The Cat Came Back

     During the past two weeks, I engaged in an all-out war with my blogs, and the blogs won. During part of that time, I suffered from partial writer’s block. I had several decent ideas to start postings. However, as I approached the halfway point in those postings, I would get another idea and the posting would take off in a different direction. When I reviewed the revised posting the opening didn’t quite
fit with the new conclusion, so it was back to the drawing board.

Finally, I thought I had one of the battles won and I attempted to post “GAZING INTO THE ABYSS” <>. Since I said “I thought,” you probably have guessed that I was wrong. The blog won again. In my first attempt to publish a particular posting, I uploaded a word document to the blog. When I previewed the posting before publishing it, I found several errors. One of the errors was the inclusion of an extra word, which happened to be the word “that.” So I tried to edit the posting on the site. When I thought I had all the corrections made, I published the posting. However, when I checked the blog, I was dismayed to find two identical postings, both of which were incorrect and contained the superfluous “that.”

I deleted one of the incorrect versions and edited the other one before hitting the publish button. I was even more dismayed when I checked the blog and found three identical,
but incorrect versions had been published. My next mode of attack was to delete all three of the incorrect versions and upload a correct Word document version. When I checked the blog, I found that only one copy of the posting had been published. However, it was the still the incorrect version. One more attempt and I believe I got it right. <>.

All the fussing with the different versions and the “that” which kept coming back reminded me of a folk song that I remembered from the mid 60’s. “The Cat Came Back” was sung by the New Christie Minstrels in their 1963 album “Tell Tall Tales!” By the time the New Christie Minstrels recorded their version of the song, it was already 70 years old and had a history of repeated appearances.

 Everyone that sang the song seemed to have their own lyrics. These lyrics illustrate “purrfectly” the lesson of the song:

Stanza 1

Now Old Mr.
Johnson had troubles of his own.

He had a yellow
cat that wouldn’t leave his home.

He tried and he
tried to give the cat away.

He gave to a man
going far, far away.


But the cat came
back ’cause he wouldn’t stay away.

He was sitting
on the porch the very next day.

Stanza 2

Now, old Mr.
Johnson had troubles of his own.

He had a yellow
cat that wouldn’t leave his home!

A special plan
with deception was the key.

One little
cat—how hard could it be?


But the cat came
back. We thought he was a goner,

But the cat came
back, he just wouldn’t stay away.


     I apologize to all of you who remember this tune because now you won’t be able to get it out of your head. It will be back tomorrow. It just won’t stay away.

For those of you too young to remember 1963, or old enough but can’t or don’t want to remember it, here is an award-winning animated short feature based on the song <>. Once you hear the song, the tune will be there to stay with you. It just won’t go away.


About By Baylis β2

Ph.D. in mathematics; 40 years as an instructor and administrator in Christiian colleges & Universities; principle writer & initial director of critically acclaimed assessment project "Taking Values Seriously:Assessing the Mission of Church-Related Collges." Currently medically retired on disability due to traumatic brain episode which began with a blood vessel in a brain tumor exploding in March 2009, causing the tumor to implode creating many stroke-like symptoms; the remains of the benign tumor removed in March 2009 followed by many months of intenesive therapy that shifted gears when 4 tonic-clonic seizures in December 2009 left me unconscious in the hospitable for four days. I am now diagnosed with aphasia, epilepsy, Atrial Fibrillation, and the beginning stages of Parkinson's. Since I can't work a normal job in higher education, I spend my days reading, thinking and writing about higher education, epilespsy and aphasia. I have a blog, entitled By' Musings, in which I speak about topics of great interest to me: aphasia, epilesy, Parkinson's, higher education and religion. This blog canl be accessed through the URL of which is included in this profile.
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6 Responses to The Cat Came Back

  1. Pingback: The Cat Came Back « By's epilepsy Blog

  2. bendedspoon says:

    You made me miss our cat. In my case I want the cat back back back! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing the video. What is running in my mind right now is how truth is very much like the cat. We might run away from it, bury it, ignore it, or mislead it — it will always come back. The truth is we are special, we are valuable. We might deny it because of a loss or a mistake but it won’t change the truth — we are special. You are special 🙂

    • I am sorry if my post reminded you of a missing cat. I grew up with a dog. My wife and I have had cats most of our married life because where we lived didn’t either allow dogs or wasn’t conducive to dogs. Our kids seemed to collect cats. At one point we had eight cats, that represented two momma cats and their litters. After thirty years with cats, my wife misses our last cat. It was her lap cat. Patches was a very unusual cat. Whenever Elaine sat down on the couch, Patches was there in a blink snuggling up to Elaine as close as she could get. It was a very sad day in our house when we learned Patches had an incurable kidney disease and we had to put her down. Although it is twelve years later Elaine still has a picture of Patches on our refrigerator. Animals can be very much part of a family, and I think it is helpful to kids growing up to see those relationships develop.

  3. ride2719 says:

    Hmmm… Not having watched you go through this frustrating exercise I can’t suggest much in the way of avoiding it, except the old standby suggestions. For example, did you restart your browser between each attempt? Browsers often get confused, and if the remote server is not being careful enough it can misinterpret what you want. More complicated would be to delete all of the cookies associated with WordPress. Etc. Sometimes it even helps to restart your computer between attempts, but this is getting pretty remote (pun intended).

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist the following. When you have the opposite problem, i.e. something keeps disappearing, I have the perfect song. I’m not sure of the official title but it is often referred to as “Charlie and the MTA” or “MBTA” since the MTA is now the MBTA. It orginally done (I think) by the Kingston Trio. It’s based on the bizarre policy of paying so much to get on a subway train in Boston, but then having to pay more to get off if you go past a certain point. Charlie didn’t have the money so he couldn’t get off and rode the MBTA forever. Here’s a link:

    • RIck,

      Thanks. I will try closing out the broweser between atempts.

      I remember experiencing the bizarre policy of the MTA once. I was at a conference in Boston and was warned by a Bostonian to have extra change when we went out for dinner one night. No one in our group got caught like Good Old Charlie by the MTA. For years, one thing kept puzzling me about the song and the situation. I finally figured out that Charlie’s wife didn’t want him around, because if she could hand him a sandwich through an open window as the train came rumbling through, what was keeping her from slipping him the extra money he needed to get off the train, or getting on the train herself at an earlier stop with extra money and then they could get off together?

      Why is it that our brains will remember the lyrics to silly songs like the MTA from many years ago, but won’t remember the steps to upload a posting or a picture, the procedure which we just did days before, or remember where we put the piece of paper on which we wrote the steps so that we wouldn’t forget them? I’ve cleaned my desk twice and still haven’t found that piece of paper. Do you remember the WIllie Horton song about the war of 1812, particularly the verse: “We fought so long that we fired the cannon til the barrel melted down. Than we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round. We load the gator’s mouth with cannon balls and powder in his behind. When we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind.” I don’t remember touching off the powder, but I know there are days when I think I have lost my mind.

  4. Trevor M. says:

    Your post and reference to the song reminds me of an old National Filmboard of Canada animated short that I saw as a kid. I found it on YouTube:

    Computers can sure be as frustrating as that pesky cat.

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