Every family has certain stories that can be encapsulated in just one word. In our case, that word is Bumpuses! Many years ago, when my boys were still very young, our nephew Bret used to sleepover nearly every Saturday night. So much so that I told my brother we were claiming him as a tax deduction. As Bret got older, some strange things started to occur when he spent the night. Strange events that seemed to be tied to his weekend visits. One time the fireplace flue was frozen shut and this resulted in thick smoke spewing back into the family room. On another occasion, his visit resulted in a cat running into our basement and disappearing into another dimension. Here is my tale.
One evening, as I was returning a VHS tape to our local video store (I told you it was many years ago!), we had an unexpected intruder. As I opened the side door, a blur of gray fur scrambled inside and shot down the stairs before I had time to register what was happening. It was a stray cat from the neighborhood. He had been curled up on our stoop, trying to stay warm on a frigid night. Since a similar male cat had taken up residence in our garage a few weeks earlier and laid down a horrific territorial stink bomb, I was terrified he would do the same thing in our basement. The odor in the garage had lingered for weeks.
We have a pocket door, and thinking quickly I was able to seal off the basement from the rest of the house. Then, I slowly crept downstairs to see if I could locate the unwanted guest and get it out of the basement before any damage was done. Upstairs in the kitchen, my wife had organized the three boys into a posse of sorts. They were armed with leftover oranges from Christmas and yelling “Bumpuses!” for some unknown reason. They were all laughing and having a hell of a time. I yelled up for my wife to be ready to open the side door, as I tried to escort the feline outside. At the same moment I had corralled the critter with a hockey stick and was chasing it up the stairs, my wife decided to come down and “Check on the kitty”! Lord, give me strength.
The cat turned tail at the sight of my wife coming down the stairs and ran deeper into the basement. It wound up locating the secret portal to another dimension that our cat Jewel had used for years. She would sometimes disappear down there for hours. Then, around dinnertime, come strolling upstairs like she hadn’t just emerged from another galaxy. The unwanted visitor had apparently found that portal. I spent the better part of an hour tearing the basement apart looking for that stupid cat and come up empty.
Later that night, my wife went downstairs to do some laundry and found the cat curled up on a typing chair like he owned the place. I crept down the stairs and tried to shoo him upstairs and out the door. He managed to give me the slip again and dove under the basement stairs. Since I had no idea whether this cat had rabies or some other infectious disease, I wasn’t taking any chances.
Wearing a heavy coat and thick gloves, I was able to cram the cat into a duffel bag. My son Jeff was at the side door this time. My wife had been relieved of duty after failing miserably to hold the side door open earlier. I grabbed the bag full of struggling cat and met Jeff at the door. I told him to take it outside on the neighbor’s front lawn and “Let the cat out of the bag!” Haha! I was getting a little punchy by that time! So, that’s my tale. I’m sure your family has had similar experiences that are tied to one word, or a phrase. Hopefully, the telling of my story has stirred up some memories of your own. Until next time, BUMPUSES!
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