Scout is Kind
"My First and Last
The animal was a stray
cat, and I named her (it was a "her", I checked) "Sakima"..."Kima" for
short. She knew both of her names.
I found the name in the
same way that the Order of the Arrow folks in Europe gave me that "sekkettummanque",
or "blackeagle" name. Sakima means "chief".
Kima was sitting behind
my mother's beauty salon. I think that she was abandoned by her mother,
or that her mother was killed or injured. I waited and watched as she
stood there, meouing at me as if to ask me "What are you waiting for,
person??" I finally found a box, cornered her with it , and placed her
and the box inside my car.
I was in college, and at
home right after I finished Army training. My father was already mad at
me for enlisting in the National Guard...not so much for being in the
Guard, but for enlisting. He did not remember that he told me once that
"the best officers have been enlisted people. They understand what it's
like to be an enlisted person and they have never forgot it."
My mother was still upset
with me because I failed to convince a Black girl that she should date
and later marry me. It was not for trying...I have never told my mother
that I was injured in my chest and stomach from two Black guys, upset
because I chose the same girl that they had their eyes on...neither was
dating her, just "had their eyes on her, and I ended up with her" for
So, with this cat hollering
for its mother in my backseat, I drove my car to my parent's home, got
out, grabbed the box and jiggled it around so that the cat could not climb
or jump from the box, and quietly instructed the new member of the Walton
"I'm already in trouble
and the last thing I need is more of it. So please stop crying. I'll take
good care of you...I promise...and I hope you like my room!
Here was a grown man, sitting
on the bed he had used since age 15, talking as quietly as he could to a
kitten who thought that her ninth life was up for sure a few moments ago.
"I'm sorry, Sakima. You
need to be clean so you can stay here. My name is Mike, and your name
is Sakima. Just thought of it....I'll call you "Kima" for short," I said
as I was cleaning her short hair. I discovered that she was a she, that
she would have a thick grey and black color to her hair, with pink nose
and ears, and that something or someone bit one of her back legs. It was
very tender when I cleaned it and she yepped.
I took good care of my
new pet...I was careful to keep my door closed, especially during the
day. At night, even though I constucted what I thought would be "impossible
for a kitten to escape from", Kima would get out, somehow climb onto the
bed, and sleep at the foot of my bed. She loved the warmth from my body
as she slept in a tight circle beside my legs. One morning, I awoke to
her laying on my pillow, next to my head. She had found her "friend" and
I have found my "pet".
My mother did not like
cats. She never told me why, just that she never liked them at all. So
when she came into my room one afternoon to leave the linen I had washed
earlier in the week, she yelled "MICHEAL!!!! GET THAT CAT OUT OF HERE!!"
I knew no amount of convincing,
crying nor arguments was going to change he mind.
I tried anyway. It worked,
"How long have you had
that thing in here?", she asked me. "Three weeks tomorrow, "I replied,
smiling proudly. She never knew.
"And how did you manage
feeding that thing?", she followed. "The tuna I got out of the cabinet
or at the store; water and milk and on occasion some pieces of KFC I would
buy". I did not want my new pet to be burned out of just tuna.
"You have until FRIDAY
to get that cat out of here, and I do mean out. I don't care what you
do, that cat is NOT staying in MY house. You understand?"
I did. It meant that I
had to say goodbye to my first and last pet.
Friday evening, I went
to my Order of the Arrow weekend outside of Louisville. I took Sakima
with me, in the same box that she was in when I found her three weeks
ago. She did not understand that I had to leave her in the box, but the
food I bought at a convience store helped to keep her in the box and quiet
for a while.
Once at the camp, I had
to say my goodbyes to her. I took her near the Camp Director's home, empty
during the weekend session, placed her on the ground and talked with her
for about twenty minutes. I was heartbroken. I hated my mother for hating
cats. I hated the fact that I had to take my cat so far away to let her
go....but I wanted her to live, and I thought that it would be much better
to let her go in the true woods than in a big city.
Besides, her name is Sakima...where
else would you take a kitten with a name like that?
I kissed the kitten on
the top of her head, pushed her away from me, and ran back to the parking
lot. I sat in the car for another thirty minutes before I got back out
and headed toward Cardinal Point. I never saw the kitten again that entire
weekend and when I was curious to see if she was still sitting there where
I left her on Friday evening, by Sunday, she was gone.
My caring may have saved
that kitten from certain death, and all she responded in turn with was
pure love. Her sleeping around me was not just because I was warm and
she sought out warm places...it was because she was being treated the
way that people should treat each other: with respect, care, understanding.
A gentle touch to a child.
A meal for someone that clearly needs one. A bit of help to someone that
cannot do it by themselves. I learned what compassion really was about.
From a kitten. While everyone will not have a chance to find and keep
a small pet as I did, I hope you will try. I was almost cheated out of
a very important life lesson: if you care for something, someone, they
will care about you. It's an extension of the "golden rule": Do unto others
as you wish to be treated by them.
Sakima, I hope that you
are okay. At various times, I miss you. I have forgiven my mother for
her misunderstanding, and I hope that you have forgiven me for letting
you go right after you have gotten to know me as a protector, a parent,
a groomer and a friend.
One of my Scoutmasters
used to end his meetings with "Stay Dry and Warm, and may the Great Scoutmaster
of All be with us until we meet again."
Stay dry and warm, little
Kima. And may the Great Scoutmaster of all life be with you until we see
each other again.
© 1996 Settummanque! for Blackeagle