The Blog For Kids

This blog is for kids!
The posts you find here will be mostly for children ages 5 to 10, with some stuff for younger or older kids.
Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Goodbye Barney (personal narrative, cats)

Barney was a skinny, tiny kitten. He was a soft tan color with lighter tan stripes. He was also a wild, naughty thing. Even as a teeny six-week-old kitten, people would take one look at his eyes and say, “Oh, he’s going to be trouble!”
And trouble he was. We only had Barney for one year, and in that one year he managed to destroy the wallpaper, shred seven or eight stuffed animals, leave tears down the window screens, and break all the Christmas ornaments. I didn’t want to let him be an outside cat; we lived too close to the road. But Barney had more energy than our little apartment could hold. So we let him outside where he could run and climb and be his wild self.
For all the trouble he was, he made up for it in love. He was a friendly, sociable cat, with people and other cats as well. Our landlords owned a house up front, by the road. Behind their house was a small yard with lots of huge old pine trees. Then our apartment was at the back end of the yard. Another family lived in an apartment in back of us. Everyone knew Barney, even the other cats.
The people laughed at Barney’s wild antics, but the cats did not find him amusing. The people living behind us had three cats that avoided Barney’s ploys for attention. Our landlords had two cats, Puddles and Duffy. Puddles would have nothing to do with Barney. Duffy was a big, old, cranky orange tom-cat. He was eighteen years old, preferred to be left alone, and was set in his ways. Duffy was the boss, and the other cats knew it.
Of all the cats to accept Barney, it was Duffy.
It was something to watch those two together. Old man Duffy would rest in the pine needles in the sunshine, with skinny, little crazy Barney pouncing on his tail. Not once did Duffy swat at Barney. In fact, the more Barney pounced on his tail, the more Duffy seemed to swing his tail around. Our landlords chuckled. “Barney follows Duffy everywhere!” they’d say. Barney was like the over-active young child, and Duffy was the tolerant, patient grampa.
One weekend in the summer that Barney turned one, my husband and I went camping. Our landlords took care of Barney while we were away. I enjoyed the trip, but was looking forward to seeing my Barney. On the way home I had an uneasy feeling.
When we pulled into the driveway our landlords were waiting in the driveway. I knew something was wrong. I started to go up our stairs to go into the apartment and turned around to look at my husband. The landlords were speaking to him. He walked toward me and I knew. Barney had been killed in the road.
I cried and cried. Everyone was kind, but I wanted to be alone. I went behind the back apartment where there was a picnic table and sat on the top and buried my head in my crossed arms on my knees. Suddenly I felt something soft rub up against me. It was Duffy. “Oh, Duffy,” I said, “You lost a friend, too.” He sat with me for only a minute, then walked away.
My landlords later told me an interesting thing about Duffy. They said he was afraid of the apartment buildings. They said there was a certain point in the yard between their house and our building that he would not cross. They said Duffy must have loved Barney, because in eighteen years they had only seen Duffy go anywhere near the apartments once. And that one time was the day he helped me say goodbye to Barney.
We moved soon after, but not too far away. Every time I drove by, I would look for Duffy, sitting on his porch, all alone. I would whisper as I passed, “Thank you Duffy.”
Duffy has long since passed away, at the old cat-age of twenty two. I can’t think of Barney, or look at a picture of him, without also thinking of his friend. Some animals leave a special mark on your heart, no matter how short of a time you knew them. Goodbye doesn’t mean forgotten.

copyright 2009 Dawn Bonnevie

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