“What did that billboard say? A cat show?”
Most times, I only glance at signs while driving on the highway … well, the big ones, not the directional and speed limit ones. This time, I noticed the billboard advertising a cat show in our area for the next day.
Figuring the ticket prices wouldn’t fit a homeschooling family on a sub-zero budget, I still got off the next exit and circled around to check for more information. Imagine my surprise to discover it cost only $5.00 for adults and children under twelve got in free. The next day, I counted out some change we’d been saving, and our two daughters and I went to a cat show!
Why, you may ask, all the excitement over a field trip to a cat show? We’d chosen pets as our unit study theme for the beginning of that school year, and anything pet-related topped our list of things to do. We’d visited a pet store, managing to get out with a toy for our dog instead of the twelve pets the girls thought we should have bought.
We’d also gone to a German Shepherd kennel, where the owner showed us how his search-and-rescue dogs worked. Afterward, the girls showed him how they’d trained their dogs and braided their own collars and leashes out of psychedelic yarn. He paid close attention as they explained their techniques and put their STUFFED dogs through their paces! (He restrained his laughter until after we were gone, I suppose.)
So, a cat show added a new dimension to our study, and besides, we all three loved cute, cuddly kittens! Well, I thought there would be “cute, cuddly kittens.”
“Mama, that cat lost all its hair!” “Mama, that cat hurt its ears!” “Mama, where is that cat’s tail?”
As we walked around, I realized I didn’t know much about cats. What an educational field trip, for both the students and the teacher! We peered into kennel after kennel of fluffy Persians, sleek Siamese, and exotic Maine Coons. The latter, we decided, topped our favorites’ list, especially since their grandma owned two of them.
Before we left, we wanted to take in one of the judging sessions, to see how it was done. We sat on some folding chairs and watched the judge lift one end of a cat, then the other, hold up its tail, then its head. And the cat just took it in stride. Our youngest piped up a bit loudly, “Mama, if we did that to Misty, we’d get scratched!”
The judge looked at us, smiled, and invited our kindergartner up to join him in judging the next cat! And she went! I don’t recall what happened, but the experience remains one of our most recounted of those early years. And all because of a chance sighting of a billboard.
Oh, how I loved God’s serendipitous delights He sent our way during our homeschool years! And He still loves sending them today. In fact, while looking for photos to add to this post, I discovered a breed of cat which may have been crossbred with an ocelot – an Ocicat!
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