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Daddy smiled. "Was it around nine o'clock?"
"Well yeah, Jim, I believe it was."
Daddy laughed. "You're lookin' at El Diablo. I chased those Mexicans off my land."
"Well hell, Jim, if I'd a known they was yours I'd a sent ‘em back."
But remember, Bill Ball loves his cats.
Hurricane Floyd, fifth and final one I saw in Watha (North Carolina), was worst. It came on heels of Hurricane Dennis, a rather weak one that hit us twice. The land was already flooded and river was seeping over banks. Then came Floyd. Not only was it destructive, but it hovered a while, raining and raining.
Bill Ball lives half a mile from river, which was higher than anyone remembered it being before. When road was under water, he crossed it to get his cats. He left them on porch, where they stayed for a while. Then they went under house, a favorite spot, and he forgot about them.
Hours passed, and river kept rising. Nobody in area had power at this point, and there was quite a bit of property damage. Meanwhile, rains kept coming. Bill and his wife were sitting in house, waiting it out by candlelight, when they heard an awful howling. It wasn't wind. It sounded terrible. It was coming from beneath floor.
Bill ran outside. The water came up to his waist, maybe higher. He waded over to a place where a pipe led from somewhere outside to beneath house. He pulled aside plastic and insulation that blocked hole, but both cats were too large to fit through it. He rescued a third cat, whose name I don't know.
Bill rushed into house, now thoroughly soaked. The screaming was terrible. Clipper and Keebles had maybe an inch of air, and water was still rising. These were screams of two cats who were drowning.
"Oh God, Bill, do something quick! Do something!"
Bill looked at his floor. His gorgeous, polished hardwood floor. It had his initials burned into it with a circle around them, I think. I never saw it myself, but I heard that it was a real work of art. He was so proud of that floor.
"Well," he decided, "It's probably ruined anyway."
Bill got his chainsaw and cut a hole in floor to save his drowning cats.
I told you, Bill Ball loves his cats.
Michael publishes a free weekly newsletter, WHO MOVED MY RICE?, which is dedicated to proving that you can't eat grits with chopsticks. http://www.chinarice.org