The Stray Cat

The little guy’s fur was a faded burnt orange color and the expression on his face was full of mischief, but with a deeply etched innocence,  much like that of the notorious cat we all know and love as Garfield. We found him in  a box that was full of all types of kitchen utensils, sort of hiding. We had been the proud winners of the bid that made the box ours at a Southern Ohio auction one rainy Thursday evening in October.  He was very tiny and was sitting on his haunches as if to pounce away at any given moment and he wasn’t pretty by any means. He had a damaged ear and several deep scratches on various parts of his body. No one in their right mind would have paid cash for him, and I understood why the only way he would ever get an owner was to include him in the sale with other saleable  things. At this point, I suppose, I should tell you that this homely looking cat  doesn’t breathe or require a litter box, but instead is a little ceramic statue. Don’t ask me why, but in a fun and whimpsical manner, my daughter and I took a liking to this cat even if we weren’t quite sure exactly what we were going to do with him. But you may ask me how he ended up at my house first, and I would have to admit to you that my daughter is faster and wiser than I am. So, SOMEHOW the cat perched indiscreetly on my living room bookcase, looking cheesy and out of place, but in a crazy-love kind of way I was smitten by him and decided to let him stay. One day several weeks later when I was planning a trip to my daughter’s home in Louisville, I got the bright idea of packing up the cat in my suitcase  and taking him along. My “plan” was to mysteriously leave him somewhere in her house, high on a shelf or peering from behind a flower vase to be found later after I was safely back in Ohio. And that is how it all began. She let him stay put until she visited me and transplanted him once again finding a nice squatting place on top of a cabinet in my kitchen. And thus, the incredible journeys of the cat were in procession. When my daughter-in-law was visiting with me one day she had a terribly good time making fun of the cat and how scraggly he looked ,as well as out of place, in my kitchen. It brought her so much pleasure in fact, I decided that it was not fair to leave her out of the fun we were having and that she should be allowed to take temporary possession of him as well. So when I accepted an invitation to my son’s home one evening, guess who I took along? Yep. Right before I left their home I dug him out of my purse and sat him proudly on their beautiful fireplace mantle. She didn’t call me for several days after my visit, but I KNEW that she knew he was there. After we did this several times among us , we made a couple of rules. 1.) You couldn’t put him in a drawer or anywhere out of sight. 2.) NO sending him back home with anyone, you had to transport him yourself. We have taken pictures of him, and even sent e-mails supplying details on his welfare and facts about his “loneliness” for the other owner. I couldn’t tell you how many times we have all packed him up and transported him and forgotten to leave him, bringing him right back with us. This cat has traveled back and forth between Ohio and Kentucky more times than I can count.  One year at Christmas I even made him a little toboggan out of an old sock, took his picture and tried to convince my daughter that he was just too cold here and needed to come south. “ Keep him there, Mom, “ she wrote. “ It’s too cold for him to be out.”
This whole story might seem a little crazy to all of you, but dag-gone it, it has been fun!
Even my grandchildren look for the cat after I leave. My granddaughter, Reagan, approached me on my last visit and asked if I brought “ the Cat”. I never tell!!!!
I like things that are sometimes viewed as not the “ norm”, don’t you? Like taking a walk purposely in the rain or driving over the state line for a weekend dinner and back again. How about warming up a piece of meatloaf  from the night before for breakfast or fixing pancakes and eggs for supper? I know some of you have done that.
Life is exactly what we make it. We are on the river so we might as well sing while we row!
Today’s recipe is for a quick and easy supper breakfast casserole. Tasty anytime, but perfect for those lazy evenings when pork chops or spaghetti just doesn’t seem right.
3 T. Butter
3 whole green onions
6 eggs
4 cups frozen hash browns (thawed)
1 pound bulk sausage
2 cups whole milk
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
½ green pepper finely diced
Brown sausage in heavy skillet along with the chopped green onion and the green pepper,
Layer in the bottom of a 9×13 greased casserole dish.
In same skillet fry hash browns until softened, layer them over the sausage mixture.
In separate bowl mix together well the milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
Pour over sausage and hash browns.
Top with the cheese.
Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serves 8
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