A cat and a trumpet
By Lisa Smartt
Life wasn’t chaotic enough around our house. We needed more drama. So we got a small orange and white kitten and a shiny “pre-owned” trumpet. Both additions can be attributed to the brilliance of our children. Our younger son managed to convince us that our cat was terribly lonely. He said that our cat’s destructive behavior was directly related to his lack of feline companionship. “Mom, he jumps and scratches because he feels very alone and he desperately wants a cat friend. If we love him, we’ll get a cat friend for him.” Yeah. We bought it. I mean, we bought the concept, not the cat. No one in Weakley County would ever BUY a cat. BUYING a cat is like buying a blade of grass or buying air. Why would you pay for something so freely available?
After bringing the tiny kitten home, we were now in charge of his proper emotional development. Again, we allowed our younger son to convince us that the cat needed to come inside a lot so he could “bond” with the family. When it comes to cats bonding with people, I’ve learned a great deal. I’ll try to be as brief as possible in sharing my extensive feline knowledge. Cats don’t like people. Cats only like people when they’re holding up a bag of Meow Mix™.
Along with the new kitten, we have a shiny “pre-owned” trumpet. Our older son, now in sixth grade, wanted to be in the band. His dad and I were very excited about this idea because neither of us can play an instrument. Plus, both our boys experience a lack of enthusiasm regarding homework. Clearly, they need music. Now our son brings home a bright shiny trumpet every night so he can practice. Yes, every night. Yep! Every night of the week. Come by on an average Tuesday night and you can be greeted by two jumping cats and a boy who is learning to play the trumpet. Let me clarify something for all the readers out there. LEARNING to play the trumpet is not the same as PLAYING the trumpet. Louis Armstrong PLAYED the trumpet. Sixth-graders are LEARNING to play the trumpet. These are two completely different activities. Yes, I know. We’re paying $48.62 per month for the privilege of hearing a rich musical education taking place each and every night in our very own home.
I’ll share another word of wisdom while I’m in an educating frame of mind. When a woman in her mid-40s has PMS, she should not be in the same room with two jumping “emotionally detached” felines AND a sixth-grader learning to play a brass instrument. No. The trumpet “music” scared the cats. The cats jumped on the furniture. I think all readers will agree that this situation required drastic measures. The cats were placed in the sun room. The boy and the trumpet were lovingly escorted to the front porch. And the mom? The mom needed to go to a spa for a full body massage. But she settled for throwing in a load of laundry.
Life is ironic. Our two dogs want to jump all over us. Our two cats want nothing to do with us. Our two boys don’t want to do their homework. Their two parents want them to do their homework. And the trumpet? Someday when our son is grown and gone, we’ll wish we could hear those trumpet blasts just one more time. OK, not really.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger on 11.14.07