One Iowa Night

We rented an Iowa farmhouse in 1973, in the midst of loess hills and cornfields. The acreage included a silo, machine sheds, pigs’ digs, and a large barn with 1876 chiseled into the fading red wooden door. On this particular January night, in the midst of a howling blizzard, we heard thumping at our door. Cat, our inherited outdoor farmcat, sat on the stoop. Bulging pregnant belly of yesterday gone, her teats hung low. We offered a bowl of warm milk as George donned winter gear. He set out to follow Cat and insure her new kittens were safe, protected from the storm. She led him in and out of buildings, round that farm for thirty plus minutes. He finally gave up the hunt and came inside, looking like a freeze-frame from Dr. Zhivago. Mucous frozen mustache. Beard turned prematurely white with snow. We feared the worse. And then . . . some weeks later, on a clear, crisp and sunny day, Cat paraded by our window with a smirk on her face. Six little ones scurried behind.

winds howl, snow pelts earth
nature’s creatures burrow deep
wait for calming sun


It’s haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni asks us to write about a night we remember. The haibun form includes a paragraph or two in prose (must be nonfiction) followed by a haiku. Photo is in fact, the old farmhouse mentioned in the haibun. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop by and imbibe some poetry or share your memories of one special night!

37 thoughts on “One Iowa Night

  1. kanzensakura December 12, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    Oh I love this! Quite a night you have described. I truly enjoyed this so very much. It brought a smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 1:51 pm

      Thank you! It really happened….just as written. Animals are often so much smarter than people 🙂


      • hayesspencer December 12, 2016 / 3:06 pm

        Yes they are and barn cats are particularly savvy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Victoria C. Slotto December 12, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Oh, so glad for the happy ending, Lillian. Our animals have such amazing survival instinct and what won’t we do for them–as your poor frozen husband proved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      He really did look like the scene in Dr Zhivago😊❄️⛄️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) December 12, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    Love the wonderful ending. I think cats are often great in taking care of their kitten… but I can just see (and feel) the snow and ice in the hair and eyebrows (no beard in my case)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 4:44 pm

      …he really did look like that…and I swear, Cat smirked at us as she walked by…like “you silly humans….”


    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Yes indeed. And farmcats are amazingly independent and really do lead at least 9 lives!


      • paulscribbles December 12, 2016 / 4:46 pm

        I only lived with a farm cat once and there was no mistaking who was the lord of that particular manor 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Grace December 12, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    How freezing cold it must have been ~ brr…. The cat is very playful and good to see her kittens afterwards. But I wouldn’t go out in that blizzard,yikes….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      We were so worried about those kittens….silly us. And yes — we had so much snow and wind that night that we have a photo of me the next day, standing in the snow with the telephone wire touching my shoulder! And the car, is totally buried next to me! Iowa blizzards in the country — the wind can really whip up a landscape!


  5. Bodhirose December 12, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    It seems animals have a way of hunkering down and surviving in extreme weather although I don’t know how they do it. Good for Cat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      She was the smart one! Needless to say, George was not in the mood for a cup of warm milk when he came in!


  6. Brian December 12, 2016 / 4:44 pm

    My gosh does this bring back memories of rural Wisconsin and barn cats. Made me shiver Lillian. In a good way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 12, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      Those rural blizzards are truly mind boggling!


  7. frankhubeny December 12, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    It looks like the cat just needed nice weather to show off the kittens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:25 am

      I think she was being very protective at that point…..knew they were safe and wasn’t going to let any human intervene. Silly us….thinking she didn’t know how to protect her brood! Hence that smirk on her face when they did show up 🙂


  8. kim881 December 12, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Lillian, that’s a wonderful story of a winter’s night – with cats!
    I love that description of George ‘looking like a freeze-frame from Dr. Zhivago. Mucous frozen mustache. Beard turned prematurely white with snow.’
    But how beautiful to see Cat with her kittens parading in the snow! And I love the haiku!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:24 am

      So glad you enjoyed. True story….every word. See you at the bar this afternoon. We’ll have the “time” of our life as the ole Dirty Dancing song says. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 December 13, 2016 / 9:51 am



  9. ZQ December 12, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    A wonderful reading here tonight (NH) after a fresh snowfall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:23 am

      I’m jealous….no snow yet in Boston. How I’d love to have a white Christmas. We’ll be in Chicago over the weekend — they have about a foot on the ground and very cold temperatures so we’ll be packing our boots. Still have hopes — Santa would like some snow here too!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. sarahsouthwest December 12, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    Cats! I have no trouble at all believing every word of this, exactly as written. I bet she did smirk! You really make me feel like I’m there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:22 am

      So were you shivering with the cold when you got to the part about George’s beard and mustache. True story, every word! Glad you enjoyed.


  11. Michael December 12, 2016 / 6:02 pm

    I like that you recognised the smirk on the cat’s face, Lillian, I think they do that deliberately…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Glenn Buttkus December 12, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    Real winter, like pit vipers, have never been something I grew up with here in NW Wa state, but I have visited folks in winter in other states & I marvel at their calm & tenacity. So nice to read a happy ending secondary to a true event.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:21 am

      No snow in Boston….sigh. I do enjoy a white Christmas but have not had one for a long time. Ocean effect here…..but when we do get a Nor’Easter it’s usually falling sidewise and mounts up fast! 🙂


    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:20 am

      So glad you enjoyed! No snow here in Boston….sigh. I’d love a white Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. MarinaSofia December 13, 2016 / 4:19 am

    All’s well that ends well, although I’m sure you felt like throwing something at that cat after all that trudging about in the blizzard! A charming tale and so many good wintry words to transport us to that scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian December 13, 2016 / 9:19 am

      Cat always had a mind of her own. 🙂


  14. Mish December 14, 2016 / 1:27 am

    What a tale…or should I say “tail”. I would have done the same as I become ridiculously motherly about animals I believe to need my help. Trusting in nature and animal instinct can be difficult for us human folk!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s