Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, I was taught that I could count on Saint Anthony to help me find anything that had been lost – a way of wheeling and dealing with Saints. It only made sense that when my ancient, obese cat, Miss Eula, was suddenly missing, I would dig a hole in front of my house and bury a miniature St. Anthony statue. Not that she was worth it. Miss Eula was a demonic feline coated with jagged long red hair, huge, green half-moon eyes and a mouth housing sharp Chiclet teeth capable of shredding sheet metal. She hated everyone, was extremely disagreeable and would never have been kidnapped. I was also afraid to kill her knowing she would definitely await me on The Other Side.
Panicking that I couldn’t find the damn cat plus feeling stressed my house had been up for sale for over a year, I would have buried Baby Jesus alive underneath my house for luck. Frantically tossing furniture around inside and hurling clothes everywhere, I noticed a reddish piece of tangled hair dangling outside the carpeted kitty condo. Five hairs drooped out the second level hole. I bent down and squinted inside Miss Eula’s mansion –had she finally gone to her sweet rewards?!? Inside the condo. Deep in the hole. With no exit. Obviously St. Anthony had not done squat.
I spun and rotated the faux-covered leopard condo all over the floor hoping the body would eventually fall out. Pounding the condo, she was not going anywhere, stuck in her woman cave forever. I had to get her ass out of there somehow, especially since my realtor was showing my property that afternoon. This called for extreme action, like asking my Republican neighbor in boxer shorts, Victor, to haul and drive the condo embedded with said dislikable dead cat to my brother’s house for amputation of the building. This would not have been a problem considering the fact my neighbor’s entire social agenda consisted of sitting on his porch devouring several pounds of Hershey’s kisses. His daily output of energy was peeling the foil-covered candies like bananas tossing them into an old paint bucket.
Arriving at my brother’s Harry’s house, an unemployed bagel maker who managed to get fired for not bagging bagels quickly enough, Victor and I miserably tossed the entrenched Miss Eula into Harry’s garage. Harry used every Home Depot tool imaginable to surgically excise the cat from her woman cavity but to no avail. Apparently the condo was composed of particle board brewed from a recipe of nuclear waste, dirty diapers and plastic bottles. She would not budge. Those same five tangled red hairs dripped pathetically from the condo hole. No noise. No life. Only a dead, bad-tempered, nasty Miss Eula.
Harry and I hauled the kitty condo back into the truck and headed toward my house, the one that would not sell, for further investigation. Rolling and wobbling the large condo tube back into the yard, Miss Eula was positioned in all her glory against a crepe myrtle tree until I had more time to deal with her surly self. I had a month-long family trip planned and paid for, it was time for me to leave Miss Eula and hope a possible tornado, cyclone or some such violent event might sweep her away upon my return. Returning home, I felt like a new-born from spending a month in the sun and salty ocean. My cell phone that had purposely been turned off collected a few messages from the realtor saying some interest had peaked in my house up for sale.
Arriving home, there was Victor on his porch peeling back bags of Hershey kisses. Peeking through the sun, my eyes captured a “SOLD” sign. No way! I speed dialed the realtor. St. Anthony, Patron Saint of Lost Things, worked!!! Many thanks to his Holiness, Amen. That little rusty statue buried in the front yard finally delivered luck.
Like a sledgehammer hitting me, I parked in the back yard spotting a grass-covered mound tilted against the crepe myrtle tree. Oh My God, Miss Eula…the condo…dead…outside. Nervously, I dialed the realtor. All was good, the closing on the house was a week away, buyers loved it and after the act of sale they scheduled landscapers to clear the yard and haul away all debris. I’m sure Miss Eula will be awaiting me on The Other Side. With her surly, disagreeable self.