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by David Yehudah, Bellflower, CA, USA


Our grandson is coming to visit this summer, and he's been on my mind for a while. So this morning when shopping at Sears, I saw something that just looked perfect for a small boy. It was a small, free-standing hammock, the kind with a metal frame to hold it up.

Now we have some spare beds and stuff, but this thing called out to the small boy in me (didn't have to call very loud, neither), and I thought back to when I was a kid (seems like just yesterday, put Patty says it's more recent than that) and how much I would have loved going to visit my grandparents and getting to sleep in a keen bed like that. So I bought it.

One thing I've learned over the years is, when I buy something for use at a later date, to take it out of the box as soon as I get home and make sure it works. It's easier to return if (1) the clerk still remembers me, and (2) it hasn't been so long ago they think I've worn it out instead of its being broken right from the get-go.

So I put this thing together in the living room, and it's fine. Not having time to put it all back up again, I left it sitting in the living room floor.

Pussy was the first one to get up enough nerve to check it out. I don't know if she's extra smart or just extra lucky, but her first bound landed her right in the middle of it, and you could tell by the way she stretched out and started purring that she thoroughly approved of it. The hammock gently rocked with her movement, and she was soon snoring away.

Cherokee wasn't so sure about all this. His arthritis is getting to where he can't leap the way he did when he was young and spry (reminds me of someone else I know, and he ain't very far from here, neither), so he began by standing on his hind legs and looking things over carefully before committing himself to action. When the hammock swung (Swang? As in the song, "Just a-swangin'. . .") away from him, he had to walk along behind it. And the more he walked, the further it moved.

Enter Samantha. She stood up and got her front paws on the other side of the hammock just as Cherokee got one hind leg up on his side. Suddenly, with Samantha's superior weight on the far side, the hammock swung back the other way, forcing Cherokee to hop backwards in a very udignified manner, with the one hind leg still on the floor. He was far enough off balance he could neither get up nor down.

Cherokee began to lunge at his side, trying to get that one foot up. Samantha, surprised at the sudden retrograde movement on her side, began to push and scramble in an attempt to join Pussy. Pussy raised her head, an expression of alarm spreading over her features at this sudden and unexpected, playful, even frisky, activity on the part of what up until then she had considered a reliable and serious-minded napping place. Tentatively she moved toward Cherokee, perhaps hoping to dismount this rambunctous steed.

Pussy gave a lunge towards Cherokee's side of things just as he tried once more to mount the increasingly frantic hammock. Her weight combined with his, both arriving suddenly on one side, lifted Samantha into the air and flipped the hammock completely over. Sam's wail was interrupted by her going headfirst into the side of the couch.

Cherokee was set down almost gently onto the floor, and Pussy dug in her claws and found herself hanging upside down from the hammock. Despite the fact that by arching her back she could have touched the floor, she was afraid to turn loose and just hung there, mewing pitifully.

That's when I went over and turned the hammock back upright. Pussy was so traumatized she wouldn't let go even then, digging in her claws and holding on for dear life as I tried to extricate her.

Now, three minutes later, there isn't a cat in sight. Maccabee is standing there with a puzzled look on his face. Triumphant, the hammock serenely occupies the high ground, ready to take on any and all comers.

Wish I had a hammock.


Editor's note:


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