Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Greensboro Years:
Dummy, The Cat

Dummy was stuck in tree on the left.

The pine tree is by the bike. It grew many feet in a few years.

In the 70’s, we had a white cat named Dummy. He looked similar to Dodo, having a short white coat and blue eyes. Dummy was a little huskier than Dodo. Dummy looked like a version of Dodo if Dodo’s IQ were 50 points lower. Dummy’s crossed-eyes were much more pronounced than Dodo’s slight crossed-eyes. Dummy’s crossed-eyes affected his vision. He would move his head side to side in a moderately quick fashion to visualize things. Like Dodo, he had a raspy cry. He was a sweet cat but he did earn his name “Dummy” for a good reason. He was dumb as hell.

During a winter storm, Dummy climbed an elm tree (I’m not sure if it was elm.) standing just outside my window at the corner of the house. The tree easily stood over 50ft high. The first branch was at least 20ft from the ground. I never was able to climb this tree. Unfortunately, Dummy was. Even worse, he couldn’t get down. Worse than that were the single digit temperatures due to a winter storm passing through.

About a quarter of an inch of ice caked on the trees. My dad called the fire department. Due to the inclement weather, they were not able to help out. Meanwhile, Dummy sat on the branch a couple of dozen feet above the ground crying. My dad managed to borrow someone’s ladder and get the cat down. Finding a tall ladder under the circumstances was a chore in itself. I didn’t see my dad retrieve the cat but he took a hell of a chance in those treacherous conditions but he did it.

In a different incident during a summer’s day, Dummy got stuck on the roof. He most likely climbed on the roof by climbing up a knotty, short pine tree by our front sidewalk and walking across a branch hanging over the sidewalk extending all the way to the roof. It was an easy journey because I was able to get on the house by that route myself as a kid.

My mom, dad and I were staring at Dummy who was sitting at the edge of the roof looking down on us and crying. He couldn’t get down. Once again, he was stuck. We pleaded with him to get down. We walked over under the branch he walked on in the hopes he would get the idea of walking back on to get down. Each time we begged him to come down (“Come on Dummy. Come on!”), he responded by crying.

My dad or I was close to going up there to bring Dummy down. We called him a few more times for good measure. He stood up, cried and jumped off. I can still hear his little fat body “plopping” on the ground. It was only an 8ft drop but still risky. He shook it off and walked over to us so we could pet him. We all started laughing. We couldn’t believe the cat would do something so damned crazy! Poor Dummy. He wasn’t too bright but he was a sweet cat. He definitely earned his name: Dummy.

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