Growing up in New Orleans, I was taught I could count on St. Anthony to help me find something lost – a way of wheeling and dealing with the saints. It only made sense that when my ancient, obese cat, Miss Eula, was missing, I would dig a hole in front of my house and bury a miniature St. Anthony. Not that she was worth it. Miss Eula was a demonic feline coated with long jagged red hair, huge green half-moon eyes and a mouth housing sharp 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 await me on The Other Side.
New Orleans is known for jungle-hot rainy August days where grass flourishes and sprouts on top of concrete, like a Chia Pet. Panicking that I couldn’t find the damn cat plus feeling stress at owning a home that would not sell, 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 large, multi-level 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. No exit. Rigamortis. Obviously St. Anthony had not done squat.
I spun and rotated the faux-covered leopard kitty condo all over the floor hoping the stiff 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 was not an intrusion 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 and throwing 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 attempting 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. Just a dead, bad-tempered, nasty Miss Eula.
After the realtors showed my house, Victor and I hauled the kitty condo back into the truck. Rolling and wobbling the large tube toward my 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. Times passed as I found myself restfully flying home feeling new-born from spending a month in the sun and salty ocean. My cell phone collected a few messages from the realtor saying some interest had peaked in my house for sale.
There was Victor on his porch peeling back Hershey kisses where I arrived. Peeking through the sun, my eyes captured a “SOLD” sign! No way! I speed dialed the realtor and St. Anthony, Patron Saint of Lost Things, worked! Yay, his Holiness, Amen. The realtor had a full price, all cash sale on my home. 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 a week away, buyers loved it and after the act of sale they would have their landscapers clear the yard and haul away all debris. I’m sure Miss Eula will be awaiting me on The Other Side.