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The Babies
© 2010 - William C. Highsmith
Fleming was part of the fifth generation to be raised and live on this land. The house was well-built and fared well against the swirling winds and snow on the plains. The ranch was sixty-two miles from the city of Lincoln, Nebraska. To the young man, it might as well have been on the moon.

Flem had a lovely wife, and lived on inherited land; but, this life was not what he had dreamed of as he grew up. His intentions had been to be a Nebraska 'Cornhusker'. Due to the economic situation, his hopes of going to college had never materialized. Now, he thought of himself as only a simple cowboy.

As he stood looking out the window, he noticed the snow was piling high. The wind blew the drifts to heights he had not seen in a long time. As he stared, his eyes widened. There was a cat trying to walk through the snow to reach one of the barns. It was not his cat, and he had no idea where it came from. However, he knew it could not live long in that bitter cold. He wanted to help, but what could he do? He watched as it made its way to a small hole in the side of the barn. That would help, but he knew it would be very cold. He had to do something.

"Tammie, I'm going out to barn 'two'. I just saw a cat go in there. Considering the weather moving in, you and I both know it can't live. That barn houses no stock and is just used for storage of old farm equipment. There is no warmth in there. Give me an old blanket and maybe some warm milk. I have to help the poor little creature."

"Flem, I don't think that will be enough. I used to have a kitty when I was a girl. They love to stay warm. He or she will need more than a blanket. We need to try to get it into the pantry - I'll go with you," she said, as she started donning her coat.

"What will Aussie think?" he asked. Aussie was an Australian sheep dog and like a member of the family.

"You know he'll be okay - even if it is a cat ! He is a gentle soul and all we have to do is properly introduce him and the kitty. Let's go see if we can catch it."

After putting on rubber boots, gloves, and a heavy coat, the pair headed for the door. As the door opened, the blowing snow fell on the foyer floor. It was, indeed a harsh environment, bordering on blizzard conditions. They simply had to bring the kitty in. Although it was only about sixty yards to the barn, it was not an easy walk. The snow along the path was already eighteen-inches deep. "We should have put on our snow-shoes," said Fleming.

Upon reaching the barn, Fleming picked up a board leaning against the wall. He used this to cover the hole through which he saw the cat enter the barn. It was very dark inside the barn. He switched on the light in order to locate the cat.

"Where is it, Flem?"

"I don't know. I do know I saw a cat enter through that hole. We just have to find it. Let's try calling it," he said as he silently prayed for the Lord to help.

"Here - kitty, kitty. Come on, we just want to help you," said Tammie.

This continued for a couple minutes.

Suddenly Flem said, "Hush! Did you hear something?"

The sound of soft meowing came through the darkness. Flem's prayer had been answered. Moving very slowly and speaking as gently as they knew how, the pair of rescuers looked in the corner where the sound came from. Although it was dark, the flashlight beam lit up a nest with a mother cat and five kittens. "Hey Mama - we're here to help you."

The feline had apparently been a family cat as it was not wild in any way. Although, she was a little nervous as Flem picked her up and put her is a cage he had brought with him. "Don't worry, Mama. Here are your babies," he said as he placed each kitten in the cage with the mama.

After looking around for more kittens, the pair headed for the warmth of the pantry and a meeting with Aussie.

"You know, Tammie - I was standing there feeling sorry for myself. I was worried that my life was not worth much - as far as accomplishments are concerned. Then, I saw the mama cat endangered by the weather conditions, and the Lord allowed us to help. I guess the old cowboy is worth something after all - at least to one Mama cat," he said.

"The cat's not the only one to think you are worth something," she answered.

By William C. Highsmith
J. F. Highsmith contributing
November 29, 2010