Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Yard Sale: Jimmy Causes Big Panic

Today was the day of the big Kracker yard sale. I was skeptical. It had done nothing but rain for several days straight. Today's forecast predicted more rain. Still, the female members of the family were determined to go through with it, so it happened and even the weather cooperated. In my state of recovery there was really nothing that I could do to help. 

And I look so hideous wearing my way-too-large shirt so that it will drape over my sling, my hair perpetually unkempt and my beard long overdue for a trim, that I feared I would scare customers away. So I spent very little time at the yard sale. Royce, however, pitched in to do his part, to remind customers that it will soon snow and that they should prepare right now. They should buy our old skis.

I had to at least get a couple of yard-sale pictures. I happened to come out when a pretty lady that I recognized as a waitress from La Fiesta was looking at a T-shirt: a T-shirt with a picture of a cat on the front.

Lots of little cat knick knacks were on the sales block. That's how it was when Tryskuit and Nabysko were growing up - we were all forever buying each other cat knick knack gifts. I hate to sell any of them, but the Kracker house is bursting with knick knacks.

As for the piggy bank, when I was a very small boy living in Pendleton, Oregon, I once accompanied my mom on a shopping trip downtown. There, I saw a little piggy bank that I begged her to buy for me. It was red, made of plastic, and it wore a little red hat.

Being of a frugal nature, Mom was all for saving, but was not in favor of wasting money for something so frivolous as a piggy bank to save in. One could convert an empty round box of Morton salt into a bank that worked every bit as good and cost nothing, so she refused to buy the piggy bank for me. After I had grown up, married, and had children, I suddenly entered a phase when I had to buy piggy banks. I bought all kinds of piggy banks.

This was one of them.

I am over it now. I think.

We received several spectacular offers for "the baby in the box". We emphatically declined each and every one. We Krackers simply do not sell our posterity! Plus, Wry was not in a box. He was in a boat, traveling down a great river toward the open ocean. This should have been obvious to anybody.

Royce spotted a man walking in to see what he could find. The man spotted my sling. "So you had shoulder surgery," he stated. "You can expect it to take you a year-and-a-half to recover - at least, to the degree that you will recover. You never will get back to where you were."

Turns out, he had shoulder surgery in September of '06, so he was speaking from experience. Also, he goes to all the yard sales he can. He told me that at just about every yard sale, he finds someone who has shoulder surgery. All have had a hard time of it. None have ever gotten over it.

Me. I still plan to recovery fully, to paddle my canoe through many lakes and kayak through Prince William Sound. I will carry my grandchildrren and I will paraglide or hang glide off the tops of mountains.

These are just a few of the things that I plan to do.

Here I am, in the car with Sunflower, on our way to Taco Bell to buy lunch for everybody. 

At 11:00 AM, overcome with exhaustion, Jim and I had laid down upon the bed for a short nap. That nap lasted until 2:00 PM. Finally, I sat up and gave Jim a gentle pat upon his back. "Sorry, buddy," I said, as I always say. "Got to get up now." So he got up with me and we came out to find that everyone had been so busy with the yard sale that no one had prepared lunch.

Now, as Sunflower drove us out of the driveway, I shot this garage-sale overview shot with the new point and shoot.

As we drew near to Taco Bell, a fearful thought struck me. I grew worried that with all the traffic in and out of the house, and with the garage door open, someone might grow careless. Jim might take advantage of that careless moment and slip outside. 

I grew so worried that I almost told Sunflower to  stop, turn around, and head straight back to the house so that we could snag Jim before he could wander off and get lost. I dismissed this as paranoia. We bought our food. Sunflower and I ate our lunch in the car in the parking lot and my tacos and my burrito tasted so good that all my worries left me.

As soon as we returned home, however, I did a thorough search of the house. No Jim! Jim was gone! I did a search of the yard. No Jim. I searched into the yard of our next door neighbor - a man who despises cats. No Jim. I went out into the former marsh, which has evolved into a meadow. I searched and search.  "Jim!" I kept calling out. "Jimmy! Jimmy! Jimmy boy!"

After each call I would listen for the sound of the two little bells that I keep on his collar. I put those bells there so that someone might hear him if ever he tried to slip outside of the house as someone passed through a door.

Once, during one of his chaperoned sojourns into the backyard, he started off into the woods. Rather than stop him, I followed, to see what he might do. He pressed onward, into the marsh. And there he lost his bearings. He panicked. He began to leap, bound, and to hop about like a rabbit. His tail was bushy and his fur puffed. 

I could tell he was frightened; that he was madly trying to figure out where he was and how to get back, but he could not. So frightened was he that I had a hard time keeping up with him as he bounded through the brush.

Finally, I caught him, calmed him down and carried him back to house.

So now, searching in that same marsh, I repeatedly called his name, then listened for his bells. I did not hear them. I headed back toward the house, hoping that when I got there, Sunflower would say, "he's back."

I passed from the marsh, into the woods and out of these into our backyard. I saw Sunflower, looking behind things I had earlier looked behind.

"No sign of him," she said.

I thought of the softness of his fur and how warm he had felt against my tummy, as the two of us had napped together, so short a time before.

I just had to have faith that he had learned how to find his way home from wherever he had wandered. I stepped onto the back porch, into the house, then looked out the back door window. There was Jim! Coming out of the grass! His tail was puffed and he looked troubled. He was frightened.

He had experienced something out there. 

He leaped onto the porch and dashed to the door. I shot this image with the point and shoot and then let him in. 

Jim and I yet have many more naps to take together.

"Did you make enough from this yard sale to buy a couple of pizza's?" I asked in the sunny evening, after the sale had been shut down for the day. "Oh, yeah!" Toast Ed answered. So I called Piccolino's and ordered two large pizza's - one pepperoni and one Greek. Sunflower and Toast Ed indulge. 

Martigny does not care for pizza, so she does not.


Taddie Tales said...

Aw man I missed the yard sale - I love a good yard sale! Looks like you had some good stuff there.

Phew! I am so glad Jim came home - that is the worst feeling ever when one of the furry children get out and you can't find them.

Don't let that mad get you down about the shoulder - you can overcome this. Besides I am sure that there are many others out there like myself that can't wait to see the further adventures of Mr. Kracker. I'm waiting for the ariel photos while you are gliding and the photos of you kayaking on the sound.

Take care!

Standtall said...

U will recover the use of your shoulder back. Just keep believing it and you will achieve it.

I am happy Jimmy made it home. My cats don’t go out. I am in a story building and all the doors are always closed. They do make it down the staircase if the door happens to be ajar, then they wld quickly run back up and of course the balcony. We once found Molly downstairs purring. How she managed to go thru the balcony to the ground floor still remain a mystery. Did I mention that one of my cats Garfield now have 4 kittens and that Molly is pregnant? I am worried abt finding good homes for them because a lot of Nigerians r superstitious abt cats. I will neuter them as soon as I can afford the expensive operation. It's really breaking my heart that I allow this to happen by not neutering them before now. Ohhhh am I ranting already?

Grahamn Kracker said...

Thanks, Taddie - Yes, it is a terrible feeling. As it happened Jim came into my life a bit over eight years ago - at the end of a prolonged search for the original black cat, Little Guy, who disappeared mysteriously at the age of eight.

Eventually, I will tell this story - but not until well after I decide on the format for the real blog and launch it.

I also have it in mind to start a second blog - in part to cover such adventures. I will link the two blogs together, so if you are interested in the gliding, kayaking, etc., yo will know right where to go.

Yes, Standtall - I will keep believing. I have moments when this belief falters, but these moments pass. Thanks for the encouragement.

That is a lot of kittens to spread such expense over, but you are doing a good thing. I don't think you need to be hard on yourself at all. We all live in different circumstances and if it is too hard and expensive, you have still given those kittens shelter and protection - and that means a lot.