The plan was to haul a load of straw. Straw. Just straw. But, somehow, that plan changed about 100 bales into the load.
You see, when a couple of bales were moved, we discovered a litter of kittens living inside.
The kittens were just a bit larger than the palm of my hand. One of the men helping toss bales began to lift them out of their hidey-hole, and I was smitten.
I kept loading straw while peeking over my shoulder on nearly every trip. Then, when I went back for one bale, one of the guys helping us load handed me a tiny ball of orange fluff.
I kept it in my hand, cradled near my neck, while continuing to carry and stack bales with the other hand.
Of course, I knew my husband would notice, so I began crafting the speech I would give detailing the myriad reasons why we needed to take home this kitten.
As I was formulating the words, I was handed a second kitten, also a little orange guy. A minute later, a gray and white kitten was also in my hand.
Near the back of the trailer by this time, I gave up on the straw and stepped down to hold my bounty.
The kittens were at that perfect age: old enough to have their eyes open, but not old enough to be feral.
They crawled up my sleeves and perched on my shoulder, they nestled in to the hollow of my neck, and they mewled pitifully.
I began to recraft that speech to include all three babies. “We need some mousers in the barn,” I began.
As I thought what a good line it would be to remind my husband we have three kids and, therefore, any less than three kittens would simply encourage resentment between the children, I heard my name being called. The same gentleman who handed me the first kitten was gesturing me to follow him.
Around the back side of the straw stack, he pointed to where an orange kitten was clinging to a straw bale, attempting to climb back from where he came.
I reached out and picked it up as well. On my way back to the truck, I spotted a second gray and white kitten hiding underneath a feed sack.
“I might need a box,” I said. A container was soon procured.
We left the farm with all five kittens in tow, my husband shaking his head and chanting, “I love my wife; I love my wife; I love my wife,” all the way up the driveway.
We had to make a few stops before we arrived home, and at one, I was convinced to part with two of the orange kittens.
I still had the two gray and white kittens and one orange one.
When the kids got home from school, they squealed with sufficient joy that my husband finally smiled about our new acquisitions.
Currently, they are living in my mudroom because they are too little to get away from predators.
My husband is sure they will be in the barn in a short span of time. Me? I’m not so sure.
I’m busy writing another speech.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.