The cat got too close to the wood furnace.

Sap was boiling atop in a pan.

Uncle got angry – never liked that brown cat.

He grabbed it, and stuck its tail in the small door for ash removal  at the stove

He slammed the door,


The cat twisted – writhing,wailing, trapped.

Uncle calmly waited.

The sap cooked to syrup.

Hot red coals and white gray ashes singed the tail off.


He opened the door.
The cat, now free, ran off, and got a name: “Stubby.”

Uncle dropped more wood through the stove top.

Wonderful golden maple syrup, soon ….


“Stubby” stayed around for years,

Many other cats and dogs didn’t.

A shot from his .22 or.30.-30 in the woods.

Grandmother heard it.


She never asked about her missing cats or dogs.

New ones always showed for milk and mush,

“Stubby,” too ….



Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, late January 2014

Author: Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners – when asked!


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