CAT City

Everywhere you look, down here, you see Caterpillar® equipment. We have passed several dealerships, each with acres of yellow machines baking in the sun, and the mysterious sign RING POWER affixed to the gates. Lucy and I have joked that it is Ring OF Power and that there is secret CAT Hobbit action going on in central Florida.

However it is apparently just a good CAT market. Though you occasionally see a John Deere or Komatsu, most of the machines at work on Florida roads — in this area, at least — appear to be CATs.

Allen has told me that the excavators are virtually the same, with just the controls reversed, but all my happy associations are with CAT heavy equipment and so I am smiling unconsciously as we inch past construction sites. When Lucy and I biked along U.S. 98 we waved to the operators, who all waved back, grinning.

I have been working on a budget and trying to figure out what I can afford to do this summer on the farm. With all the CATs before my eyes, both the elderly equipment operators who’ve worked for me in the past have been in my thoughts.

So on a certain level it was almost unsurprising when we were in the Imax theater at the Kennedy Space Center, watching breathlessly as a two-story-tall astronaut in 3D struggled to keep his grip on the outside of the space station, and my cell phone rang.

Still, my cell phone almost never rings. I only use it for emergencies. My heart lurched.

In a moment the film was over, we made our way out of the dark theater, and I called the unfamiliar number back.

“It’s Leon!” said a cheerful voice.

“Leon! Oh my goodness. Is everything OK?”

“Oh, sure,” Leon said easily. He had a new phone and was just wondering how my lambs were doing.

I smiled all afternoon.


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