When I steered Gracie,Romeo and P-Nut off of Hamline and onto Hartford, I should have known trouble was brewing.
It was the last week of the longest-coldest winter that I have ever experienced, and planted in the middle of my street was Reynolds, and he was flagging me to come over.
Now for the start of a story, that might not seem like much to you, but I know one thing about Reynolds that you don't.........
He doesn't like me, one bit!
Now he's not the kind of guy who would confess to that.
And afterall....Reynolds might be a good egg, but he is 1/2 my age and has spent all of his life in the world of academics.
In his world, everything is theory, everything is politically correct.
Our conflict started the previous summer at the neighborhood "Night Out" party, you know....the deal where you get together and brainstorm how to keep your community safe....one street at a time.
Well, Klecko isn't a huge fan of such things, after all...when my house got jacked and the thugs cleaned us out, it was a Thursday between 1-2:30 p.m.
Some of my "Watch Dog" neighbors informed my after the fact that the salt & pepper combo that carried out my 1000 inch plasma TV looked like they could have been my sons friends....as they loaded piles of gear into a truck parked in my alley.
So anyway, I'm at the neighborhood night out thing and Sue McGleno is telling a herd of women how some idiot that looked like Charles Manson came ringing our doorbell at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
The rain was coming down in bucket loads, thunder was clapping like it does in a Vincent Price movie.
All 4 dogs were yelping at the top of their little lungs.
So I opened the door and I swear to the Polish Christ.......
Dude about 24ish to 27ish...maybe 5' 10" weighing in at 150#'s soaking wet (and he was literally)is standing on my stoop.
His hair was shoulder length, but it was sickly and stringy looking from the rain.
His wardrobe consisted of one pair of white gym shorts that were wet and matted to his body in a way that j-u-s-t seemed a little creepy to me.
The white shorts weren't progressive white shorts. They didn't have a Nike swoosh or the 3 Adidas bars.
Shoot...there wasn't even any detailed pin stripes or seperate color waist band.
Those shorts looked like they were ripped off from the Chariots of Fire movie set.
But the creepiest-creepiest-creepiest thing about this guy was revealed to me as he stood illuminated by my stoop light.
Soggy man was carrying an empty white Tupperware bowl in his left hand. It looked like it might have been a Cool Whip container.
When I opened the door, my dogs were going ape, and Charles Manson's little brother stood their shivering........
"Why are you ringing my doorbell at 1:30 in the morning?" I asked the guy.
Now Sue McGleno has to get involved and starts barking questions louder than the pack of pooches....
"Who is this guy, what does he want?"
I couldn't even aknowledge her, I felt like if I turned my head for even a split second, this guy would toss his wirey Gollum frame on me and slit my throat.
"I'm staying at some peoples house around here and I am locked out. I was..."
That was all I needed to hear.
"Hey idiot, I don't know you, look at yourself. You need to call the cops for help. if not... I will call them. If you are'nt gone in 5 seconds....I'm coming out!"
So dude left.
As Sue McGleno shared this story, the neighborhood hens laughed and voiced their surprise that I didn't terminate the freak.
Thats when Reynolds wife spoke up and said.....
"He's our friend,he was watching our house and he got locked out and was coming to you for help."
So I kinda laugh and explained that at 1:30 when you are naked, with wet serial killer hair, 8th grade gym trunks and a plastic Tupperware bowl, the "Regular Guy" rule declares that somebody skull crushes you.
So now Reynolds wife is pissed and raises her voice in defense of the Samaritan way.
I told her to grow up or move back to Oz.
So now Reynolds hears this conflict and comes over to investigate.
When he got a grasp on the conversations topic, he was put in an awkward position.
His wife was really upset and wanted immediate justice cloaked over my head, with the noose pulled tight.
Reynolds can't bench more than 100#'s.
Now I felt bad for the position he was in, but I didn't pull back. I reiterated that when you jepordize a families security.....you have to expect the hammer.
So anyways, that's why Reynold's thinks I'm a jerk.
He disagrees whole hearted with my stance, but none the less, I digress.
There he stood almost knee deep in the blanket of snow that had recently covered Hartford Ave.
"MEOW......MEOWWWWWWW" goes a pussy cat that I can't seem to place on my radar.
Reynold points up towards the bare tree tops that create a frame which serves as a foilage canopy during warmer moments.
"That cat has been up there since 9 O'Clock last night...thats 14 hours ago. It's afraid to come down. He's simply too far up."
Meow.....Meow......Meow continued this cat in a perfect rythem.
When I asked whose cat it was, Reynolds told be that it's name was Oscar, and he lived in the big blue house that stood behind this huge boulevard oak where the cat was trapped.
Oscar was so high up that even when we leaned a fully extended extention ladder, this trapped kitty was still 20 some feet over outstretched arms.
After that attempt was foiled, I rang the doorbell of this blue house and the women said she had placed some calls.......
"Yeah....I called the fire department, but they said that they don't rescue cats from trees. That was just a misconception. But I've put a few calls into some of my friends. We'll get him down from there."
7p.m. - 9:28 p.m. - 11:41 p.m.......
Each time I went outside in hopes of finding a vacant tree......
Meowwwwwww - Meowwwwwww - Meowwwwwww.
And it was really-really cold.
That poor cat had now been up on that narrow limb in below freezing conditions for 28+ hours. Klecko was livid.
So I went to Facebook and asked Klecko Nation to give me a list of professional "I get cats out of tree services."
Within minutes, my L.A.B. Rat's had produced 1/2 dozen qualified people.
So many of us on Hartford Avenue didn't sleep well that night. In fact when I went out before sunrise there was 6 or 7 people standing around.
By the time the sun did come out, half the neighborhood was, oh I don't know....unofficialy standing in our attempt at a makeshift vidual.
Dr. I hate my Neighbors wife was out there, the stripper that calls herself an exotic dancer...her kids camped out at the foot of the tree.
It was like we were all waiting for those Ecuadorian minors to be released from the bowls of the earth.
Everybody was angry, everybody was dumbfounded on how these new neighbors could let that cat suffer.
"A life is a life. This is unacceptable!"
For the first time since Reynolds moved into the hood, we finally agreed on something.
It kinda felt odd....but good.
So now I got brave and marched onto the porch of the blue house, rang the door bell and then pounded on the door.
It took several minutes, but finally the woman (and her husband who wasn't around the previous day) answered still dressed in their pajamas.
When they looked out onto their lawn and saw more than a dozen people on the snowbanks....they seemed befuddled and surprised.
Before they had a chance to comment, I handed them an envelope and explained.......
"Inside are a bunch of people who are capable of getting your cat out of this tree. I am off to Iowa, but I will be back in 6 hours, I've just gotta tell you on behalf of the neighborhood. it would be best for all concerned if that cat was down before I get back.
If for whatever reason you guys are strapped for cash, I will pay the bill."
Then others echoed that they would help out financially as well.
I think the new people were touched.
But Klecko was still annoyed.
When I got back from my Iowa jaunt...sure enough, Oscar was down.
Dude from the blue house called the first guy on the list. The guy was some kind of tree specialist, and he drove 50 some miles through deep snow.
He put spikes on his feet, climbed the tree as quick as a monkey, and then baited Oscar with a handful of kibble.
I wasn't there, but from what I heard, Oscar didn't put up a fight at all.
He was happy to be saved.
When the people from the blue house asked what they owed the tree climber for his good deed, the guy said.....
"I'm just glad Oscar is safe. I'm not worried about money. give me what you want."
Urban legend states the the people of the blue house splashed a "Hundy" on him.
Later that evening my doorbell rang, and the woman from the blue house came over all puppy dog eyed.......
"I feel bad about everybody worrying, that's why I decided to bake you cookies for all the effort and care you put in, but then one of the neighbors said you were like the worlds best baker or something, so I baked you these Snickerdoodles, but they aren't any good."
she was right, they sucked.....but I couldn't have cared less. It was the thought that counts, and the neighborhood slept well that night.
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Fire up your oven to 350°F.2
Next mix your butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs together.
Now you'll want to combine your "AP" flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
Now blend the dry ingredients into butter mixture.
While preparing the coating mixture you can chill your dough for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
And then you should mix 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl.
Finally, scoop the dough balls and roll them into the sugar / cinnamon mixture and place on cookie sheets (w/o sides) covered with parchment papers.
Bake them until they are golden brown. This usually takes 8-10 minutes.