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Being sorry doesn’t help the cat

By JACK GODBEY

Community columnist

Growing up on a farm allowed me the opportunity to enjoy many activities. On any given day, I could be found playing with a variety of animals that called our farm home. 

However, one of my favorite activities was riding my old bicycle. It wasn’t a new bicycle by any stretch of the imagination, but I can assure you that bicycle completed more daredevil jumps and stunts than anything that Evil Knievel ever had and it lived to ride another day. 

While we were not allowed to ride our bikes on the road, we could ride anywhere else on the farm that we chose and for me that was up and down the sidewalk and onto the porch. 

In addition to the farm animals, my mother had several cats that she enjoyed, and one of the things I called fun back then was to run over the cat’s tail with my bicycle tire.

As you can imagine, this didn’t go over very well with my mother. I would venture to guess that the cat wasn’t very happy about it either. 

After receiving several warnings that this behavior wasn’t going to fly, I was sure that I could pull it off undetected just one more time. I was wrong.

My mother was peeling potatoes with her favorite butcher knife and stopped what she was doing to come chew me out one last time. All my 9-year-old mind could see was this intimidating shadow figure standing at the door holding a butcher knife. 

My eyes bugged out and I thought that I had finally done it. I had driven my mother insane and she had snapped and was coming after me with the knife and I decided that it was time to get out of Dodge. 

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth but in my mind it was real. I ran through the field as hard as my little legs would take me and shimmed up a tree for safety. 

No one was too worried about me being gone because if history was any indicator I would be back when supper was ready. 

However, when the call for supper was made and I didn’t return, everyone knew something was wrong and my mother began to worry and sent out a search party made up of my siblings to locate me.

I was quickly found and brought back for supper. Later on, I began to feel guilty for my actions and said I was sorry for being mean to the cat. The words that were spoken next not only opened up my eyes but also would alter my thinking for the rest of my life. 

My mother said, “I know you are honey but being sorry doesn’t help the cat.” Those wise words have run across my mind many times since spoken so long ago. 

I realized then and also now that sometimes we do and say things without thinking and then our only recourse is to say, “I’m sorry” thinking that is going to magically make everything all right again. However, being sorry doesn’t change the hurt that we may have caused someone else by our words or actions. 

Instead of having to say you’re sorry for something done without thought, we should remember that those things can never really be taken back. You may regret your actions but remember being sorry doesn’t help the cat.

 After realizing the effects of my actions back then, I never again tormented those cats, which my mother was happy about. I’m sure the cats were pretty happy about it as well.