Cat Food King

A mouthwatering buzz spread quickly through the 5 and under crowd of the Dogwood Blossom household. Archer scored some cat food.
Like everyone, I went to investigate to see if it was true. If he had really braved the massive feat of sneaking the off limit, delicious, little reddish x-shaped treats we weren’t suppose to touch or eat. Sure enough, sitting on the floor in the living room like a puffed up King, there he was already surrounded with a small but growing harem of hungry little vulture children.
I don’t want to suck up to him…but I’d really love some of that cat food, the thought of it’s tasty, tasty gourmet crunch is irresistible. So I sit down, close but not too close, I don’t want to be too desperate like the other little kids. I’ll hide my desperation for a piece of cat food by sitting a few kids away and not facing him directly. Just kinda here. By coincidence. Ho hum, doo dee doo.
God, I hope I get a piece.
The very first photo I've ever seen or found of DOGWOOD BLOSSOM. (Thank you, Jennifer!) THIS is the house! This is the house I'm writing about! These kids were older, I thought they were sooo big and old! :)

The very first photo I’ve ever seen or found of DOGWOOD BLOSSOM. (Thank you, Jennifer!) THIS is the house! This is the house I’m writing about! These kids were older, I thought they were sooo big and old! 🙂

Cats come and go, in, out, on, around the house through the woods and neighborhood. They hiss and growl and screech and fight and are scary. I run away from the desperate, whiny, howling, wild fur monsters. The grownups put out margarine and nutritional yeast for them sometimes. Real cat food is a hard to get, extremely rare treat from the mythical outside world that you’re not suppose to mess around with, like toilet paper.
Glancing over toward the reigning Cat Food King, oh wow, he’s actually got a supply, not just a hastily grabbed handful of a few extremely limited pieces. He had a little baggie. With a twister seal. Plastic baggies were unheard of. Where did he get a baggie? Wow, no wonder he looked like he was basking in full heroic glory, levitating just a little above all of our humbly bowed heads. I wondered if his parents gave him the baggie. Where did he get it?
I hate getting in trouble, I hate getting spanked. I try very hard to be a good kid, so I don’t risk things like sneaking cat food myself. I kind of wish I had the nerve to be so bad, but I don’t. However, I will eat the cat food if supplied by a braver, naughtier kid.
We can’t make too much of a commotion or the grownups will notice that something is up.
Archer will have no power or attentive court of worshipers when the cat food is gone, so this will be a slow, drawn out process of hopefully getting a piece or two.
He frugally distributes a piece here and there to keep us doting in submission to him and his temporary but powerful cat food omnipotence.
He untwists the baggy, takes a piece out and slowly decides who to give it to. Everyone acts really, really nice to Archer the Cat food King hoping to be the lucky one. I try to act cool but in my mind I’m slobbering and drooling all over myself to savor that tasty crunch in my mouth. Why are the scary cats so lucky to have this food? Why are the scary cats luckier than us?
The cats may be scary, intimidating little beasts, but at least they have special treats for some reason, treats that we can secretly taste if we’re lucky and careful to not get caught.
Finally Archer decides to bestow a piece on me, oh joy! I glance around to make sure no grown ups are looking and then pop it in my mouth. It’s so delicious. It’s so crunchy. I really want another piece. We all do.
Archer decides it’s too risky to continue his Catfood Congregation out in the open of the living room floor. He moves it to our secret hiding place that grownups and not even the bigger kids can access, only little ones. There are many benches and seats around the perimeter of the room, but one couch’s slight leaning angle against the wall makes our secret hiding place, we can slither back there behind it huddling in the darkness of the couch and do anything we want.
One by one, piece by piece the rest of the cat food is distributed by our leader in the tiny dark crevasse of the couch. We stay quiet with hushed whispers to not get caught by the giant grownups. There was enough that we all got several pieces. I still wanted to play it cool back there, but huddling behind the couch, obviously as desperate as the other kids, I’ve lost all dignity, but I don’t care. Cat food is worlds better than slimy, putrid oatmeal. I’m so happy to have eaten 3 or 4 pieces of forbidden, rare, precious cat food. So, so happy.

5 thoughts on “Cat Food King

  1. great writing.I unfortunately feel like I was right there,crunching on catfood.I did not grow up in a commune-quite the opposite BUT did ear catfood when I was tricked by my big sister into thinking it was candy.BLEH!I was probably 3 but can literally still taste it.

  2. It’s funny how life works out. I read ALL Stephen’s books as a young hippie teen in the 80s. I cooked from the Farm cookbook. It was my idealistic dream to go live there.

    I did not ever visit The Farm but I did make a lot of the same lifestyle choices, partly on account of who I married, and there were a lot of similarities to what you write about here. Had my kids at home in third world conditions too. (No electricity or running water.)

    Some of the main similarities would be that we did not have Christmas presents for our kids in the early years. They were not allowed plastic toys. They played with dirt and rocks and sticks and bones.

    We also frowned on and limited sugar. We grew a lot of our own food and had a plain diet. Our kids ate a lot of wild plant leaves and also stole food regularly, including dog food which they prized, and store bought butter.

    I also spanked my kids, which is now the biggest regret of my life. I truly believe it is child abuse.

    We live a more normal life now and the transition was hard on them. We had a laugh tonight at dinner when I told them about you chewing gum that you picked up off the ground. They understood your circumstances.

    I sometimes wish I had made it to The Farm and always wondered what it would have been like. It’s so great to hear your stories! Thanks!

  3. Please come back if you can, Celeste, with more stories! I have enjoyed your blog tremendously and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

    You write so well from the point of view of a child. You remind me of a friend who, from the moment his daughter was born, took all the photos of her from her current point of view. He would share wonderful photos taken from a few inches off the floor when she was crawling to a few feet off the floor when she started walking.

    Your stories tap into the universal experience of being a young person finding a way in a world with confusing rules and moments of intense joy, disappointment, amazement, sadness, and excitement. They remind me of the thoughts and feelings I had as a child of the same age, even though so many of my experiences were different because I am older and grew up in different circumstances.

    I hope you decide to keep writing for your own sake, and also hope you will share your stories here for those of us who read and re-read them with great appreciation.

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful, encouraging feedback! I definitely am going to write more, I’ve barely started! I didn’t realize how time consuming it was going to be, ha! Tuning out everything and transporting back takes a lot of focus… Looking forward to finding time for lots more! So glad you’re enjoying 🙂

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