Meatballs make for poor Policy
By Richard E. Noble
Back in the good old days in Franklin Country, before the Humane Society, our area out on the Escape Road (now C.C. Land Rd.) was the dumping ground for everybody's castaway pets. At least once a month we had new uninvited guest here in our boonie paradise.
It was always a traumatic experience for us. What do we do with a whole box of little kittens that were in the ditch; what do we do with a limping, mange invested dog; what do we do with a cute little brown and white mutt infested with fleas and ticks?
Oftentimes we set ourselves up with a “Free Kittens” box outside the Eastpoint Post Office, and other times we camped out in front of Register's Supermarket. If those options failed - it was out to the dump or the woods.
It wasn't really very much fun.
One day we found our bunch of acceptable, domesticated well-fed cats had another little stray kitten cornered in our tool shed. I refused to take another living creature to the dump but we could not afford to care for another animal and provide it with the full benefits of the Noble civilization. No way could we provide it with all the necessary shots etc. to enroll it as a citizen in the Noble household. So we made a compromise. We would cut a hole in the tool shed door and leave food for it each day. We called the cat in the tool shed, Meatball. We would feed it but not love it. We would avoid petting it or talking to it. We would let it stay but it would have no household privileges. We would provide it food and shelter until it grew big enough to go off on its own.
Meatball seemed to be doing fine. As he got bigger he fought his way out of the tool shed and into the yard. Our accepted cats didn't make this process easy for Meatball, but Meatball learned how to cope.
As it conquered the yard it gradually worked its way over to the main house. We wouldn't let it in. And even in the springtime when we often had the doors open, it would sit on the stoop and peer into the kitchen longingly. He was rather cute in a sad way. Every time I would see him sitting there on the door step, I would call Carol's attention to him. She would look at him and scold, "Don't you dare! You know that you are not allowed in this house."
Meatball would sit there as the other cats pranced in and out going along on their merry way. He would just sit there and watch envying their privileges.
One day Meatball came up to the open back door and took up his observation post. Carol and I both looked at him and shrugged our shoulders. As we stared at him, he slowly lifted one paw and placed it slightly inside the kitchen door. We both jumped on him "Don't you dare," we demanded and he pulled the wayward paw back to his legitimate territory. Carol and I then turned our attentions back to our kitchen chores.
Suddenly Meatball exploded. Without warning he leaped across the kitchen threshold and made a mad hectic dash all around the kitchen. He was peddling so fast he was skidding and sliding all over the place. When he finished the kitchen he dove into the living room. He ran up and over everything. He made a complete circle then dashed back through the kitchen and out onto the back step. At which point he stopped, sat down in his usual longing position and stared up at us.
"Carol we've made that cat into a neurotic, a social reactionary, a deviant," I said.
A short time later Meatball disappeared. I have often wondered if he ever found a home where he was fully accepted.
Our world is full of Meatballs today and they are exploding everywhere. Some people make their own children into Meatballs. We've made the whole country of Mexico a Meatball nation. France has its own Meatballs. They were tipping over cars and setting them on fire not too long ago. Even Denmark has Meatballs and so does most of the European Community. England is full of Meatballs. For centuries the Irish were British Meatballs. India has always had its Meatballs and so has China and Asia. Russia has its Meatballs too. As I write, we have people all over Africa trying to wipe out all their Meatballs. Recently in Yugoslavia they had a Meatball cleansing going on. There are Meatballs everywhere and they are not happy. A Meatball knows when it is being treated like a Meatball. Even a dumb stray cat knows when it is being treated like a Meatball.
Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for thirty years. He has authored two books: "A Summer with Charlie" which is currently listed on Amazon.com and "Hobo-ing America" which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother" which will be published soon.