Most weekends I meet up with my friend in Yanjae and we go to her family home in Punggi. She's like a sister to me and I adore her son and we share a love of animals. This story is not about a cat, but first let me tell you about my friend's cat.
One day while we were gardening near the chicken coup she found a black cat about seven months old dying in the tall grass. She scooped her up and we carried to the apple storage building. I stayed while my friend went and got some food.
The wild had caught the common cold. It had gotten up into her sinuses. (She has a permanent case of congestion to this day). The mild illness of a house cat was would have been deadly without my friend's intervention. Keep in mind that this happened in South Korea. There is a culture element ... cats are more likely to be boiled than helped. Firemen and police don't help get the cat out of the tree. And people cross the road when the see a stray dog or chase it with a broom...
It was Sunday and Liz's son was staying with her mother because we had to "work" which is what we say when we want to go horseback riding without him. We headed toward the farm to pick up my boots. Ahead of us a one of the workers for the many farms in Punggi was running away from a big black German Shepard. She whacked the dog away with a broom.
"Stop the truck," I said. It was a redundant request because my friend was already stopping. She was out the truck faster than me and feeding the big black dog her mother's fresh baked bread. It had butter on it the dog liked it very much. He wagged his tail and flopped over in the road showing us his belly.
The farm workers asked if it was our dog and my friend explained in Korean that we were just going to help it. This got some very strange looks. Koreans aren't very animal savvy...cat or dog, and big dogs in particular strike fear.
Our next task was to try to get the dog to the farm. We tried putting him into the back of the truck but he got scared and jumped out. For a while I sat on the tailgate and walked him, but his leg was hurt and he could go fast. In the end I just walked him and my friend drove on, coming back with some much appreciated water.
He lapped it up appreciatively, tail waging but also submissive in that German Shepard way. He was skinny and his fur was extremely matted. Enough that in most cities in the states, Animal Control would leave a warning. He had been tied on a very short rope and not fed and not socialized.
We took him to the farm, set up a place for him and fed him. We came back after riding and gave him his first bath ever. It was so scary for him but he liked the scratches even though he wasn't sure about being touched everywhere. In just a week he's learned what love is and what toys are and what treats are. And what exercise is and play and what it is to run as fast has he can. We can walk the farm with him off a leash and he runs away and then comes back ... runs and comes. It's so funny.
But we worry what if someone claims him?
I have been eagerly awaiting for Audible to release the final book in Stephen King's Bill Hodges trilogy. Over the years I have slowly become a fan of audio books and now that I'm back in Korea, the fandom has taken on something of an obsession now that I'm in Seoul and my trip to work takes about an hour.
I could read for twenty minutes on the bus, but then I'd have to stop. And anyway, I cannot read in moving vehicles without getting sick to my stomach. I've always been a bit prone to motion sickness and reading exacerbates it for some inexplicable reason. I wonder at times if I'm not being a bit lazy. Listening to a story is not the same as reading a book. My mind doesn't get to generate the voices for the characters though I still need the mind-movies to make the story come alive. Also my book consumption has increased. I average two a month if you exclude the re-listens for or five if you include the books I revisit. Sometimes instead of making mind movies, I imaging the words appearing on paper as they are spoken the punctuation.
Anyway, I've digressed. The point of this post is that End of Watch is really good. The series is not typical Stephen King but then again it's not atypical either. Ever since Bag of Bones, I've felt that Stephen King's writing has been a bit different than the stuff that came before. Not a lot mind you, but enough. I do admit The Dome was not among my favorites, but because it felt like something he would have written years ago. An outlier if you will, though very good in its way.
I will come back to End of Watch because there is something interesting about it... something I have thought long and hard on-- and this book illustrates what I think on a certain topic. For now, I'll just say that the trilogy is a wonderful read and I don't know what I'll do if Stephen King stops writing. Listen to all the books I read probably.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018