WELL HE HAS done it. Koda-The-Forest-Kitten has accomplished the seeming impossible. He has made Mom (Kathy) absolutely dissolve in laughter. Tears streaming down her face, barely able to breathe. For 10 minutes. Maybe 12. Even 15? Just look at that innocent face. How did he do it?

Kathy was reading her phone, checking emails. One came across the transom that was unwelcome and annoying in some way. The third or fourth one. She was in no mood. So, from the comfort of her reclining chair in the living room, with Koda close by, she let out a… what? Frustrated exclamation? No. More a primitive yet evocative sort of howl. Along the lines of, “Aaaaaaachhhhhh!!!” Whatever it was, it was loud. And scary. And Koda, who fears nothing except the vacuum cleaner and the snowblower, burned rubber. He scorched the earth. In an instant, ears laid flat, eyes peeled back, he was headed at warp speed for Wyoming. Or at least the back porch, throw rugs flying in his wake.

And Kathy dissolved. In further howls—of laughter. Which was, evidently, even more scary—and therefore funny—which caused even more shrieks and screams and gasping efforts to breathe. Koda attempted to return, to see what was the source of Mom’s obvious terror. But he crept back at such a snail’s pace, one paw every 3 seconds, ears still flat, head on a swivel, that Mom laughed even harder, and harder, and could not stop. Which was, again, frightening.

So finally, in an effort to let Kathy breathe and Koda to recover himself, he was put outside, in the cold-but-safe great outdoors, where—with the snowblower put away—the only monsters are deer and foxes and such, with whom he has no problem. And after a suitable passage of time, during which Kathy dried her eyes and caught her breath, Koda came back in, and checked carefully to see that Mom was OK, and stalked slowly all around the house. To make sure we would all be safe. Which we are. Although I’m not sure Koda really believes it. It could take a while.

(Yes, that’s lemon meringue pie, from Perkins. The meringue is therapeutic after trauma. And no, he’s not spoiled.)

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