The Cat and the Park

We vacationed a lot when I was younger. My father was not a frugal man. He was a cheapskate, don’t get me wrong, but when it came to things he WANTED to do… he was a spender. I remember one of the last trips we made before moving to Black Mountain. We were staying in the Knights Inn, which was my FAVORITE at the time. The Knights Inn on 70 in Swanannoa had each of their rooms painted as a scene out of a story book. A castle stood on the top of a hill with a unicorn running through the meadow below. The murals were gorgeous, and enough to convince this six year old girl that there must TRULY be magic in the world if they would put it the walls of this simple hotel.

Next door to the hotel was a gas station and just behind that was an RV parking lot; nothing more than a resting place for people passing through. Separating the two was a little babbling creek. I asked my father to go explore, the creek and the woods called to me. We wound up in the little campground where I stumbled across this very large maine coon cat. He was a brown and black tabby with white splotches. He trotted over to us and we became fast friends. His owner belonged to one of the nearby RVs.

My father struck up a conversation with the man and his wife. They were just as original as the mountaineers and we were: the cat’s name was Kitty Boy. I was enamored with Kitty Boy. I wanted a cat of my own for ages. My parents had even tried to get me a kitten when I was smaller, but she was neurotic and quickly made an exit from our household. We owned an ancient Tom cat named Morris that my dad brought home from the V.F.W., but Morris was not my cat. Morris was an outside cat.

Kitty Boy rekindled my need for a cat. I don’t remember much of our trip that year. For all I can remember, it might have been the precursor to renting the Brown House and that was our trip to house hunt. But I remembered Kitty Boy, and every evening before we settled in to the hotel, I would beg to go visit him. My father was happy to oblige and Kitty Boy’s owners were very kind. They invited us over to relax each evening in their lawn chairs.

Kitty Boy and I would chase fireflies while mom and dad chatted with the RVers. It was a fantastic trip, and I was heartbroken when we had to leave. I even asked if we could take Kitty Boy with us, but alas, his owners were quite attached to him. So we said our goodbyes, and I started actively begging my parents for a cat.


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