Yes, it really was an accident! I swear on my Kenmore Smart Wash.
Many years ago my brother-in-law landed in the burn center in St. Francis Hospital after a terrible oil rig explosion. I won’t go into all the details, but he was in critical condition and awaiting grafts. There was even talk of using Cliff as a donor if Mike’s sites were non-usable. We had run home to feed critters, grab clothes and money to head back to Wichita for God knows how long.
I had a few minutes extra so I commenced to loading the dishwasher with all those nasty dishes that were piled to the heavens when we got the emergency call. Why it always happens, I don’t know, but a crisis never happens when the house is clean. I was loading at break neck speed and getting the latest update from my mother-in-law, who was still at the hospital.
I went to hang up the phone-we’re talking 1987, so it’s still the one with the long curly cord at least 1/2 a mile long. I came back, slammed the dishwasher door shut and jetted out of the room to finish another pressing task before Cliff buzzed in.
Yowls began from somewhere. I didn’t think much of it as our kitten, Grady, was always yowling about something. I finally relented and walked into the kitchen. Here sat the dishwasher with steam rising, rising, rising when it hit me what was going on. I yanked open the door and fought through the mist to find Grady draped on the bottom rack like a drowned rat. Evidently, he jumped in when he saw his opportunity to get a little snack off of a plate.
I yanked him up and ran him into the wash room of our 1880’s house. I flushed him and flushed him with cold water as he fought for breath. When he seemed to be coming around I wrapped him in a towel and did what I always did when things fell apart. I called my mom for sympathy. She did not disappoint and gave great comfort that only a mama can give. Through tears I also sprung on her my suspicions that I was pregnant again-3 times in less than 4 years. Her reaction was “My goodness, Kelly, you just ran a cat through the dishwasher and what are you going to do with another baby?” Though very rare, chalk this up as not one of Mom’s finest Mom moments. Honestly, who could blame her?
Cliff came in to find me with Grady wrapped in the towel, rocking him and crying. I explained through the blubbers. He snapped me out of it with a blunt wake up call. “Kelly, we have got to get to Wichita. Put food and water on the back porch as my brother is more important than the cat. We have to go!”
All weekend I wondered about that all gray bundle of fur as the unbelievable drama unfolded in Wichita. To make a very long story short, the burn center was a shocking world like none we had been in. Miraculously, Mike was able to have all of his own grafts and started on the road to a very successful recovery. On the ride home from Wichita, Cliff gently said, “Kelly, you know Grady won’t be alive when we get home.” Yes, those thoughts were there, but I am a hopeless optimist. I ran to the screened-in porch and guess who greeted me with his cocky little walk and tail flicking in the air? Yes, Mr. Grady had come out with flying colors—or so we thought.
Since of a story like this can not stay hidden, this was the talk of St. Francis Hospital. I don’t know how many times I overheard “You’ve heard the one about the lady who put the cat in the microwave, well…. ” In a packed elevator I heard someone behind me whisper “that’s her. She’s the one.”
After 3 weeks in the burn center, Mike got to come home to our house. We were taught how to care for the grafts and nurse him back to health. Right before his release, Grady started losing patches of fur. I won’t gross you out, but it was…well….gross. The burn center took sympathy on us and sent home vats of Neosporin and rolls gauze for Mike and Grady, individually marked. We would go through the huge undertaking of getting Mike all bandaged up and then start in on Grady. Grady got so bad and was so miserable. Many times when Cliff would come in at lunch, I would whisper to him “this evening you have a job to do”. Then in the afternoons, the cat would revive and do the wild-jungle-cat-run-like-crazy-behind-and-over-furniture thing. I guess he understood people language and figured he had best pull at all the stops if he was going to survive.
Both recovered as ‘crispy critter’ buddies quite nicely, though the road be hard. Grady didn’t grow much after that. His gray eyes turned green, his fur the softest ever, and the end of his tail broke off. He couldn’t handle extreme temperatures anymore. Everywhere I went, he went. I could not go into the bathroom with out him following me. I could never be alone for a second. For awhile it drove me crazy. Finally Cliff’s mom said, “Kelly, he knows you are the one who pulled him out of cat hell.” Yes, water and steam would constitute a cat’s worst nightmare.
I have pondered this over the many years, because blocking it out was a luxury that never happened. Right before this incident I had decided God and I needed to be on speaking terms again. I am so glad, because I am so like Grady. I can get into more trouble going places I shouldn’t and need rescued. The Bible says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth….he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145: 18-19. That is what he has done for me and that is why I choose to follow him, no matter where he leads me.
Tonight I ask for prayer for someone near and dear to my heart. He has gotten himself in big trouble for going places he shouldn’t. My hope is that he calls on the Lord. That’s why he’s called Savior.
Thank you so much! If you have one on your heart, let me know as I will return the favor.