Rose Moss Stories
I'll never know for certain, but I believe Ginger was born in my neighbour, Peggy's garden. His mother was feral, but her kittens, four red tabbies and a black and white, all developed sweet personalities. When the kittens were discovered, Peggy informed a local animal charity, who took them away, but not before Peggy had fallen in love with the palest red tabby, who's fur was several shades lighter than his brothers. In Britain, we call red tabbies, gingers, so Ginger was an obvious choice for a name.
At that time, we owned a dog, though I've always been a cat person and yearned to have one of my own. I used to sit on the grass at the bottom of my garden with Ginger on my lap and tell him all my schoolgirl troubles.
Several years passed, the family dog died, and Peggy's son married and presented her with two lively grandsons in quick succession. Ginger, used to a peaceful existence, was not at all happy about this and took to sitting with my mother in our kitchen, where he was a welcome guest, ensured of a place by the fire and a few table scraps. Peggy knew of the arrangement and was content with it. We knew to send Ginger home, when we heard her calling his name.
He was a well-behaved cat, I rarely remember him getting into mischief. Once, he unwrapped a steak intended for my father's tea. My mother discovered him, just as he'd removed the last layer of greaseproof paper. She washed the steak, cooked it and my father was none the wiser! Then there was the time; he decided to explore a cupboard. The problem was, it was crammed with fragile glasses, but Ginger navigated them all, without a single breakage.
After leaving school, I attended a college fifteen miles away, and used to travel daily on the bus. It was cold, waiting for buses in winter, so my mother took me to a local shop to buy a warm skirt. The assistant wrapped in a brown paper bag, as plastic carriers weren't fashionable at that time, and I took it home. However, when, I tried it on, it was too long, and my mother put it back in the bag and placed it on a chair in the kitchen, waiting for a spare moment to get out the sewing machine.
I was at home from college for the Christmas holiday. Ginger had come to visit us, to escape Peggy's grandchildren and had fallen asleep by the fire.
My mother wanted to post a letter, so we decided to go together for some fresh air. We thought it a shame to disturb Ginger, so we closed the kitchen door, locked up the house and left him sleeping peacefully.
We returned after about ten minutes, and went straight back into the kitchen to see if Ginger wanted to go out. But there was no sign of him. He had vanished! We searched every cupboard, behind the furniture, under the furniture, even upstairs, though the door had been shut. But still no sign of Ginger. We were getting seriously worried and wondering how to tell Peggy, the unlikely story that her precious cat had seemingly disappeared into thin air.
Then we noticed a slight movement on the chair. It was Ginger, curled up fast asleep on the paper bag, containing my new skirt! It was exactly the same colour as he was, and incredible as it may sound, as he was curled up tightly, it was impossible to distinguish the cat from the bag! We heaved a huge sigh of relief and then laughed about the incident.
Unfortunately, Ginger only lived to be seven, but he left me a lasting legacy in a deep love of ginger cats. I have two at present, Ginger, whom I fell in love with, when I looked out of the window, and saw him as stray kitten, and Leo, who is the same pale shade as the original Ginger. They've reinforced my belief that's there's something very special about ginger cats.
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