When I was about eight or nine years old, my mom backed out of our garage one sunny Spring morning and ran over our three-month-old kitten, Butterball. I remember the poor creature flipping and flopping around the garage floor, obviously in agony, as Mom, my sister and I stood around it, stunned and horrified.
It was not pretty.
"Is she going to be okay?" I asked.
"I hope Butterball will be okay," my sister said, a tear trickling down her cheek.
Mom looked at the poor cat, looked at us, and looked at the cat again. It was howling in pain and blood was coming out of its eyes, nose and mouth. Did I mention that it was not a pretty sight?
"She'll be fine," she said, hustling us off to school.
When we got home that afternoon, Mom was sitting on the sofa watching her soaps. Butterball was nowhere to be found.
"How's the kitty?" I asked, fearing the worst, yet hoping for the best. You know how kids are.
She looked up and smiled comfortingly. "Oh, she's fine. But we decided to send her off to a friend's farm to live. That way, she can heal and live with her kitty friends."
Now this bummed us out for a while, especially since Mom would never let us visit Butterball at the farm. But I was really glad she was with her friends, running and playing in the hayfields. You know how kids are.
Some years later, Mom finally fessed up -- her brother had come over and buried poor dead Butterball while we were at school.
We eventually forgave her, but the farm metaphor stuck. Let's just say my family has a weird sense of humor. Anyway, whenever an uncle or aunt would pass on, we'd say they "went to the Farm." It became a bizarre code word for dead.
There's a point to this rather gruesome story. Seriously. And for all two of you who have stuck around to hear it, here it is.
I wrote yesterday about my white-page panic, and how the 300-some words I wrote were most likely dreck. Utter crap. Remember? Well, I opened up Word this morning and looked at them.
Sure, I told myself. They are going to be fine. No problem.
I smiled comfortingly -- and sent the little bastards off to the Farm. With Butterball and Aunt Edna.
Have a nice trip, crappy words. And tell Great Uncle Mike I said hi.