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I recently uncovered one of my grandmother’s whimsical poems. She was a prolific writer who could write everything from philosophical essays to silly poems for her children and grandchildren.

One day…
At a spray pool, near a day school,
A fat gray cat and a lean white rat,
Sat down on a mat to have a fine chat.

About fifty feet down the street,
As an alley where playmates meet,
A mean little brat with nothing better to do,
Was kicking at a vat with the top of his shoe.

The mean little brat spied the gray cat and white rat
Sitting on a mat, having a chat.
“Oho,” said the brat, I’ll soon put a stop to THAT!
I can’t stand for fat cats to plat footsies with lean rats.

With head bent low, nose to the ground
He scouted around like a blooded hound
Until a fat wood slat he found.

“He, he, he,” he giggled with glee,
Watch me have a dog-gone spree.
With one clean swat, I’ll scat the cat, bean the rat,
Then, “ho, ho, ho,” make them flee up the tree.

He sneaked around without a sound
Until he stood, as near as he could,
Behind the fat cat and lean rat
Deep in their soulful chat.

Lifting the slat like a baseball bat,
Making sure his grip was steady,
He braced himself, he got ready,
He got set…

Hey there… hold it…
Is everybody read?
Is everybody set?
Is everybody watching the mean little brat?

All right, then…
Here we go…
Ready… Aim… Bombs a-WAY…

Swish… POW… BOOM…
Wow! He missed!
“Drats!” little brat hissed.

With a start…
Gray cat and lean rat, whirled ‘round,
Mouths agape, eyes ‘astound.
In heaven’s name, what kind of game…

Mean brat was already lifting the slat,
Getting ready, another swat.
This he time, he’d not miss.
Or his name wasn’t Sthunkie Bliss.

This time, no getting ready, no getting set
He was shooting off like a hopped-up jet.

He pulled back to fire up…


What was THAT?
Mean brat jumped and let out a yowl.
He stood stock still,
But through his bones ran a chill
Then head turned ‘round,
Mouth agape, eyes ‘stound.
And when he saw… WOW… he almost
Fainted to the ground.

What was it he did see?
Well, there by the tree
Stretched on the ground,
Behind a tall mound,
Never making a sound,
Was a big black, curly-haired hound!

Slowly… like a status come to life,
Hound dog rose up on haunches
Big as fat men’s paunches.
His muscles began to quiver,
His tail gave warning with a shiver.

His face took on a scowl.
From his throat came a growl…
Who dare swing a bat at my friend the cat,
And my friend the rat,
Especially when I’m listening to
Their interesting chat?
Who dare!

Now who do you think began to shiver and shake
Like a lump of unbaked jelly cake?
And who do you think dropped the slat,
Started to run like a scaredy cat?

The man little brat?
You’re right. You’re hooten’ right.

And those feet pounded up the tree
Like they were being chased by a bumble-bee?
The mean little brat’s?
You’re right. You’re hooin’, tootin’ right!

And who laughed and giggled
Until their ears wiggled and whiskers squiggled?
Fat cat, lean rat, blooded hound, and everyone else around?
You’re right. You’re hootin’, tootin’, shootin’ right.

And who should be washing dishes, scrubbing floors
Soaping jelly-prints off kitchen doors,
Instead of messing around with
Fat cats, lean rats, and mean brats,
Blooded hounds atop grassy mounds
Coconut trees, and bumble-bees
Spray pools and day schools?

Who? Who?

You’re wrong! You’re hootin’, tootin’, double-shootin’ wrong!
YOU should be helping your Mom with
Washing dishes, scrubbing floors,
Soaping jelly-prints off kitchen doors…

So hop to it, and don’t you cry,
Everything will be automated bye’ n’ bye.
Just wait until your Mom hitches a ride on a fly
To catch up with Daddy’s promise of pie-in-the-sky.

Rose Ridnor