THE CHRISTMAS CAT
by Melody Carson
This is a feel good story that brings into play the spirit of Christmas!
Garrison Brown had just learned from his grandmother’s lawyer that she had passed away. A sudden overwhelming feeling of guilt made him collapse onto a chair in tears.
After his parents had been killed in an accident 22 years earlier, Gram had lovingly taken him in. She was always there for him through his school years, through his 6 years of volunteer work in Uganda and even when he returned, barely surviving a bout with malaria.
Yet, even though he was but a bus ride away he had only made one quick visit since his return. Now it was too late to spend Thanksgiving week with her as he had planned.
He took a bus to Vancouver and after the funeral met with the lawyer. He was her only heir and it fell to him to sort through her belongings. He learned that her will was what you might call “unconventional”. Even though Gram had lived frugally, she was a lady of means, which was a total surprise to Garrison.
His grandmother had six cats and knowing his allergic reaction to them did not expect him to keep them. However, she made stipulations for their placement and was hoping he would be their guardian and find them each a proper home. He was shocked to learn that each cat would have an endowment of $10,000! Deep down he sadly acknowledged the cats were worth more than he was, and rightly so.
With a determined conscience he accepted the responsibility even though he felt his Gram’s requirements were above and beyond. How would he find one, let alone six, homes with those perimeters? Each cat had to remain in the surrounding neighborhood, the new owner was subjected to a surprise visit to ensure the cat was a good fit for that home and three weeks later another final visit. Under no circumstances was the new owner to know about the endowment. The money would be awarded at the last visit.
Garrison took on this impossible challenge and along the way made discoveries about himself and about his Gram’s cats. As the days moved on his allergy seemed to abate. He became particularly attached to Harry, a Maine Coon.
His struggles to find the “right” home for each cat were met with humor, touches of sadness and happiness, and yes, even romance. It is heartwarming as the stories of each prospective home unfold.
Five of the cats became comfortably settled and only Harry remained. Garrison was torn as he really liked this cat and they had bonded. However, he had a potential buyer for his grandmother’s house and he had to hurry back to a new job and apartment in Seattle. There was no place for a cat in his life.
Not following protocol and meeting the whole family, he reluctantly gave Harry to a father who said his children sorely missed their dog who had just passed away. They weren’t ready for another dog but Harry sounded as if he would be good for them instead.
On Christmas Eve Garrison made his final visit and disbursed the $10,000 checks to very, very surprised and elated recipients! His last and most difficult stop was to say goodbye to Harry. A disheveled woman answered the door and confused finally realized he was inquiring about the cat her husband had brought home. The cat had run off and had left over a week prior. The preadolescent son laughed saying his dad had brought the cat home because of rumors about a million dollar cat.
Garrison could not believe what was happening. Harry had been missing for a week! He started driving around the streets calling his name. Then he called the area vets. Nothing!
“Oh, Harry!” he lamented. “What have I done!”
He went back to his Gram’s house, totally devastated. He had let his grandmother down, he had let Cara, the girl he was falling in love with down, he had even let himself down…
While he was reprimanding himself the doorbell rang. When he opened the door he thought he was seeing a vision – a vision that turned this into the best Christmas Eve ever!
The mini adventures that Garrison encounters in placing the cats turns the story into a warming experience and leaves the reader with a happy feeling for the holidays. A wonderful book to read for the Season! – Marilu Shellie