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Burying the Cat II

JD darted from the church and into his car in record time. Drenched in sweat, he felt like he would pass out. After he’d got a grip on himself, he reached into his front pocket of his stiff new Bi-Mart jeans for the infamous phone.

He stilled his shaky hands and flipped the little gadget open, muttering at it the whole time. 6 missed calls in 2 minutes. It was his elderly client Lynn. He pushed call.

She answered immediately. “Halo JD.”

He could tell something was very wrong. “Are you okay? What’s the matter?”

“It’s not good.” She said. He could tell she’d been crying. “Can you come?”

“I’ll be right there.” He started his car. He raced the familiar 25 miles there and let himself into the house, scared stiff. “Lynn!” he called gently.

She sat on a chair facing away from him and he hurried to her. When he got to her, he stepped back in utter dismay. She was cradling a very dead cat!

She started bawling when she saw him. “He was very sick this morning when I woke up. By the time I showered and called the vet, he was dead.” She sobbed helplessly.

He was aghast. He was tempted to say, “Is this why you called me?” but she couldn’t hear anything over the sobs anyhow. She reached out an arm for a hug. He leaned in and tried very hard not to touch the cat. “It’s okay, Lynn. I’m so sorry.”

She held him for a long time. So long his back started to cramp. Then his stomach started growling again. And that cat, he was certain he could feel it squirming, or winking at him. Or something.

Two hours later, he helped her out to a spot where they had decided Gumby would be buried. He set a chair up by the old magnolia and  scraped a perimeter for the hole. Once she approved it he got to work digging  a hole, 2 feet by 2 feet. He gritted his teeth at having to dig with his weekend clothes on, but he couldn’t very well go back home  to change at this point. The rhythmic strike of the shovel followed by the thud of the moist dirt landing was punctuated by Lynn’s soft sobs. Strike, thud, sob. Strike, thud, sob, sniffle.

He pulled his bandana from his pocket, wiped the sweat off his brow, threw the shovel off to the side and jumped out of the three foot deep hole. Lynn had wrapped Gumby in one of her towels and JD slowly reached out to receive it. He was met with a visceral wail and she clutched tightly at her stiff but beloved pet.

JD stood by trying not to the think of the tamales at his house that his friends were probably devouring without him. He didn’t want to deny her this precious moment with Gumby but he had spent all day yesterday preparing them and his cousin cooked them while he was at church.

He cleared his throat and placed his hand on her shoulder after she wiped her nose on the sleeve of her pink polyester robe. “Honey,” she started, “I don’t that’s deep enough. I don’t want coyotes and racoons digging him up. Let’s make it a little deeper.”

He jumped back in and dug first one foot, then two feet deeper. Unfortunately this also meant he had to make it wider than two foot square. He put his foot down when he was chest deep and she mistook his tear for sympathy. “Gumby always loved you so very much,” she said wanly, rocking him back and forth.

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“Donde estas?” yelled his cousin, Pablo trying to make himself heard over the loud music in the background.

“I’m coming from buying tulips and heading to Lynn’s house,” JD replied. “Hide me a bunch of tamales.”

“Tulips? What about the tamales? Estas loco? ” Pablo scratched his head, sure he’d heard wrong.

“Hide me 6 tamales. I’ll be home soon. I think,” and he hung up, exasperated. There was nothing like missing a tamale fiesta at your own house.

She’d decided she needed tulips on the grave so that she had something pretty to enjoy when she sat by the chair she’d had him cement under the magnolia tree. That had taken another hour and a half but she just had to have those tulips. They were Gumby’s favorites, she said. She had him lay them out, first one way then another before settling on  a third configuration. He buried them then set up some rockery that the tulips would adorn.

He pulled into his driveway at 6 p.m. to find folding chairs, dirty dishes, and beer bottles strewn across his front yard and no one in sight. He was the epitomy of mixed emotions as he stood there his eyes going from this mess to the wad of cash Lynn had stuck into his breast pocket “Please take this,” she said as she hugged him goodbye.  “You’re a better son to me than my own. He’d have told me and my cat to go to hell hours ago.”

JD counted it 5 times. Nine hundred and Forty dollars.

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Christian · Faith · Joy · Money · Spiritual

High on Life

Cece had just come into a large sum of money from a house sale. She was excited to pay off an large loan she had. At the title company she opted for collecting the money by check instead of a direct deposit. When it came she did a happy dance, fondled it in her hands and thanked God for that blessing. She’d never held so much money before. She couldn’t get to the bank that day and didn’t make it in till the following week.

She actually forgot it was in her purse till 5 days later.

It was spring and the sun was shining with all its might but only warming things up to 60 degrees. That was much better than the 40’s and 50’s from the previous days. It put a pep in her step and she welled up with  anticipation of the many tasks she had to do. She was learning to weld and was delighted by the prospect of things to create. Life was beautiful and every day exciting.

A smiling bank teller waved Cece to her station. “How are you doing?”

“Fantastic. I’m having a great day,” said Cece.

They chatted for a while. “Do you want a balance?”, the teller asked as they were wrapping up.

She said she did and then stuffed the receipt and her wallet into her purse. She started to walk away.

The teller said, “I’d be having a fantastic day if I had this!”

Cece looked to see what she was waving. It was the check. She walked away, a wry smile on her face. Her heart suddenly felt heavy. She didn’t think that’s why she was having a great day. She’d learned a long time ago that her happiness came from the Lord regardless of what she had. Some of her greatest joys came when she had woefully little. She was extremely grateful for the money but she’d barely get to enjoy it. It was going to pay off a debt. That would be a huge burden off her shoulders. She hated being in debt.

She was truly sad that the teller thought she was happy because she had come into a wad of money. She remembered some of her favorite pieces of scripture: “Lord, do not give me too little lest I steal and dishonor your name, nor too much lest I forget you.” “All my fountains are in you.” ‘Not my wallet, not my circumstances, you alone,’ she thought.

As she slid into her car seat she contemplated the richness of her faith. The heaviness lifted and was replaced by an overwhelming joy that couldn’t be added to by a check, no matter how many zeros were on it. She was so grateful for a soul set free and the abundant blessings bestowed on her that her heart felt it would swell in volume and burst within her!

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