Lessons From The Farm

Written by Lisa Williams

Have you ever met a talking cat?
Once upon a time, a little farm girl met a talking kitty cat.
Her name was Callie Lou, and she lived on a small family farm in Rushville, Indiana, with her
Mom, Dad, two older brothers, and her baby sister.
When Callie Lou got out of bed that morning, she got dressed, putting on her blue jeans, a red tee shirt, and her rubber boots. Now she was ready for breakfast and then her outside chores. As she walked down the stairs to the kitchen, she could smell the bacon her Mother was preparing.
“Hi Mom, What’s for breakfast? she asked. Callie Lou sat down at her assigned seat at the table.
“Well, young lady, today, I am making you your favorite blueberry pancakes with bacon. Your Dad and brothers are already out tending to their chores,” her Mother explained.
“Thanks, Mom. I love, love, love pancakes, and I love, love, love you too!”
“After you finish eating, I would like you to go to the hen house and gather the eggs before you do the rest of your chores.”
“Ok, Mom. I will.”
Callie Lou finished her bacon and blueberry pancakes. She began licking the maple syrup off her sticky fingers. Yum, Yummy,” She sighed.
“Callie Lou May! What are you doing? I have told you never to lick your fingers. It is not polite for a young lady to do. You must remember this,” her Mother said strongly. “Now, go gather the eggs and be careful not to break any! The egg basket is by the back door.”
Callie Lou got up from the table, picked up the basket and walked out, the screen door slamming behind her. It was hard to understand the new lessons her Mother was trying to teach her. She just knew that she liked maple syrup and she didn’t want to waste any.
The chickens were clucking loudly when Callie Lou arrived at the hen house. As she walked in, she saw a solid black kitty cat with yellow eyes scratching in the straw. “Hi. What are you doing in here, you are not a chicken?” she questioned.
To her amazement, the kitty cat answered, “Well, I am doing a chore for my Mother. I am hunting for a mouse for our breakfast.”
“I am doing a chore for my Mother too. I am gathering eggs from my friends the chickens. My name is Callie Lou. What’s yours?”
“My name is Tink, that is short for Tinker.”
“Great, Tink. Do you want to be my special friend?”
“Sure,” he said excitedly, as he began hopping around. “I did it. I caught it!”
“Got to go,” he mumbled with a mouth full of mouse.
“Byeeee,” Callie said to Tink as she gathered into her basket the last of the eggs.
“Byeeee, chickens. See you tomorrow!”
As Callie walked toward the back door, she decided that she would not tell her Mom about her new talking kitty friend, Tink. Mostly because she did not think anyone in her family would believe her. This is Callie Lou’s first secret ever. She opened the door, carefully wiping her boots on the boot scraper before she entered the kitchen with the eggs for her Mother. The wiping of the boots was yesterday’s new lesson. So much to remember, she thought to herself.
Her Mom was busy cleaning and breaking green beans. “Hi, Mom. I gathered fourteen eggs today, and I did not break a one.”
“Good job,” she told her daughter without looking up from her pan of green beans. “Now, please place the eggs on the counter. I would like you to do one more outside chore before you start your indoor chores. Please go help Jason and Ben feed and water the goats.”
“Ok, Mom,” and off she went to the pen behind the house, the screen door slamming shut behind her.
She found Jason, her big brother watering the goats. “Hi Jason, Mom said I was to help you with the goats.”
“Good,” he replied. “Please go to the barn and find Ben. See if you can help him with the feed buckets.
Off Callie, Lou went to the barn. There was Ben pouring feed from a sack into three buckets. “Hi, Sis. Do you think you can carry the half-filled bucket out to the goat pen?”
“I will try.” She followed Ben out to the pen, doing her best, half dragging and half carrying the bucket.
“Ben, I must go help Dad with the corral fence. Can you and Sis finish here?” Jason explained.
“Sure, Jason. We have this! See you later.”
“Callie Lou, your feed bucket is for the mama goat, Molly. Please hold it while she eats so she doesn’t knock it over.”
“Hi Molly, here is your breakfast,” Callie Lou said softly into the mama goats’ ear while holding the bucket as Benn had instructed her. Molly finished eating all her feed. Callie Lou thanked her for being a good, gentle mama goat.
“Ben, can I do my indoor chores now? I still need to make my bed and clean up my room.”
“You can go. Thanks for your help today, Sis. Now that it is spring, the workaround here is increasing.”

When Callie Lou went to bed that night, she thought about her new special friend, Tink. She wondered what adventures they might have together.
The following day, Callie Lou rushed to put on her clothes. She was anxious to get to the barn to visit with her new friend as quickly as possible. She ran down the stairs to breakfast. No one was in the kitchen. A large bowl of fresh fruit was on the table. She quickly grabbed an apple, along with a glass of milk. Callie Lou hurried out the door and ran into the barn. However, She had forgotten to pick up the egg basket for her morning chore of gathering the day’s eggs.
As she went into the barn, she did not see Tink or any other cats. She sat down quietly on a bail of straw, wondering where Tink could be.
“Hi, there!” a voice said from behind her. “Good Morning. I was hoping to see you this morning.” Tink came out from behind the bail of straw and rubbed against Callie Lou’s legs.
“Here I am, my friend. I missed you last night. Can I pick you up and give you a hug?”
“Ok. I have never been hugged before by a human being.”
“Really. Here goes. Gee, you are very soft, like silk.”
“One of my better features. Your hug felt so nice. You can do it again sometime. Would you like to meet my Mom and some of my other friends today?
“Yes, I would like to meet your Mom and your friends.”
“Mom,” Tink begged. “Please come out from behind the feed sacks. I have someone I would like you too meet.” Cautiously, a grey, striped, tabby cat peeked from behind the sacks.
“Come on out here, Mom. It’s ok, Tink encouraged. “This is my new friend Callie Lou. I told you about her last night. She lives in the big Farmhouse with her family.
“Do you talk too?” Callie asked.
The grey Tabby walked up to Callie and sat down in front of her. She looked straight into her eyes and said plainly, Hi, Callie Lou, I am Mama Cat. Tink also has three brothers and a sister.”
“Can I be your friend too? I have two brothers and a baby sister. I am six years old, the big sister now.”
“Yes, I think we should be friends.”
Tink asked, “Mama, is it ok with you if I introduce Callie to some of our other friends?”
“Tomorrow, honey. We have chores we need to do together as a family today.”
“That’s ok, Tink. Tomorrow is good. I forgot that I need to get the egg basket and gather the eggs for today. See you tomorrow!” Callie had not paid attention to how much time had passed since breakfast. It was now noon. Callie quietly reached in the back door to not be seen by anyone and picked up the egg basket. Once she was in the hen house, she gathered the eggs and talked with the chickens. She realized there were a few fewer eggs today than yesterday. Only twelve eggs today. She said goodbye to the chickens and hurried back to the kitchen with the basket of eggs.
Callie Lou hoped her Mother would not notice that she was later than usual with her morning egg gathering chore. It was so much fun being with and talking with Tink and his Mother. She had just plain forgotten about her morning job.

At 5 pm, precisely, all the family gathered in the dining room around the table for dinner, except for Callie Lou’s baby sister, Lucy, who is six months old. This was a daily ritual. Callie Lou’s Father said the blessing at every mealtime.
“Bless us, Oh Lord, and these gifts we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. I want to ask that everyone stay at the table when finished eating for a brief family round table discussion.
Everyone replied, “Ok, Dad!”
“Now, who would like some of this nice roasted turkey? Pass your plates. I will carve.”
Callie Lou’s Dad’s name was Jack, and she loved him very much.
“I do,” said Jason. “I am starved! Please pass the green beans over to me, Ben.”
After dinner, her father said, “I want to tell you all how proud I am of you and how you all have been working together to help our family. With so many things that need to be taken care of, it is even more important that we continue working together and helping each other get the chores around here completed each day, so we do not get behind schedule because you never really know what the weather is going to be like. These are responsibilities we all must accept. Does anyone have any questions?”
All the children replied, “No, Dad.”
“Callie Lou, honey, Can you help me with the dishes tonight?” her Mother asked.
“Sure, Mom.”
“I will wash; you dry. Ok?
Callie Lou picked up the flower embroidered hand towel and waited while her Mother washed the first dish.
“You know, Callie Lou, you are growing up so fast. I know it is hard to learn so many new lessons on the farm every day. Think of it as just the way of life.”
“I know, Mom, chores are important. Even my friend Tink has chores. We have talked about it.” Oh no, she let her secret slip out.
“That’s nice. Who is Tink?”
“He is my new friend. He lives in the heated barn. I met his Mom today.”
“You did. I want to meet Tink and his Mom too.” Soon she would be in for a surprise when she finds out about the talking cats doing chores in the barn.

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