I turned off the highway and onto the road where my house is located. Not a trace of the setting sun remained in the sky. Stars twinkled from a dark-blue, velvety ceiling. A bright sliver of the moon smiled crookedly down upon us. Slowing down to drive the final mile to the house, I told my daughter Tammie, “It’s such a nice summer night. Let’s open the windows and enjoy the night-time smells and sounds.”

We immediately caught the faint scent of a skunk and heard tree frogs croaking friendly greetings to one another. Then the beam of my headlights picked up the reflective eyes of a small creature in the grass alongside the road. I said, “I see a half-cat.”

After taking a sniff of the air my daughter answered with a chuckle, “Half cat, as in half cat and half skunk?”

Glancing over at Tammie with a grin on my face, I said, “No, this creature looks like it is all cat. The skunk we smell is hiding somewhere. I’m calling it a half-cat because it isn’t home and there isn’t a house nearby.”

Sounding perplexed, Tammie questioned, “How does that make it a half-cat?”

I explained, “Several years ago I was out at the home farm visiting my brothers. We were in their patio room where they had a good view of the back yard. A cat I didn’t recognize was walking past the machine shed. I asked my brother, ‘Did you get a new cat, or is that one a stray or abandoned one that just showed up?’

“My brother looked out the window and said, ‘Oh, that’s just Half-cat. He belongs to the neighbors. He spends half his time at home and the other half visiting the female cats in our barn.’

“I had to laugh. His calling it half-cat wasn’t a description of the animal, he’d actually named it Half-cat! The humorous way he looked at the situation was so typical of my brother.”

Tammie said, “Oh, I remembered you told me once that, as a child, you wanted to be half cat and half human. You would have been a half-cat, then, too.”

Laughing, I admitted, “I didn’t want to give up my ability to speak and to understand things, but I wanted to lay around purring all the time and being petted!”

Following the same whimsical theme, my daughter replied, “I’m sort of like a half-cat, too. Half of my life is in the city where I work, have a home and friends. The other half of my life is here in Wisconsin, where I frequently visit my family.”

I said, “That’s true. Your life is divided up by your city home and country family. I remember feeling divided as a young woman when we lived on the farm, too. In my case, it was like I was leading three different lives. In one life, I worked at the hospital. In another life I worked in the barn throwing down bales of hay and bedding straw for the cows. My third life was as a farmer’s housewife where I had to do cleaning, laundry and meal-making. Each life was so different from the others. They seemed so disconnected. I’m sure it’s that way for you, since life in the city is very different from your childhood country home.”

As I signaled to turn into my driveway, the headlights revealed a pair of deer bounding across the lawn, crossing the road and entering the trees there. Tammie said, “I can think of another reason why you’re a half-cat. You’ve often commented that there’s too much going on in December to celebrate a birthday that falls just two days after Christmas. In the past, to spread out your celebrations, you’ve thrown yourself a June 27th half-birthday party. Are you going to do that again this year?”

I laughed, “I probably will, but do you know what’s funny? I find it hard not to share my birthday with a holiday. Since June 27th is so close to July 4th, it’s turned it into a half birthday and half Independence Day party. I’m more of a half-Kat than I’d realized!”



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