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MIDNIGHT VISIT
by
Fred Wickert

During my Air Force career I was stationed in Tokyo, Japan. While there, I acquired a wife, a dog and a cat. The dog, a honey colored Cocker Spaniel with a lot of white freckles on his nose, was named Freckles. The cat was yellow and white, without a tail, and we named him Blondie. Fortunately, they got along with each other very well.

Freckles and I had a relationship of deep and abiding love. When the Air Force sent my wife and I back to the USA on a plane, we were not allowed to bring animals. I had to send Freckles and Blondie on a commercial flight.

I took them to the airport and put them together in the same cage. They were such good friends that I knew they would be happier and less afraid if they were together. People at the airport were amazed when they saw them. Everybody knew that dogs and cats just don't mix.

After picking them up at the airport in California, Freckles and Blondie traveled all over the United States with us, by car. They were always with us.

Half way through my career, I was transferred to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, to become one of the security force protecting the aircraft used by the President. Freckles and Blondie went with us.

After five years, I went to the war in Vietnam. This time, I had to go alone and leave Freckles and my wife behind. Blondie had passed away two years before.

When I returned a little over a year later, Freckles and I were overjoyed to be together again. I had been reassigned to Presidential Security for the remainder of my career, so we didn't have to move again.

In late autumn in the following year, I got up one morning at a very early hour. Freckles woke up and joined me in the kitchen as I prepared and ate my breakfast. I petted him for a few minutes, and then he went to the coat closet inside the front door. There was a folded piece of carpet in there that he liked to sleep on.

When I was ready to leave, I went to get my coat and hat from the closet. I reached down to pet Freckles and tell him goodbye, and discovered that he had died. I canceled my plans that day, built him a nice casket and gave him a decent burial.

About a year later, I was working the midnight shift. I was in a warm hangar, guarding the President's small airplane. Most people were unaware of the small plane, a four engine Lockheed Jet Star. At that time, they knew only of the Boeing 707.

I was seated at a small table at the front of the plane where everyone had to sign in and out, but at that early hour there was no one there but me. Without being aware of becoming drowsy, I had fallen asleep.

If, in the military, you are found asleep on guard duty, you are court-martialed or severely punished. It would ruin a career and even a pension. I only had three years remaining before retirement. Suddenly, Freckles was there on the table, licking my face !

He woke me up. I know it wasn't a dream because my face was wet with his saliva. I could feel him. It was real! He was there !

Just as I awoke, there was someone coming in the door on the other side of the hangar. It was the Security Superintendent, who occasionally came in the middle of the night to check on us. Freckles had just saved me and my career.

Yes, Freckles had passed away more than a year before. Yet, he was still with me and still faithful. Now I know that there is life after death. And I know that Freckles is my Guardian Angel !

BLONDIE

Leaves, wet from the cold November drizzle stuck to our shoes as we walked to the corner where my future bride lived. Returning from a concert in down town Tokyo, Tae and I looked forward to a cup of hot chocolate.

Enjoying our cup of warmth, we heard a faint mewing cry. Tae went outside and returned, clutching to her breast a tiny kitten, dumped by the corner hedges. Tae provided warm milk and fish, and a cardboard box lined with towels for a warm bed.

The kitten, a male bobtail yellow in color, with a lot of white on his underbelly and throat, feet, and the lower part of his face. He proved a highly intelligent animal, quickly learning a routine, and how to win the heart of Tae, who named him Blondie.

Blondie grew into a handsome cat who loved the out doors, but always remembered where home was. He knew to come to the door, or in some places we lived, to the window and cry loudly to be let in.

Tae and I married and needed much larger quarters. I negotiated for us to get a house when it became available. In the meantime we moved into an apartment. There, I acquired a cocker spaniel puppy named Freckles. Tae was afraid Blondie would not accept this intruder, but he accepted Freckles right away and they became close friends.

One afternoon, I returned home to find Tae very distraught. Blondie was missing and she was nearly out of her mind. I tried to reassure her, but she would have none of it. The apartment doors were fitted with a hook and eye, so that doors could be hooked in the open position far enough to allow air circulation. Tae locked our door and went to the market. Blondie merely found a door hooked open across the hall, walked in, found a comfortable place and went to sleep.

The house became available. I hired a truck and two men. We packed nearly everything in the truck. To protect a glass coffee table top and glass cabinet doors, we wrapped them in a silk comforter and a fur blanket. Tae took Blondie in a taxi with the glass and all of my expensive photography equipment. I went on ahead in the truck and took Freckles with me.

I knew where we were going but Tae did not. I wrote down the address for her. Blondie began to fuss. He needed to go. Tae told the driver to stop the cab. She opened the door and held him outside by the back of his neck. Blondie was having none of that and struggled free. He ran behind the house they were in front of. Tae told the driver to wait. She recovered Blondie who had done his business under the rear of the house. When she went back with Blondie, the taxi was gone. Her purse was gone along with the address. She found another cab and went back to the apartment we had just vacated and borrowed money to pay for the taxi. I found her there with Blondie, waiting for me. We filed a report with the police but to no avail.


Though the new quarters were in a well off residential area with a temple across the street, one of the neighbors had a few chickens, confined to their yard with a fence. We lived on the second floor. At one end was a lovely tiled patio with a four foot wall around it. The roof was constructed of red rounded tile. Blondie went out on to the patio, across the roof, to a tree and then to the ground. He always returned the same way. One day he returned dragging a chicken by the neck. Tae apologized to the neighbor. We never did figure out how he managed to carry a large chicken over fences and up the tree to the roof.

The time came when we had to go to the U.S.A. We were not permitted to bring pets on the military plane. We had to ship them by commercial air and pick them up at San Francisco Airport. Blondie and Freckles being such good friends, I put them together in the same cage. People at the airport on both ends of the trip were astonished to see a dog and a cat together and getting along so well.

We were next stationed at Orlando, Florida. Within a few days, Blondie had taken over the neighborhood. Everywhere we lived, he was "Top Cat." He would bring home all the other cats in the neighborhood to show them where he lived and introduce them to his people.

Next door to us, lived a retired school teacher. The back yard where we lived was fenced and the gate just outside her kitchen window. Blondie would sit atop the gate post and the teacher would talk to him out the window. He would answer her. They had daily conversations.

Blondie was guardian of the property. Any dog that entered the yard other than Freckles was in trouble. Blondie would attack them from the rear and send them running.

One day a neighbor from across the street, confided in me that Blondie made a fool out of him. He was awakened at two A.M. by a cat crying on the roof. It was a full moon in a clear sky and he could see Blondie. He got a ladder from his car port. The ladder wasn't long enough to reach the edge of the roof. Believing Blondie couldn't get down, he stood on the ladder as high as he could go and reached for the roof. He could get his wrist even with the edge of the roof and wiggled his hand above the edge. Blondie just reached out with his paw and playfully slapped his hand. After several minutes of this, the neighbor decided Blondie could stay there. Returning to the door of his house, he observed Blondie run to the edge of the roof, jump lightly to a nearby tree, shinny down the tree and run into our car port.

Blondie loved Freckles, but took advantage of him. Whenever Blondie decided it was nap time, he would look to see where Freckles was. If Freckles was sleeping in a chair or on the sofa, Blondie would begin washing Freckles face. He would become rougher and rougher until Freckles would get up and move. Blondie would then curl up and lay down in the spot Freckles had all warmed up, and then look around with a very pleased with himself.

Being a great hunter, he would always bring his prey home and deposit it in front of the door. Only after we saw it and praised him, would he eat it.

After nearly four years in Florida, I was transferred to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Blondie quickly established himself as "Top Cat." The hunting was good and he enjoyed life. After a couple of years, Blondie became extremely ill with spinal meningitis. Our beloved Blondie was buried beneath a trellis covered with morning glories in our back yard.

Many stories have been sent my way but there are some that have touched me more than others - this is one of those stories and I am so thankful to Fred for allowing me to share it here with you!

\We have all lost a friend dear to us - and I hope you can find some comfort here knowing that there is no real ending to life!

Our friends, our family are always here with us - just in a different way !



Fred is retired from the Air Force and spent five years as a small town Police Chief.

He and his wife have taken care of the developmentally disabled in their home for the last 21 years.

They live in the Catskill Mountains in Gilboa, New York, with their large collection of feral cats, exotic birds, and one dog.


Fred                                  Tae and Freckles

 
Fred and Tae, 2003

The story of Freckles can be found in the book 'Angel Dogs' by Allen & Linda Anderson

Authors of God's Messengers and Angel Cats
www.newworldlibrary.com
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