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Uncle Ben’s Free

I have this passion for taking pictures of animals but in my free time, I also love restoring old photographs that I find in swap meets, flea markets, old libraries and when I go on picking. I had this one memorable picture that I found on one of my trips to the countryside. I was picking in an old barn wherein there is a lot of cool stuff from the old days and I was being guided by this nice old lady who happened to tell me a lot of stories with the items that she’s selling. I stumbled upon a picture sitting on top of an old dresser. This was a picture of a man in a hat with a cat always touching my soul because I happen to have a cat of my own at home. She started telling me this story.

It was a picture of Uncle Ben and his cat Free. Uncle Ben was the one living in this old barn after her wife passed away due to a sickness we didn’t even know existed then. He became weak and depressed. He secluded himself inside the barn with the animals living there. Mom used to go and convince him to go back to the house with us and live a normal life but to no avail. I used to bring him food here and just try to cheer him up even for a bit. He became weaker by the day and started to become unresponsive to our conversations. We almost lost hope because he doesn’t want people visiting him anymore.

One cold night, we were rudely awakened by a loud knock on our door. I ran towards the door and saw him holding something in his palm. It was an orange tabby, barely breathing and shivering. He begged us to let him in and stay by the fireplace that night. Mom gave him a box and a hand towel. He then covered the kitten with the towel and placed it near the fireplace. He then asked mom for a glass of milk. He drank half of it and had a teaspoon to share it with the kitten. The kitten is responding to his voice and was licking the milk off of the teaspoon. He stayed up all night nursing the kitten to health. Days passed by and uncle Ben found new vigor in taking care of Free. We named it free because he felt free of the things burdening him due to my aunt’s death. He took care of free until they both lived their lives.

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