Often in these pages, a reader-submitted story will appear about a beloved cat or dog.
This story by Leon Hatfield, veteran reporter and rewrite man, appeared on Page One of The Oklahoman on Dec. 16, 1937.
I hope it gives a chuckle to those who have been owned by cats and to those familiar with their ways:
Ding Dong Bell
Pussy’s in the well.
Who got her in?
Little Johnny Green.
Who took her out?
Little Johnnie Stout.
— Nursery Rhyme
A bob-tailed black cat Wednesday rewrote the old nursery rhyme. The cat didn’t have much time to polish up the rewrite but it went about like this:
Ding Dong Fire Bell
Where’s the cat that’s raising hell?
Way down in the dark old well.
Who fetched her up so she could chew us?
Nobody we swear, but Arkansas Lewis.
Black cats are bad luck. They are bad luck even to black cats. Bill Blagg, deputy sheriff, has always known black cats are bad luck, but he thought when he found a bob-tailed black cat it would trim the danger some.
He took the cat to George Angerman, superintendent of the courthouse. He told Angerman it was a nice cat, a good mouser and true lover of home and fireside. Angerman gave the cat some milk and turned his head. When he looked again the milk and cat were gone.
Two days lapsed, during which persons passing down the alley north of the courthouse would stop and listen to the melody of a distant cat which they took to be singing the “Love Song” from that widely known production, “The Alley Fence.”
It wasn’t until Wednesday that someone decided the cat was singing what it took to be a swan song. Investigation revealed the cat had tumbled or had been pushed into an abandoned well beneath a loading dock across the alley north of the courthouse.
The fire department was called. A big hook and ladder truck responded and the firemen got down on their tummies under the dock and called “Kitty, kitty,” as the fire manual says they should do under such circumstances.
The cat only wailed louder. The firemen made torches of newspaper and held them down in the well the better to see. The cat began demanding apologies from the Japanese emperor.
Finally that husky H.M. “Arkansas” Lewis tossed off his hat and let himself down the old well shaft. The cat climbed him and he climbed after the cat while a gathering crowd cheered.
The cat showed no appreciation. It glared maliciously at one and all and sneered:
“What’s been keeping you guys? Pst. Pst.”
Angerman took the beast into his arms and with it yowling and clawing headed toward milk.
Christmas is over, the presents unwrapped, the dinner eaten, the ballgames watched and this year’s Christmas memories made.
Newspapers used to have the luxury of space and often would publish poetry written by its readers.
This poem by Hazel Fletcher was published in The Oklahoman on Dec. 28, 1970.
She titled it “The Aftermath,” and it seems appropriate for the holidays.
“‘Twas the day after Christmas and you’d never guess / Where once there was order, there’s now such a mess.
“The pieces are scattered throughout the house, / There’s not even room for a little bitty mouse.
“Boxes and ribbons and much colorful paper, / The poor Christmas tree and the burned out taper.
“A hammer has hammered the lesser of toys, / The walking doll’s crippled by the rougher of boys.
“The truce is now over — children fight as before, / There’s a let-down feeling — can’t take any more.
“But regardless of the trouble, anxieties and din / We’d open our hearts and do it again.
“So memories are stored with memories from the past, / And love for them all will ever last.”
Hazel Fletcher of Purcell, now Hazel Nicholas of Marietta, had her poems published in The Oklahoman at least 12 times.
My memory of Christmas 2011 will be of the “wonky” Christmas tree.
My aunt Grace Helms, 88 years young, decided to decorate her 7-foot tree a row at a time, adding lights and decorations as she went.
It had 12 rows, but somehow rows 10, 11 and 12 were left on the back porch. When the top was added to the unstable wobbling tree, now only about 5 feet tall, it made for a “wonky tree.”
A new pre-lit tree was acquired, decorated and stands beautifully in the corner while the old one, with lights, decorations and tinsel, was delivered to a new family who had no tree, just in time for Christmas.
I hope this Christmas has given you wonderful memories to add to ones already made.