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The Summer of '82 all over again
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The Summer of '82 was a good year.

I had survived a tough school year - fourth grade was awful and I already knew my fifth grade teacher was going to be the beloved Mrs. Krieger.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan was out that summer and I had already made a big, blubbery fool of myself at the Athens Theater. I didn't care. I loved Spock and cried harder that day than I did when Leonard Nimoy himself died.

And then one summer morning, I opened the door to find my dog, Gus, studying something in a ditch.

Curiosity got the best of me and I ventured to find out what had made him so curious.

It was a kitten. A tiny ball of muddy white-ish fur. I ran inside to tell Mama there was a kitten outside.

"Don't you dare put your hands on it," she instructed. "And don't bring in this house!"

Minutes later, I was shoving the kitten over Mama's morning newspaper for inspection.

She was not happy but scooped the kitten up for a closer look.

"It's going to need a bath, it's filthy and has fleas," she said.

I didn't know what that all meant; I just wanted this little kitten to be mine.

Mama wasn't sure she wanted to get involved in having a cat. But I promised her I would take care of this kitten.

"I'll get it food, take it to the vet, I'll do whatever needs to be done with the litter box...please? Please?" I begged.

Mama still wasn't sure. It wasn't that she doesn't love animals; she does. She had a cat once she loved maybe more than she does me. But our apartment was built onto her parents' house and she didn't know what they would say.

I had only had one cat before - Pam, the Persian cat my Aunt Winnie gave me. That cat hated me and the only reason Aunt Winnie gave her to me is because I cried one afternoon when I had to leave.

I thought surely if I got one as a kitten it would love me.

"Please," I said again.

Mama sighed and said I could keep it.

"How did I agree to this? I thought I had told you not to pick that cat up," she said, wondering if she made a mistake.

"You know I don't mind," was my response.

Here I was just a little over a week ago and found myself in a reversal of roles.

I heard something ping against the window. When I heard it again, I got up to look, I saw my child with a fuzzy chocolate and orange kitten circling around his feet.

The first words out of my mouth were, "Don't put your hands on that cat!"

As I made my way outside, I saw he listened as well I had.

"She's so sweet, Mama," he said. "She makes little biscuits with her feet and she's so vocal. I think I am going to name her Bella."

We couldn't keep her inside. That would be a bad idea with three dogs.

"Can you take me to the store so I can get her some kitten food?" he asked, the kitten still purring as she continued to circle his ankles. "I'll take care of her, I promise. I will get her food, and if you can find out when the low-cost spay program is, I will get her fixed so she doesn't have kittens. And I will figure out how to make her a little catio - I think she's staying under the barn for now. But please, Mama, please."

How could I tell him no?

That little kitten that my Mama was so hesitant about went on to be the best cat ever - Capt. James T. Kirk, or Jim, for short - and I had him for 17 years.

This little kitten had already wormed her way into my son's heart and if I was honest, mine too.

"Alright," I agreed to his squeals of joy as he picked up this kitten.

"I thought I told you not to put your hands on her," I said.

Cole tilted his head. "Oh Mama, you know I wasn't paying that any attention."

Just like that, we got a cat. A barn cat, but a cat nonetheless.

And the years may have been a bit out of alignment but history once again repeated itself.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."