Henry was out one evening enjoying the fading minutes of daylight and cool ground under his feet after one of summer's last hot days. This is his favorite time of day as he can spy on humans walking with their dog friends while he sits safely under Joe's car. He loves this spot because most don't even know he is there and he can watch them secretly. Like he's some spy. Families, small children, and dogs on leashes are his favorites, and I swear he is smiling as they all pass unknowingly. It's all huge fun for Hen.
The kitties come in at night and I have to grab him early on otherwise he doesn't come in so willingly. There is something about impending darkness that renders my kitty hearing impaired. "Henry" becomes "Penry" or "Memry" or something unintelligible to his ears, and he completely ignores us. "I think he is deaf" is Joe's usual frustrated comment when Hen refuses to come to our calls. And there are many a moment when we are crossed between frustrated and worried when he doesn't come. Is he dead? Did someone pick the sweet prince up? Did he get lost? Is he 3 feet away ignoring us? Is he watching and snickering from a secret post? Damn him. I hate when he pulls this! We are out there screaming like fools for a cat. That's when we pull out the calvary.
Henry can resist most things--the crunching of the cat treat bag, the broom-sweep-under-the-car in lame attempt to shoo him out, and the sweet "c'mere kitty" voice. The one thing he cannot ignore is Emma. Make that Emma and her colorguard flag. It is his nemesis, his archilles tendon, so to speak. Never was Superman rendered by such forces. Nope--this is worse, much worse. The flapping of the fabric. The gentle swoosh of the wind created by colorful lame'. The company of his beloved Em swirling and twirling the wand of loveliness. He cannot help himself. He comes out of hiding the minute Em makes an appearance with the flag. It never fails.
So on this particular evening and we are going through the whole "Where is Henry?" routine, Em goes into the garage to start unwinding the flag. I spot him, 3 houses over and am mortified to see him wandering so far away. His whiteness is unmistakeable and as I am calling him (loudly), he turns, looks to me, and does his super-slow walk homeward. "Molasses" is a nickname he has earned in moments like these--there is nothing slower than Hen walking home. But he is coming at least. No need to pull the flag. Em is called off.
As he ambles home, I realize he is crossing the Forbidden Yard of Mrs. Carnes. She hates cats! I mean, really, really hates cats. She makes a point of telling me when Grace or Henry has been in her yard. She makes the effort to stop her car and tell me when the neighbors cat, Mable, has sat in her yard. She even once accused Grace of walking through her newly poured cement driveway. I offered to have her "foot-printed", but she didn't think I was funny. What is it about old ladies and their hate for cats in their yards? And why are cats attracted to those yards? It never fails--Mable's favorite chilling spot is directly under Mrs. Carnes new tree, Grace has been spotted sitting on her windowsill, and here is Hen--taking his time, smelling the flowers in her garden as he passes through on the way home. I could just die!
I'm calling him softly, hoping to avoid drawing her attention, when I see one of her windows slowly opening. Uh oh--she's spotted him. As she opens the window, I see her white hair appear, and suddenly there is this hissing sound coming out of her. It's a good look--this old lady hissing like a flat tire at my cat to scare it out of the yard. And there's Hen--looking back at her like the nut she is. It was pretty funny actually.
Well, one by one, Mrs. Carnes' windows were opening just about as fast as Henry was walking across her yard. You could hear the creak-creak of the window crank, the hissing of the old lady, and then it quickly closing so she could get to the next window. There were four windows in total, so granny had a lot of work to do. I just stood there cracking up as I may have looked crazy calling my cat, but this old lady was absolutely nuts hissing at my cat. It was quite the sight!
By window #4, she realized I was out there and just as quickly as she appeared, the window went super fast creak-creaking shut. I think she realized how stupid she looked and how totally unfazed this beast was at her attempt to shoo him along. I grabbed his white-self and warned him of his impending death by pot of boiling water and evil old lady. "Mrs. Carnes is going to make soup out of you!", I warned. He licked my nose, completely unrattled.