Tag Archives: farm life

Death of the Barn Cat(s)

Note to Animal Activists and Cat Lovers:  I do not like cats…but I do not hate them.  Also, any death that occurred below was by no means malicious or fruitless.  Mama Cat was taken down by a gun because she attacked everyone who stepped out the front door, and we had 300 kittens running around because she was a whore.

I’ve never really had a real pet.  Therefore, I’ve never really put any thought into naming a living creature.

I had a goldfish called Suzy that I named after my friend’s “cool” older sister.

And I guess I had a few barn cats at my grandparents’ house in Clyde that I got to name:  Strudel (death by combine),  Muffin (cross-eyed, death by car), Bart a.k.a. Barf (death by eating disorder), Salt & Pepper (frozen solid…then thawed and back to life…but not before we threw the box that contained their bodies into a burning barrel), and a few others…  I always chose the runt of the litter–the one that was bound to have issues.  There was Nickel, Kipper, Bear, countless Tigers, Juniors, and Smokes.  A few named Morris after the 9 Lives cat, and one named Pumpkin.  Mama Cat was killed by gun, and her kittens taken to wide open fields.

When we found the bones of a decayed cat in the barn underneath the woodpile, we called her Princess (after Princess Diana who had recently died) and carved her name into a brick.  She still rests under the first pine tree on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm.

But Suzy was eaten by my brother’s fish, Buddy.  And you learn to never get attached to barn cats–there are too many ways for them to go.   So I never really put much stock into what I called these critters.

It seems like a huge responsibility to name something, and I haven’t had much practice.  I people naming their dogs…dogs that are parts of their families.  And now my friends are naming their children.  Whoa, right?  Children.  Children that you have to call by the same name for upwards of 50 years.  Children who will be known by that name for the rest of their lives, on paper, in memories.

I’m not equipped to name anything yet.  It’s just not so…  But I do have theories on naming things…so tomorrow, I will write a segment entitled “How to Name Your Nugget”, and I will talk about it like I have authority on this matter.



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My Cousin and Her Ax

My grandparents' barn in Clyde, Ohio where I searched for Jessie Simmons' Tongue.

Growing up, and still to this day, my grandparents live on a nonworking farm.  But the barn and the shed still stand.  My father stores his lawn mower and snow blower there.  All of Grandpa’s recycling makes it out to the barn, as well.

But when we were young, the barn was a magical place with old cash registers, rotary phones, stolen road signs, cat skeletons, new litters of kittens, Jessie Simmons’ tongue, and so much more.  We climbed into the hay loft, back into the granary, and underneath the woodpile.  We knew the barn so well, yet we were surprised by every nook and cranny.

Most importantly, the barn was the battleground of many different fights between the Big Kids and the Little Kids.  Right now, there are 10 grandchildren on my maternal side: (from oldest to youngest) Heidi, Heather, Meghan, Erica (me), Hilary, Devon, Jason (my brother), Britta, Cory, and Clay.  Heidi, Heather, Meghan, and I were the Big Kids.  Everyone younger than me was a Little Kid.  (I think I only made the cutoff to keep the number of Big Kids even.)

But our favorite game was acting like separate gangs.  The Little Kids always wanted to be Big Kids.  “You can be a Big Kid when you’re 7…8…9…”  we told them.  Whatever my age was was the age you had to be to be a Big Kid.  Of course, they never passed me in age (and they never seemed to catch on, either).

Hilary, Devon, and Jason just took this bullshit for a long time.  And then Britta was born.  Sweet little Britta, who just stared at us from her pumpkin seat.  And then she started to walk. Out in the barn one day, we were having an epic Big Kids versus Little Kids fight and Meghan and I were standing on the side of the barn when out walks two-year-old toddling Britta with an ax in her tiny little hands. 

And then she chased us.  I don’t know why.  Maybe she’ll comment on this and let us all know…but I think she was sick of the Big Kids bullying around the Little Kids.  I do believe the gangs were a little more accepting of each other after that, but we still fought for the pure amusement of it.

Love you, Britt!

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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in When I Was Young


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