Cat and the credit line

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THE high finance of modern living might be amusing, and whilst sorting some leftovers from 1987, and before going to the dump, I found a check for $1,000, payable to my order, and I kicked up my heels and shouted goody-goody so the cat came from under the shop stove and climbed the broom handle onto the band saw. This is not my cat. I have no idea whose cat it is. It has one blue eye and one green eye and a yank in the tail that suggests it failed, at least once, to pass before the door shut.

I am not addicted to cats, being leery from memories from long ago when one disliked me. That one was a she, and she'd lurk in wait behind the grain chest and attack me when I dipped provender for Bossy. She'd come out with a snarl and climb my overalls, wreaking havoc en route, and in utter astonishment I'd naturally presume the Comanches had struck again.

I never did get used to her, and kind as I was in word and deed she persisted in disliking me until I moped a good deal and people thought I had a secret disturbance. But there was nothing secret about her attacks. She'd howl when she struck so people away down the road would cock a head and say, ``There she goes again!''

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So, in my present disposition and location I was not bothered by any thoughts that I should possess a cat. Some nine miles from me, and on the other side of the Meduncook River, is a woman who loves cats very much, and I permit her to exercise surrogate affection on my behalf - she loves cats enough for everybody. But I hasten to add that I am not disturbed by her peculiarity, and take no stand one way or the other if the question is politely put. I add that so people who like cats will understand and not unreasonably accuse me of a disingratiating attitude. I think the very fact that I let this two-eyed cat into my shop is good proof that I have my better side.

But I do ignore the thing. We have never had a conversation. She came in one day just before Rudy Barter's hound went by. Rudy's hound will chase about anything, and will go for cats if he's a mind to, and I surmised he'd chased this one all the way down from North Edgecomb. She loped into the shop and treed on my 10-foot stepladder. Rudy's dog is named Chum, so I said, ``Chum, you old fool - get out-a here and go home!'' Then the cat came down and went under the stove, and that's how that happened. So I was somewhat surprised, all in all, when the cat took an interest in this check, payable to me, for $1,000.

Thinking a thing like that wouldn't interest a cat is all right; it really didn't interest me, either.

Well, I used to have a gasoline charge card for Amoco. I have several such cards with other companies, and I use them. If I go one way I buy Gulf, and if I go the other way I get Mobil or Exxon. But there's no Amoco station around here that I know about, so I've not been a heavy customer. I think that's plausible. But my inactivity seemingly made somebody look at me, because early last Sept. I received the glad tidings that Associates National Bank of Pleasanton, Calif., was substituting my Amoco card with a MasterCard - now I could buy Amoco gasoline, but I could also buy anything and everything else anywhere in the world at 5 million places of business. I had all I could do to keep from rushing out to shout to the whole State o' Maine and tell everybody my good fortune. They told me they were extending a credit line of $2,500, and were sending me a check for $1,000 that I could use to buy my heart's desire.

It shows you what clean living will do.

This did seem to solve everything except where to find an Amoco station, but I was moody and brooded for a few days to think that after a successful career, and as the owner of some shares and some real estate, I was pegged in Calif. as a deadbeat after $2,500. I think this needs to be said, and I know it proved distressful to the cat. If I cash the check, it goes on my MasterCard and then will follow easy monthly payments. If I don't care to cash it, I may destroy it. Except that I am spared the bother of a decision - the check is void after 30 days from last Sept. 11.

Thus the high finance of modern living may - or may not - be amusing, and I have tacked the check on the shop wall for future, and frequent, reference. It gives the cat a welcome sense of security.

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