Wednesday, September 22, 2021
HomeRecommendedOur Old Yellow Tomcat, 1965-66

Our Old Yellow Tomcat, 1965-66

In 1965, I was living the white bread, “Leave it to Beaver” dream in Irving, Texas. What today is almost a rent house ghetto was all shiny and new back then. Mom, dad, two brothers and myself made up an old fashioned family. We had all we could imagine or needed. It was a happy home.

One day a big yellow Tomcat came around and I gave him a bowl of milk. That made him our family cat because he just moved in on us. You know how it is when you feed a stray. James Bond was the rage in the 60’s and so we called our new pet Goldfinger. If he had been a she, we’d have name her Pussy Galore, for certain.

Goldfinger was a big cat, half again the size of most cats. He whipped every cat and half the dogs in the neighborhood but he was really gentle and snuggly around the family. When anyone scratched his ears, he would purr so loudly he sounded like a blender on low speed.

I remember those “other world” noises Goldfinger made when he got lucky. That tended to be in the hedges, right below the window by my bed. Man, that was something to wake up to. A few times, I saw him courting and I must say he would get a heck of a scratching to get to home base. I thought that was strange but now married for forty-one years, I sorta understand. Anyways, there were a lot of yellow kittens for blocks and blocks.

My two brothers and I had the run of the neighborhood back then. It was safe in 1965. The only rule was to be home for dinner. There were about 15 acres of oaks and elms right behind our house. It was heaven behind Glen Loch Dr. We boys climbed those trees and walked every inch of the 15 acres. There were big crawdads in the shallow ditch that ran through it. You could tie a small chunk of bacon to a piece of string and they would latch on and not let go until you yanked them off to drop them in a mason jar. We took them home to play with. We caught a lot of crawdads that summer of ’65. I didn’t catch any girls that summer. Wasn’t interested.

Old Goldfinger liked those woods, as well. He would often disappear for a half day, going on the hunt for baby cottontails and the huge rats that lived in that patch of wilderness behind our house. He always brought his catch back home to us, chewed a bit, but still alive. He would bring it to the back yard where he would play with it, sometimes for an hour. If it was a baby rabbit, he would release it to let it run five feet or so and pounce on it. He did this over and over. If it was a rat, he would toss it in the air about 2 feet and catch it on the way down. He would play with these critters until they gave up the ghost and then he would deposit them on the doorstep. I figure in his cat-brain he was paying his board and keep.

In the fall of ’66 we brothers noticed a lot of surveyor’s stakes on our playground. Mother read in the local paper that a big discount store and a retail strip was going to be built in our woods. Despite the fact that somebody kicked down every stake, the dozers and the graders had their way. They quickly stripped the land clear of every tree and blade of grass except one giant oak that was right behind our house. They saved that one for last and I thought maybe they would leave it. Then, on a summer afternoon, I watched over the back fence as the dozer operator tried to take the mammoth tree down. The four foot thick trunk wouldn’t budge at all. To my dismay, the dozer attacked a huge limb about 6 feet in the air. As the giant machine strained against the limb, huge plumes of diesel smoke billowed into the hot, still air. After a minute or so, there was a loud crack and the limb split away down the middle of the trunk of the tree. It didn’t take long, after that. I went inside the house and pouted for the rest of the day.

A few months later, we got a flyer in the mail saying Treasure City (that was its real name) would be having a grand opening. I wasn’t interested at all. I was still in mourning. Somebody had laid my trees low to build the shops high. Shoppers called the place paradise. I couldn’t understand why (apologies, Don Henley).

The big store opened to huge crowds. The acres of asphalt filled with cars from miles around. Treasure City was the first big discount store to come to Irving, although K-Mart wasn’t too far behind. Right away I renamed the place “Trash City”, a name that stuck and became used all over the neighborhood.

I hated it, my paradise lost. Now we had a lot of asphalt behind the house, radiating a lot of heat. We had the cars and the noise too. Teenagers used the back part of the lot to do donuts and work on their night moves. Old Goldfinger wasn’t happy with the turn of events either. Not long after Treasure City opened, Goldfinger went away.

I’m 60 years old now and I’ve learned a lot of what we love the most goes away, in time. It happens with our friends, our family members, our lovers and our animals. Not always, but too often we bring these break-ups on ourselves. This is the high price of our imperfection, of too much “me”.

Right now I am really worried about the country I love. I don’t want it to go away. It is the one hurt I can not bear because if it happens, while the blame will be mine, the judgment will fall most heavily on those dearest to me.

texasgalt
Texas native. Conservative small businessman with 31 years experience. Government should roll back the nanny state. No country can tax its way to prosperity. The question isn't who will let me but who will stop me?

12 COMMENTS

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12 COMMENTS

  1. In an odd bit of irony I just saw this video clip yesterday and happened to think back on the similar woods described here. Out in the morning and back before dark. If there was something left over you ate, otherwise you better be home at dinner time. Copperheads, crawdads, ticks, you name it, there was a lot going in the those woods. Lunch was served by just stopping to pick up something; berries, fruits, nuts, etc. And if you were adventurous an odd beehive always donated some honeycomb for some chewing gum that would last all day. It gave you strong jaw muscles too!

    Winters spent by campfires on the creek. Getting lost after dark and finally finding your way back home in pitch black. Life was a lot simpler then.

    While the woods is still there along with my memories, the stuff taking place now is starting to align with most any tinfoil hat horror show you could imagine. Seeing this occur before your very face is enough for anyone to ask; What have we done?

  2. In my book “development” and “improvement” are dirty, dirty words. Maybe I’m not a very good capitalist (Desert Solitaire is still one of my favorite books).

    Do we really need all those strip malls and do all our parks, local and national, have to have bigger asphalt parking lots? If people could just get off their lazy patoots and walk or bike we’d have plenty of “Green” to go around!

    And yes it is sad the judgement will not fall on us, but on our kids and theirs. We’ve done what the tom cat did–walked away and left the mess.

    • There has been some interesting “developments” in the urbanization of middle America. Back when people only went to town for supplies once in a while during the days of our agrarian society to finding work in the big cities. As people migrated back to suburban territories to live, the city life started to follow them back home.

      I think there is a sort of generational evolution taking place where people are going back to their roots in search for those simpler times. Not that they were easier, but for the perceived freedom they feel.

      It seems this may have been just in time, when you look at the current events taking place.

    • I’m not afraid of concrete or development that has a valid purpose. Life moves along and sometimes we look back and feel melancholy. It’s mostly ok, I think. Old Goldfinger probably moved on to another place with rats and rabbits.

      It’s not ok to hand over our culture and let the statists steal our money and our freedom. There’s no where else to go. We have got to make it here in this country, the only hope left. 🙂

  1. In an odd bit of irony I just saw this video clip yesterday and happened to think back on the similar woods described here. Out in the morning and back before dark. If there was something left over you ate, otherwise you better be home at dinner time. Copperheads, crawdads, ticks, you name it, there was a lot going in the those woods. Lunch was served by just stopping to pick up something; berries, fruits, nuts, etc. And if you were adventurous an odd beehive always donated some honeycomb for some chewing gum that would last all day. It gave you strong jaw muscles too!

    Winters spent by campfires on the creek. Getting lost after dark and finally finding your way back home in pitch black. Life was a lot simpler then.

    While the woods is still there along with my memories, the stuff taking place now is starting to align with most any tinfoil hat horror show you could imagine. Seeing this occur before your very face is enough for anyone to ask; What have we done?

  2. In my book “development” and “improvement” are dirty, dirty words. Maybe I’m not a very good capitalist (Desert Solitaire is still one of my favorite books).

    Do we really need all those strip malls and do all our parks, local and national, have to have bigger asphalt parking lots? If people could just get off their lazy patoots and walk or bike we’d have plenty of “Green” to go around!

    And yes it is sad the judgement will not fall on us, but on our kids and theirs. We’ve done what the tom cat did–walked away and left the mess.

    • There has been some interesting “developments” in the urbanization of middle America. Back when people only went to town for supplies once in a while during the days of our agrarian society to finding work in the big cities. As people migrated back to suburban territories to live, the city life started to follow them back home.

      I think there is a sort of generational evolution taking place where people are going back to their roots in search for those simpler times. Not that they were easier, but for the perceived freedom they feel.

      It seems this may have been just in time, when you look at the current events taking place.

    • I’m not afraid of concrete or development that has a valid purpose. Life moves along and sometimes we look back and feel melancholy. It’s mostly ok, I think. Old Goldfinger probably moved on to another place with rats and rabbits.

      It’s not ok to hand over our culture and let the statists steal our money and our freedom. There’s no where else to go. We have got to make it here in this country, the only hope left. 🙂

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