Today at Tractor Supply, towards the end of the night, a woman came rushing in to buy a bag of kitten food. Her eyes were red rimmed, like she'd been crying, hard. Turns out her sister had gotten her a new kitten. She was not sure about this. She just had her previous cat euthanized three days ago, and, as she phrased it, "I haven't finished crying myself sick about that." But the kitten was so cute that she'd found herself going along with the plan even though she really didn't want to. "I still have an unopened bag of catfood at home, and all his things..." and wouldn't you know, her eyes teared up once again. Being that I'm a sympathetic crier, well, my eyes teared right up along with her. Turns out she was feeling very guilty. Her previous cat was a stray that she'd taken in. He was a wiley, street wise cat, a hunter. But he loved her, and was, in her words, almost like a dog...he loved car rides and slept with her, curled up against the side of her face. Her big decision with him was whether to allow him outside. She'd tried to keep make an indoor cat of him, but he was miserable. So she gave in. He was an indoor/outdoor cat, and he'd gotten hit by a car. She was feeling quite guilt stricken about all of this, and the guilt made her feel even worse about this new kitten. "I don't know what to do," she said. "William liked the outdoors so much. I don't want this kitten to be outdoors." She snuffled again. "I've got kind of a philosphy about that," I said, "and it is not a popular one. I believe that animals have their own instincts and their own natures. If that cat wants to go out, I think that it should be allowed to do so. Get it vaccinated, and take care of it, but really, I don't see anything wrong with an indoor/outdoor cat." She looked at me. "I felt so badly about William. I felt like it was my fault." "No," I said. "It wasn't your fault. William was his own cat." And she cried at that, to think that it might not have been her fault after all. "You gave him a home," I said. "He was a stray cat, and you gave him a home. And now you'll be giving this kitten a good home. Maybe he'll be content to be an inside cat." And with a little start, she gasped, "Oh, he's in the car. I've got to get out there. He'll be afraid." She grabbed her cat food and headed for the door. "Come back and let me know how this story works out," I called after her. "I will," she said. "I still have to name him." I suggested that she watch him for a while, and she'd figure out his name. She thought maybe that was right. And out the door she went.
Remember the young man who bought the pumpkin pie candle? He was back in tonight. He had spent the day putting brakes on a trailer, and he was tired and dirty and about done in. He picked up a few more supplies for that, and two more vanilla pumpkin candles. It made me smile, and I wrapped them separately so that they would not get damaged by the other items in the bag.
I had three days in a row that I did not work. You know what? I missed it. I enjoy that job and the people that I meet very much.