As I stated in a previous story, I have written about everything that held a memory for me. Some were good and some were bad, but most of them are on paper.This story happens back in the early ’40s. It was close to Christmas and the weather had been bad for almost a month. Working at construction this time of the year was rough. I had gone in only to be told to come back on Monday and, if the weather permitted, we would try to work.
I got my heavy coat down and put it on. I told my mother I was going to try to get us a rabbit for supper. Rabbit was a delicacy back in those days.
I went down to the railroad and headed toward the trestle that crossed the river. The field where the school is now was my favorite rabbit hunting place. It was grown up full of Broom Sage grass.
I left the tracks and went into the field. The rain turned into small pellets of ice. I began to walk, looking for a rabbit.
It didn’t take long for me to get several rabbits and head home. The ice pellets had turned into wet snow. It would stick to your clothes as if it was a magnet. I pulled the hood over my head as I stepped upon the tracks.
I lowered my face, trying to keep the snow from caking up on it. I hadn’t took a few steps when I heard something. A low meow. I searched the area but found nothing. I started toward home. Then I heard it again, very faint. I looked where the cross ties went under the rail. I looked all around on the inside of the rails. I gave up when the ice pellets turned into snow belting me in the face.
Then, as I started up the track I heard it again. I could not walk away from that pitiful little meow. I stepped over the rail and begin to look into the grass that grew down the side of the track. I had almost given up when, from a bunch of grass, I heard that pitiful little meow.
I bent over and pulled back the grass to where I could see. There, laying on its back with his feet stuck up into the air, was the smallest kitten I had ever seen. I put a glove on and picked it up. It had ice frozen all over it. I put it up to my ear to see if it was alive. I heard that pitiful little meow.
I always carried a towel stuck in my belt loop when hunting. I took the towel and began to dry him off. He was almost a cake of ice. I was amazed that he was still alive. With him dry, I took out my handkerchief. One of the big red ones. I wrapped him and stuck him into my shirt pocket.
On the way home I heard that little pitiful meow. I remember saying, “Take it easy, Pee Wee, I will get you warm in a few minutes.” That was when he got the name.
I handed my mother the rabbits and said, “Put them up and come in here, I want to show you something.” I unwrapped the small little cat and held it out to where she could see it. She took it, saying, “Why, it’s alive.” She took it, placed a small cushion in front of the fire and put the small kitten on it.
Setting down a small saucer of milk, she went into the kitchen. I put my finger in the milk and rubbed it on his lips. He began to lick it. With a belly full of milk and a warm fire, he went to sleep. All night long I watched over Pee Wee, making sure he was OK.
Pee Wee survived and began to fill out. I could tell that he would never be any size. Neighbors came to see Pee Wee and to hold him. He loved the attention. Most of the day he lay on the extra pillow on my bed and slept on the red handkerchief.
The red handkerchief was his and he knew it. I would fold it up and place it on a stand beside the bed. It would be on the floor when I came home, with him asleep on it.
There was never anything more loving than him. When I was at home he was with me. He was so small that we kept him in my room; we was afraid someone would come in and step on him. He was black and white with a white face and a black nose.
Life went on. Me and Pee Wee were as close as anyone could get with a small cat. He never changed, he kept his small meow. Then I had to leave and go with Uncle Sam for a while.
I had been out in the field for a week and the first thing when I got back was go get my mail.
A letter from home was on top I opened it first. The family was all right. Then I stopped, for the next line said “Pee Wee has died.” I don’t believe that I had anything hit me as hard as when I read Pee Wee was dead. I had gotten attached to him.
I couldn’t understand what had happened at that time. I finished my time with Uncle Sam and came back home. I got up early the first day at home and went out to where little Pee Wee was buried. I stood looking down at his grave.
Memories of little Pee Wee came back to me.
I could feel him in my shirt pocket. When I sat down, I remembered he would stick his head out of the pocket and let out the small meow.
He had been with us four years when I went into the Army. He had grown from a small kitten — no bigger, but full of hair He looked like a round fuzzy ball.
I remembered coming home from work one day to find my mother all tore up. She was looking for Pee Wee but could not find him. I went into my room and sat down on the side of the bed. I called him in a low voice. I waited for an answer. Then, from one of my Western boots, I heard “meow.” I picked up the boot and he came running into my hand. He had got the boot wedged against the bed post and couldn’t get out.
No matter what time I came in and went to bed I would have to scratch his stomach. If I ignored him he would crawl up to my face and put his nose against my forehead. He knew if he did that I would scratch his stomach.
Everyone who came in contact with Pee Wee loved him.
I looked down at the grave and remembered my mother saying he grieved his self to death. I remember saying, “Don’t worry little Pee Wee, we will play again one of these days.”
Then I turned, moving toward the house, and I heard a low “meow.”