By Jenny Morris


Never put conditions on an action or a promise. Someone will find a way to meet them. Like when I told Daughter No. 2 if I got full-time job, she could get a cat.

All the odds for continuing our cat-less existence were in my favor. I was quickly approaching 50 in an economy that was paring off older workers like so much rotten fruit. I was saving some company trouble by not being hired in the first place.

Scott was the executive editor of a local newspaper, and I was applying in a field that isn’t keen on publicity.  

Add the paucity of jobs available for college English teachers to all those disincentives to hiring me.

After multiple times in the final round of interviews for jobs I didn’t get, I saw the ad for my current job and almost didn’t apply.

On my drive across the river for the deciding interview, I said a fervent, if not eloquent, prayer. “God,” I started, “I don’t know whether to ask for this job or not. So you pick.”

A few weeks later, Daughter No. 2 got her cat.

Of cats and conditions

Since then the Resident Cat has become part of the household in all his annoying glory. Sometime last summer — it’s been about a year now — he sank four fangs into my ankle. The deepest cut bled for 10 days. Worries notwithstanding, it seems the only lasting side effect, besides the scars, is increased napping on my part. But anyone who’s known me any length of time might ask, “How could you tell the difference?”

He’s the reason for my new vacuum, my old couch and my higher Visa bill. I did the math one month and realized Daughters 1 & 2 had researched cat-food brands and chosen one that cost $6.65 PER DAY for his feline highness’s enjoyment. I’m sure it’s a month-long feast he remembers longingly.

When I pull out my phone to tell illustrated stories of his latest exploit, someone inevitably asks why I don’t get rid of him. To that I have only one answer: If I shed all my irritating, expensive family members, I wouldn’t have many left. Besides, who would help me work my puzzles?

Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris