the little details of thing so much so that we wander away from the things that require our attention most. Like Oscar, some of us have an awesome friend who ‘watches our back’ and cries for help in our stead. Today’s chapter is dedicated to those beautiful souls in our life who offer us that unconditional, and wholly loving support.
Chapter 21—Lolly and the Tree-House
To thank Grandma Brown and Lolly for taking Bailey, Pops and his kids had a tree-house built for Lolly. It was the bestest hidey-hole a little girl could ask for. It was high-up, but not too high up to be scary or dangerous. It had a steps so Bailey and I could join Lolly, and much to Lolly’s delight, it had slide off the back which Lolly could use as a secret escape. For me, the tree-house had another feature: it offered me the perfect boost to help me climb to the top of the tree.
Right from the time school was out, Lolly, Bailey, and I spent every moment we could in that tree-house. Lolly would bring in books, toys, and snacks. Grandma Brown bought a couple of foam mats, and sleeping bags especially for Lolly’s tree-house. Bailey would go in there to snuggle up against Lolly while she read her books, and played with her toys. I too would go in there with my girl, and her pup, and like her pup, I would snooze the day away while my girl played. Those days were among the happiest of days. Sometimes my purr would get so loud I thought I might burst. I loved my girl, and I loved her pup.
Bailey, despite her smell and odd appetites, was pretty good company as far as pets fellow pets go. She was a veritable expert on birds, and smells. She, like Mitzie, seemed to love the whole-wide world without exception. She never minded being scolded, or even teased. Bailey never worried about whether Lolly loved me or her best—she just worried about whether or not Lolly was happy and safe. Bailey was so loyal to Lolly’s needs that she all but gave up trying to talk to the Butterfly Man. Being head pet in a pet community that had a dog like Bailey wasn’t as hard as I once thought it would be.
Bailey’s loyalty wasn’t just limited to Lolly. As far as Bailey was concerned, Grandma Brown and I were also part of her security detail. Bailey was especially adamant about guarding and watching over Grandma Brown whenever she cooked, or worked in her garden. True, there were certain perks a pet could enjoy while guarding Grandma Brown during these times, and Bailey never turned her nose up at even the smallest of perks. As for me, Bailey seemed committed to guarding and watching me as I climbed the tree-house tree. Every time I climbed atop the tree-house, Bailey would start barking, and would not stop until I was back on the ground.
I would bet the Butterfly Man was not amused by all the rigamarow involved with my tree climbing. Truly, Bailey’s bark was nothing short of a foghorn when she really set her mind to it. I have to admit, the barking was pretty distracting some days. Eventually I learned to tune Bailey out, and focus on nothing but climbing up and up on the tree. This kind of focus was no small trick, however, it also was not my wisest of talents. One day, despite Bailey’s frantic barking, I managed to get all the way to the top of the tree I was climbing, and I also managed to climb across on the branches to the tree next to our tree-house tree.
I was pretty proud of myself for a second. The view was so amazing that I swear I could see all the way to Santa’s workshop if I squinted hard enough. The smells and sounds a top a tree are intoxicating. The feeling of the breeze on my fur and the sun on my ears is nothing short of exhilarating. A cat who reaches the top of a tree is the king of the world after all—at least until he tries to get down. Of all the things I learned in my adventures, climbing down (gracefully) from the top of trees has not been among them.
Before long, I was howling, and yowling right along with Bailey. It was a hot and sunny day, and since I was atop a tree, I had no shade to benefit from. Before long, my throat was dry and the tips of my ears began to feel as if they were being fried. I cried for my girl (who was playing at a friend’s house for the day), I cried for Grandma Brown, and I cried because my ear-tips hurt terribly. Thanks to Bailey’s symphonic yowl, Grandma Brown dropped her strawberry bucket and came running.
At first, Grandma Brown did not understand what exactly was causing Bailey’s distress. I could hear Grandma Brown calling me, and thumping around the tree-house. Her voice hadn’t sounded like that since that time my Lolly was so sick with her tonsils. Finally, Grandma Brown heard my cries. When she looked up she just about fell backwards. “Oh by Jeeves you silly orange boy!! How did you find your way up there?” Grandma Brown tried her tallest ladder and her best spam-tuna combo, but there was no reaching me. Finally, Grandma Brown left Bailey with what was supposed to be my spam-tuna snack, and went inside the house to call the fire department.
From where I was sitting, I could see and hear them coming. The lights were flashing, and the sirens howled louder than Bailey ever could. Though, in all fairness to Bailey, that really didn’t stop her from trying. For a moment, I forgot about my predicament and just watched Bailey. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn Bailey was trying to sing along with the fire truck sirens. Once the fire truck pulled into the yard I remembered that I was scared—really scared. I began to fluff up to an embarrassing size. Later, the fireman said that it was helpful as my fluffiness made it easier for them to grab on to me.