When I arrived at Westlane Auto Movies, I had two pets, a turtle and a parakeet. The turtle wandered off one day while I was at school and the parakeet suffered a fate that has made me cautious of insecticides ever since. Hoping to rid the kitchen of unwanted vermin, my mother sprayed Raid way too close to Petey the Parakeet. Once again, I came home from school to find a pet departed.
During our first few days at Westlane Auto Movie, the previous manager came by our trailer. He offered us advice regarding the swamp cooler over the hallway. He showed us the speaker he had asked the projectionist to install in the kitchen, so that he could watch and hear movies from the kitchen window. And, he told us that there was a feral cat that would sometimes come around at night looking for food. It was a spooky gray creature. I would hear him meowing or see him wandering in the adjacent fields. In the daylight, he would stay on the other side of the fence, but at night he would come to our side of the fence to sing a sad kitty cat song.
Growing up, I never had a cat, so I was determined to win the creature over. Little by little I managed to get his trust, sort of. Once I was able to pet and hold him, I tried to bring him inside the trailer and make him my friend. As soon as I had him inside, he howled until I let him out again. Undaunted, I continued to bring the cat inside until he became accustomed to our home. He even slept on my bed one night. This was before we had any dogs. Just when I thought I had tamed him and named the beast, Smokey, he departed. It would be a long time before another cat came into my life, especially after I discovered that cats made me sneeze.
There was very little flora to be found at Westlane Auto Movie. The fenced area in front of the movie screen was a garden of weeds that had to be cut down once a year. Around the snack bar, there were small patches shrubbery that needed watering during the Summer. They did fine the rest of the year.
One day, I noticed that there was a loud croaking sound coming from every patch of green. Little frogs were everywhere. I collected a couple to show my parents, but they were not impressed, so I went to the snack bar and found an empty two gallon relish jar and started filling it up with frogs. When the jar was full, I took it to my parents and they still weren’t impressed. They said I couldn’t keep all the frogs in the jar, so I put them all back. The croaking continued for a few more days, but the frogs must have had a meeting and decided that it wasn’t safe to stay in a place where frogs are incarcerated in relish jars. They never came back.