Learning From The Past


When life is trying and things are getting difficult, remember back in time when other experiences you had taught you what you presently need to remember or visualize again. When a person lives for a few years and then reviews or looks back on their life, the experiences that seemed to be sometimes brutal and cruel are usually easier understood. The complexities of life, as a mortal being, can be broken down into the ability to survive, rather than painful, trying or even cruel… All life, man or animal, on earth has an innate desire to survive and get through the difficult times…

When growing up on the farm, an experience I cherish now. I remember our barn yard rooster, who we named Tut. He was named King Tut, because he acted like a king. We also had a very nice docile cat. She was black, and her name was Puss; being of the Heinz variety. Her main driving force in life was to reproduce but for some reason all of her litters had met with disaster. We found two litters dead some weeks after they had been born. Both litters seemed to have died violent deaths and we had no idea what caused that. Finally one day we saw Puss with one new kitten in the barn yard. He too was black like his mother and followed her everywhere. She was a good mother but we noticed the animosity between her and old Tut had greatly increased as the little cat grew bigger. Tut, was always around watching Puss and her offspring.

Then one day Puss was gone and so was her little kitten. A few weeks passed but still no cats. Dad was about to go out and get another cat, just to keep down the rodent population; then he saw the young cat in the barn after a mouse. My mother loved cats and set out milk and food every day. We assumed Puss had met with some kind of barn yard accident. Old Tut continued watching the young cat every time it ate and when it came to the back porch of the house. The size difference between Tut and the young cat was in favor of Tut. Little Tom was very leery of Tom but as he grew his fear vanished.

One day I was in the barn cleaning dung. I saw old Tut; corner the young Tom in the barn. The cat was ready to defend its life to the end but old Tut just kept him in a corner of the barn waiting for the right time to attack. I just watched the drama progress until I knew old Tut was just about ready to attack. I wanted Tom to be brave and defend himself but I also wanted old Tut to leave him alone once and for all. Tut stood erect with his wings stretched and his spurs poised for the battle. The little cat reared with his back bowing, knowing the battle was about to begin. His fur bristled in response to his readiness to fight. That’s when, like an angel’s gift, a mouse fell from the hay loft and landed right in front of Tut. Tut jumped back and Tom chased the mouse into the grain storage room. Tut walked away head drooped a little and disappeared.

Time passed quickly and before we knew it, Tom had grown up and Tut was now the one being watched. It was a different type of patience shown by Tom than it was when Tut once was the hunter. Tom took every opportunity to show Tut who was boss and was always around to chase him around the barn yard. As Tom grew older, he settled down and the two had very few confrontations.

It seemed like I was always cleaning out the barn and again here it was time for the dirty job of moving dung out onto the mulch mountain. Tom was in the barn with me and he was sitting on one of the stalls railings. I noticed him watching something and discovered it was Tut who was in one of the stalls doing his natural duty with one of the hens. I continued working when I heard Tom growling. I looked around and Tom had Tut in a corner. Again I watched and wondered what was going to happen this time.

Funny how life has a way of turning things around without any assistance. Problems solved.

No one can harm the man who does himself no wrong.

Robert D. Ashford was a Marine during the cold war and is now retired, after 50 years of construction management. He is a keen genealogist and loves humor. He watches the political horizons and likes to write commentary on what’s next.