This is the third in a series of flashbacks of my life…..to read the first, click here; the second, click here.

In reminiscing about my early childhood, I find it strangely disturbing and ironic that all of these memories happened within only a 5-6 year period.  It seems much longer than that when I look back on the time.  However, the time-line doesn’t lie – we only lived in that old house from the time I was in first grade until right before I entered sixth grade.

One of the funniest memories I have of the place I hope you find funny too:

The old house was in constant state of repair the entire time we lived there.  Electrical being updated, plumbing being repaired, walls open to complete said repairs and to install non-existent insulation.  All the while, Dad worked full time while Mom worked from home and was a stay-at-home parent.  Time has swallowed the memory of if this happened during the summer or on a weekend, but I know it was warm out.  How do I know this?  Because in the winter, the walls being open to the studs were covered over with sheet plastic and the plastic was gone in this memory.  I still remember the plastic sheeting billowing in the winter winds as we huddled in front of the space heaters.

The house also had a circular layout.  You could walk into the front hallway, into the den, turn left into the dining room, turn left again into the front living room, turn left again and be right back into the front hallway.  It was great for chasing little brothers around and around, slipping into a blind spot to either jump out and scare him or trip him – whatever the trick of the day happened to be.  Little twerp learned quickly and how to pull the same stunts….it doesn’t pay to be a big sister some days!

At the most, I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old and my younger brother, Greg, was only 4 or 5 when this happened.  We had a big, beautiful, wonderful border-collie mix named Barney.  Barney was the best dog we’ve ever had (sorry Gomer – you’re sweet and all, but Barney was everything you’re not).  He would do any trick you asked him to do if a LiverSnap was the reward.  He also hated cats.

When we moved into the house, it came with a cat.  It was pure white and we named it Snowball (yeah, real original, I know – give me a break!!  I was five!).  Snowball was a beautiful cat, but not very bright as he loved to tease Barney – usually from the safety of behind the fence line.  Imagine the dog in the Foghorn Leghorn Warner Brothers cartoons and you’ll get the idea of what I mean.

One day, the perfect storm happened.  Somehow, Snowball got into the house while Barney was also in the house.  Barney was asleep in the dining room when Snowball sauntered past him.  Either Snowball didn’t see him there or was teasing him again.  Either way, Snowball sauntered past him again and didn’t quite make it.  Barney was up in a flash, chasing Snowball through the house!

Round and round the house they went – Snowball in the lead, Barney barking, hot on his heels, with me and Greg chasing after and Mom screaming at us all to stop.  We were quite a sight!!  Snowball happened to finally get a lead on Barney and made a flying leap – STRAIGHT UP THE OPEN WALL!  Snowball didn’t stop climbing until he had made it to the second story and safety between the sheetrock and outside wall.

It took us forever to get Barney out of the house and even longer to get Snowball to come down.  Not even a can of tuna would bring him down until he was sure Barney was gone.  About an hour later, Snowball finally peaked out, and we no longer had a snow-white cat – he was more like charcoal grey/black from all of the 100 years worth of dirt and dust.

As my Mom and I were cleaning up Snowball and feeding him tuna, Greg decided he wanted to go outside and Barney pushed through, knocking Greg to the ground.  HERE WE GO AGAIN!!  It was like a Three Stooges comedy routine – round and round we go, where the cat stops, nobody knows!  Oh wait – yes we do – right up the wall again!!  The second time took several hours before the cat would even think about coming down again (I think Snowball waited until Greg was in bed for the night before coming back down again).

After that incident, I never saw Snowball taunt Barney again.  He disappeared the next winter, never to be seen again.  We think Barney had something to do with his disappearance – kind of a Jimmy Hoffa type ending – cement boots or something like that.

Stay tuned for my next installment……

By the way – I am currently out of the country on vacation and will reply to any and all comments when I return. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read these, I hope you enjoy this series.

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