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The Extraordinary Cats of Riverstone: Chapter Six

Updated on July 3, 2012

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Munchkin in the box.
Munchkin in the box. | Source

We Meet Some New Friends

After a wonderful dinner, the four of us gathered around the campfire to share wonderful stories of our past with one another. Munchkin shared a story of when he was a kitten living at his foster home.

One day Munchkin brought in bunch of oak tree leaves from outside his home and made a huge pile in the center of the living room. Once Munchkin was satisfied with the amount of leaves he gathered, he would run as fast as his small kitten legs could carry him and take a huge leap in the air, landing on the pile of leaves.

“Weeeeeee!” shouted Little Munchkin.

He repeated this at least ten times before tiring out; and by the last jump, the leaves were pretty much scattered throughout the entire room. When his foster mother saw the mess in the morning, she about flipped her lid. Munchkin, knowing he was in trouble ran into the broom closet and hid.

“So, what happened Munchie?” I inquired. “Did you get in trouble?”

“I did,” replied Munchkin. “I had to clean up all the leaves. Plus, I had to clean the entire house from top to bottom. My little paws were sore when I finally finished.” The professor smiled.

“Why did you smile Professor?”

“Well, when I was a small kitten, I led a trail of bread crumbs from the lake to my father’s class. These ducks not only enjoyed the bread I was giving them; it appeared that they wanted to get educated as well, because all the ducks went into the classroom. The students loved it. It gave them a break from the boring lecture.” Munchkin smiled. I elbowed Munchie in the arm.

“How did your father’s professor feel about the ducks in his classroom?” I asked.

“He didn’t like it one bit. He shooed all the ducks away. However, there was one that didn’t want to leave. It gave the poor professor a run for his money. By the time he caught the duck, it was time to leave. It was the most fun the students had all semester!”

“Professor, did your father get mad at you for bringing in those ducks?” Munchkin asked.

“Maybe for a second he was upset, because he gave me a stern look. But after a moment he rubbed my head, and gave me a big hug. He said that he was feeling stressed out by all the studying that he had to do that it was a welcome relief to have a good laugh. He told me that laughter was very good for the soul.” When the Professor said the word “soul,” we could see tears fall from his eyes. Munchkin patted the Professor on the back. He hugged Munchkin. Then Chai and I joined in.

“Are you okay, Professor?” asked Chai. The Professor put his paw on Chai’s shoulder.

“Yes, my dear. I’m just remembering that’s all.” Chai nodded her head. “You see. My father wasn’t very good at saying “I love you.” Instead, he showed it by his actions. Some said he was a cold cat because he didn’t ever say these three words. However, in my eyes he was the kindest cat in town. He would drop whatever he was doing to lend a helping hand.” The Professor wiped another tear from his eye. I saw tears fall from Chai’s eyes as well.

“When I was a small kitten, I tried out for the school play. This wasn’t easy for me, since I am really shy, but I decided to go for it anyway, because being in the theater is my dream. But when it came time for tryouts, I forgot my lines, and some not so friendly kittens made fun of me. They told me that I was wasting my time, because I wasn’t the theater type. I cried and ran all the way home. My parents did their best to comfort me, but I was deeply hurt. How could a fellow cat say hurtful things to another?” The Professor put his paw on Chai’s shoulder and kissed her head. “After an hour had passed, my theater director showed up to my house, and told me that she would help me. She informed me that she would work with me every day until I mastered my lines. I ran up to the director and gave her a great big bear hug. She smiled. In one week, I mastered all the lines and was in the play.” We all smiled.

It was really wonderful to hear all these amazing stories of love and support. We often underestimate the power of love and its many forms. Munchkin’s foster mother loved him very much, but she didn’t want Munchkin to make piles of leaves inside the house. If he wanted to do it outside, that was quite alright with her. Even though his foster mother didn’t have a Mr. Cat in her life, she did the best she could in raising Munchkin. She treated him as if he was her own. She supported Munchkin in his woodworking endeavors. It was great to hear the Professor share beautiful words about his father’s acts of kindness. I strongly believe that acts of kindness can transform our world. The Professor said that kindness is unconditional love demonstrated. I was moved when Chai shared her story. I thought it was absolutely beautiful that her theater director offered her help. She didn’t have to help out. That wasn’t her job. But she didn’t do it because she had to. Chai’s director did it because she wanted to. She was also very impressed with Chai’s passion for the theater. She had never seen a cat that had as much love for the theater as Chai has. There is a famous saying: “The teacher appears when the pupil is ready.”

“That is wonderful, my dear,” replied the Professor. The Professor put his paw over his heart. “Chai, your theater director understands this.” Chai nodded. “What good is a heart if we don’t use it. We are, here, on this planet to love and help one another. The Professor placed his paw over his heart again. Those that do not come from this place do not understand life.” We all nodded our heads. I wiped a tear from my eye. The professor gestured at me. It was my turn to share a story.

“Growing up I had learning difficulties. I was two years behind in reading; I struggled with many subjects; and had great difficulties with writing. I know this sounds strange now, since I am a writer; however, there was a time when I hated writing. It just didn’t make any sense. I thought I was stupid. I felt stupid. Some even told me that I wouldn’t amount to anything in life. They said I would be a “nobody” for the rest of my life. But this changed in high school, when Mr. Bilby stepped into my life. He understood what I was going through, because he also struggled with learning difficulties. He said the problem had to do with different learning styles and schools only catering to a few styles. Those that have different learning styles often get left behind.” The Professor nodded his head. "Mr. Bilby gave me a learning test and what we discovered is that my strengths are Nature and Touch. I am also an Audio Learner, but this is not as strong as Nature and Touch.”

“Wow, I wonder what kind of learner I am,” said Munchkin. I gave Munchkin a stern look. “Sorry.” I smiled at Munchkin.

“I'll get to your question in a moment, Munchie,” I replied. “Well, let me get back to the story. Oh, that’s right. When I realized that Nature and Touch were my strengths, everything fell into place. I began connecting with nature and my schooling greatly improved, and for the first time in my life, I started winning awards for my writing.” We all smiled. “I have Mr. Bilby to thank for that. He believed in me when everyone else gave up on me.”

“That is a beautiful story, my dear,” said the Professor. “It is amazing when we can recognize ourselves in others. Mr. Bilby saw himself in you. He knew what it was like to struggle through school. His act of kindness transformed your life. Never underestimate the power of kindness.” As the Professor finished his statement, two squirrels went up to the Professor and handed him an acorn each. “Why thank you,” said the Professor to each squirrel. “I am Professor Cairo. This is Chai, Sedonia, and Munchkin.” We all smiled.

“I am Jessie,” replied the squirrel on the left.

“I am Tammie,” replied the other one.


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    • Terry27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terry Fatland 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Marie, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It is absolutely amazing how powerful kindness is. Supporting others feels good to the soul. I think a lot of so-called learning disabilities would disappear when we realize that there are different intelligences to consider. Many of us have beautiful gifts that we do not realize we possess. We don't notice them because we compare ourselves to others.

      That is very interesting that you mentioned that I blended spirituality and psychology. Like you, I have studied psychology. I think these two things can compliment one another very well. Thank you for voting my hub up and awesome. :)

    • VioletSun profile image


      6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I enjoy how you teach lessons on kindness, supporting one another and touch on the challenge of having a learning disability and overcoming it. It will help many children who are experiencing this. You blend spirituality and psychology very well.

      Voted up and awesome!


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