You already know I love cats. All cats. The pretty and the ugly; the old and the young; the healthy and the sick; the sweet and the mean; the housecat, the feral, the wild. I love them, all across the board.

I sometimes ask myself why I can’t extend that feeling of acceptance to my own species. Actually I think it do, to some extent. I try to empathize with people whose views are different than mine. (Some folks make that easier than others.) I strive to embrace diversity. But even so, I find myself standoffish. Maybe it’s the fear factor: some of these people can hurt me. But is the threat real or is it perceived? Is it the inborn instinct to fear what the unknown?

When I was a hippie back in the early seventies, I lived in the desert of southern California on a 40-acre stretch of unimproved wilds. The sections sold for $40 down and $40 a month, affordable even to us. The others who bought these parcels in the absolute midst of nowhere were a varied bunch, but we all had one thing in common: we were running from something.

We made unlikely friends with an older couple from Texas. In those days we would have described them as red-necks, and if you know anything of history, red-necks and hippies did not mix. Somehow though, in this wasteland of desert scrub, we found the things we had in common: whiskey, pool, chicken wings. We often got together for a few games and a few shots. For a long time, no one brought up our obvious differences, such as my boyfriend Tom’s long, long hair or the fact we were living in sin.

Then, at a Thanksgiving dinner of chicken wings and whiskey, it happened . The man, whose name I’ve long forgotten, began to rant about how much he hated the hippies. He went on for a several minutes while we just sat there wondering if we were about to be thrown out the door… or worse! (There was a shotgun above the kitchen table, and after all, this was country where a body would never be found.)

Suddenly he turned to Tom, looked him in the eye, and said, “Not you, of course. I’m not talking about you. I like you.”

The lesson I learned right then and there, and have never forgotten since, is that the fear of difference fades with association.

That said, I still get along better with cats.

Have a wonderful holiday, and try to be tolerant of those who are not the same as you. Then you can go home to your cats and be proud of a job well done.



About Mollie Hunt

Loves cats. Writes books.
This entry was posted in Cats, Life Through Amber, memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to THANKFUL FOR CATS

  1. Debbie says:

    Great post, Mollie. I can definitely relate. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fur kids.

  2. Bernadette says:

    It’s a wonderful story! And as part of our education we should be required to get to know as many people in the world as possible so that no one is a stranger.

  3. Brian Frum says:

    I think more of us can relate to that than you know. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us.

  4. jowensauthor says:

    It would be so nice if Gene Roddenberry’s dream about the acceptance of peoples’ differences would one day come true. Oh, well. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  5. Beautiful and so to the point–fear fades with association. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Such a great post, and one we should all learn by, but sadly we do not always, or we leave it too late. We wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

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