Lake Nostalgia

From soggy memories...

Anna Voy

Anna Voy
December 31
My name is Anna Voy and these are my stories. I grew up, the youngest of four, in a small lake community in East Texas. My family wasn’t like yours and I can guarantee that. I’m not implying that my family has the market cornered when it comes to being weird. We all have dysfunctional families, but no one’s is dysfunctional in the same way. I feel I can pretty safely assume that my family’s weirdness is unique and is fully responsible for shaping me into what I’ve become. I’ve grown up to be somewhat adjusted, however I keep my quirks intact, fully aware that they are a product of a strange and warped childhood. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I don’t consider myself abused; rather I view my childhood as a series of strange adventures played out in unconventional ways and perceived through the layers of conditioning that we all inevitably pick up from those who raise us. On sunny days my mind trails back to these soggy memories and I almost swear I can smell the moss of the lake and hear the sounds of the motor boats as they speed rebelliously by the “Caution” buoy. These are the stories I remember…


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JUNE 30, 2010 11:35AM

Tick Tock Kitty Time

Rate: 17 Flag




The other day I was having a conversation with this weirdo, who you will learn has the reasoning skills of a flip flop and a personality to match. Being the thoughtful person that I am I probed a little to find a topic of interest for us to discuss. You see this person is a colleague who has the very same affliction as me: overly prepared for all situations and 15 minutes early to everything. This lady and I are staring blankly at each other across the table, waiting for the other meeting guest to arrive. She taps her pencil on her notebook and I glance over at the clock on the wall; 14 minutes and 38 seconds until the slackers show up.

As I pick a piece of hair off my blouse I remark, “It seems like no matter what I do I’m always covered in cat hair.” Now I’ll go ahead and admit that looking back, this probably wasn’t the most stellar approach at a conversation, but none-the-less I was trying to fill up the eerie silence that precedes exciting meeting time. My colleague responds with an “Hmf” before pretending to reread the meeting agenda.

I really don’t know how to take subtle cues and therefore I follow my first statement up with, “But it’s totally worth it, you know.”

The lady looks at me blankly, “Sorry, worth what?” 

“You know, it’s worth all the hair and mess to have a cat.”

My first indication that this person was wacko was she actually rolled her eyes at me following this explanation. I heard the voice in my head say oh “no she just didn’t,: and this was right before she said, “I wouldn’t know, I don’t like cats.”

I’m really good at hiding it when I’m offended and this time was no exception. I thoughtfully tilted my head sideways and with real earnest I asked, “Oh really and why it that?”

She took a deep breath and launched into a tale of how when she was a child the neighborhood cat had scratched her on the arm when she was trying to pet it. “The cat was so deranged and just lashed out at me for no apparent reason and I was fairly young too. The scratch only bled a little bit, but it later got red and infected and I remember it being pretty painful. I think they had to put me on some meds to get it to resolve itself.”  When she finished this story I was very conscious to show on my face a fair amount of sympathy although I was thinking: so you hate an entire species of animal because you got a minor scratch that was of no horrible consequence over three decades ago? That totally doesn’t make any sense you flipping weirdo. You probably deserved the scratch because you tried to pick the cat up by its neck and it probably got infected because you didn’t bathe properly.

                I have a sort of affinity for cats due to the fact that I’m currently alive and well because of the actions of a short-haired orange feline named Johnny. I grew up on a lake and like most kids with those types of surroundings I spent my time hanging out on the fishing pier staring into the water. Regularly a cat would accompany me on these expeditions and on this particular day Johnny was my companion. Standing at the end of the pier I noticed Johnny cat seemed overly interested in something just behind me. I’d been staring into the water for a few minutes and when the cat’s interests got my attention I decided to jump back to reality. My first thought was that Johnny wanted to play fetch with what appeared from the corner of my vision to be a stick.

“Hey, John John, you want to play fetch?” I turned around to pick up said stick with the intention of tossing it in the water where the cat would most certainly not fetch it, but he would probably paw at it or at least stare at it for a minute or two. I must have lost all the color in my face when I realized that Johnny was not eyeing a stick sitting on the pier, but rather it was a water moccasin. For those of you unfamiliar to these snakes, they are highly poisonous and from my experience, very aggressive. I know people will say that snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them, but that isn’t true in all cases. Probably the same people will report that faced with a life threatening situation your life flashes before your eyes. This was not my experience. As I stared into the dark, beady eyes of that snake I ran through all my options, which took all of two seconds. There was only one way out of this situation and that was to jump into the potentially snake infested water (which although appears like an option, really isn’t a viable one). So I had really no option but to stand still and hope that the snake slithered back to hell from where it came and left me and my cat alone to stare into the murky water. Apparently this was not what the aggressive snake had in mind as he poised himself in striking position and eyed me like I was holiday pudding.

I’m not entirely sure how much time passed, probably only seconds, but Johnny didn’t waste any time once he sized up the situation. You know that moment when, whether it’s a person or an animal, they own up to a situation and decide to attempt to be a victor in a highly dangerous situation? Well that was Johnny’s moment and I witnessed it. In a flash the agile cat sprang from a sitting position through the air and landed with ferocity on top of the snake. The next little bit was a blur of fur and skin, hissing and screaming. I knew I had to act fast and so I hopped to the far side of the pier and ran around the brutal battle that was being waged in my honor.

A minute later I arrived breathless at my mom’s room, “Mom!!! There’s a snake and Johnny’s fighting him. Quick, we gotta go save him!!!” My mother quickly snuffed out her cigarette, ran to the side of the house, grabbed the machete and then followed me to the pier. I remember thinking that the cat might be dead by the time we got to him and I felt guilt as I ran down to the water’s edge. However it was silly of me to think that awful snake would stand a chance against such a nimble and talented creature. When we arrived at the pier Johnny was simply bathing himself, completely disinterested in the lifeless carcass that lay inches away. I’m guessing that since my mom had gone to the trouble of bringing the machete all the way there she planned on using it. Furthermore, it’s always good to make doubly certain that evil snakes are in fact dead and so mom chopped its head off and chucked it in the lake.

                Sitting in that meeting room and feeling repulsed by my colleague’s dislike for cats I thought about Johnny Cat and his inspirational act of courage. He actually only passed away a few years ago, making him the longest living cat I’d ever known. He lived for so long that at one point I thought maybe he had some super powers and he used them to his favor in the Snake Battle of 1992. I smiled to myself and glanced back over to the clock, 12 minutes and 17 second until the meeting started and I was already all talked out.

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Brave kitty you have! Your co worker doesn't realize what she is missing by not having a kitty!
My first cat was an orange-y one too....nice story, you feisty kitty lady...
I love this story. I find that if someone doesn't like cats, it's becasue they've never lived with one. My cat is a 15 year old calico that rules the roost here, and keeps the dog in check with no trouble. She is one of the best pets I've ever had, although she's never had to save me from a snake. Way to go Johnny!
Excellent story of heroics by a feline (and you did pretty well yourself!) I love cats and when I discover others who also love cats I find I like them just a little bit more.
Cats rule. As a kid, we had a wood burning stove in the basement to heat the house. One morning, as in 3am, one of cats woke my Mom up, and wouldn't leave her alone until she followed said cat down to the basement. Mom found some embers which had accidentally been knocked into the kindling bundle, still glowing and starting to seriously smolder. That cat is my hero. And now, Johnny Cat joins Daybreak in the Pantheon of Most Excellent Cats.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments. It is so nice to know there are so many cat supporters out there. I'll think of each of your's fondness the next time I'm faced with a cat hater.

Owl that's an excellent story. I've always felt that cats are deeply connected with their intuition, something that unfortunately at times I'll ignore.
Great story, awful co-worker - she obviously has some sort of mental dis-function.

Just so you know, I'm wearing quite the collection of cat hair as I type :)
Go Johnny Cat! My sister had a cat that would fearlessly attack rattlesnakes, but I think your kitty and Junior are by far the exceptions to the rule.
I'm truly amazed at how many of you can relate to this story. That makes it so much more worth telling.

Wow, ame i, sounds like you've had a lot of animal experiences. I've had many manxes in my life and I truly love the personality of the breed. They are strange characters, which is why I like them so.
"the reasoning skills of a flip flop and a personality to match"

love that line
I've never understood people who dislike an entire species based on the actions of one animal. I've been bitten by a dog but I still love dogs, and I've been scratched by cats more times than I can remember. You were lucky to have such a wonderful friend in Johnny Cat and your story was wonderful.
I'll take Johnny over your colleague any day. =o) What a brave cat! A machete? Please, you dishonor him with the idea he couldn't finish the job himself!

She should see what my arms look like--I'm the veteran of a lot of cat scratches. Most accident, a few not.

Cats Rock! They also rule.
Great story even if I am totally weirded out by the water moccasin.
The cat looks like our Tigger - what a brave kitty too!
I would have rated this simply for having the phrase "grabbed the machete" as though a machete is a common item to keep around the house. In all fairness, your bio does say your family isn't like mine and you've proved it. Oh no, wait. We had bayonets.

There is a cat that looks identical to Johnny in fur and attitude and lives in my alley. He hangs out with a groundhog that my son named "Wofty". His name is "Orange Boy", also courtesy of my son. They (they being the cat and groundhog, not my son) are often seen sunning themselves in one particular spot and I believe Orange Boy is the one who taught Wofty to climb trees.
Thanks again to everyone for your support!

Terry thanks for the comment and the rating! Wofty and Orange Boy are hilarious names and they sound like quite the pair.
Thank you Anna. We have house cats and barn cats and a machete too!
My 13yr. old barn cat who could catch a Jack Rabbitt passed away last month.
Kudos to your Johnny cat. Cats make great friends and show their love by leaving a hunting gift for you at the front door! I couldn't image a day without a kitty or two.
Thanks for the cat story.
Susan May
Thanks for sharing this great story. I agree with all the rest - Cats rule and where would we be without our furry friends. I have three and did post on them, if you have time, check it out. Rated - I have added you to my favs.
Susan, I'm sorry for your loss. I totally agree with you about cats. I thoroughly miss mine when I'm away.

Jali, thanks so much! I'm glad to be connected with you and look forward to reading your stories.
What a wonderful story ... good kitty; good boy.

I like to think that my big cat, Zane, would be so helpful in such a situation, too, but it's pretty quiet where I live. One fine day, Zane came to me in the kitchen with such urgency and alarm that I was sure something very, very wrong was happening. After catching my eye, he raced down the hallway toward the bedrooms and looked anxiously over his shoulder at me again, compelling me to follow. The "emergency" turned out to be my brother, home for a visit and snoring on the guest bed. I guess Zane wasn't used to having visitors over.
Elissa that's a wonderful story and what a clever cat Zane is. You should always follow the cat, because you never know what you'll find.
Just found your blog and I'm enjoying your stories. Have you read Gwen Coopers story about her cat Homer? Here is the link (hope it works if not Gwen is on Open Salon, or was until she published her book about that great cat, At any rate the story is still up and it's a great read)
Lynn, thanks for the recommendation. That looks like a wonderful blog. I'm going to start reading it!