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It was very relaxing getting away from the house for a change. Judy and I had decided to spend five days with our grandkids at a local campground about 15 miles from our home in Brunswick, Georgia.

The second day we were there, I ran a large steel spike through my right hand, which took about 12 stitches, but worse than that were the six hours of waiting in the emergency room lobby to be treated.

After returning to the campsite, I found that I was really unable to do much of anything with the kids. Most of the next five days, I just sat by myself as everyone fished, and played volleyball and cards.

On Thanksgiving Day, we deep-fried two large turkeys. It was the first time in my life that I had eaten Thanksgiving Dinner outside. I must say that it was very enjoyable. At dusk, we started a large fire. Everyone grabbed a lawn chair and sat around for hours talking and roasting marshmallows. About 12 a.m., we decided to hit the sack.

Early the next morning, we were up breaking down the campsite. I stood to the side trying to stay out of the way. My hand was still very sore and there was very little I could do that would be helpful. As I stood there, I noticed a black pick-up truck driving very slowly by the bathroom. I watched as the passenger threw a brown paper bag at the garbage can, missing it. When they drove away, I walked over to pick up the bag. When I picked it up, it was rather heavy. I opened the bag and saw a small kitten inside.

"Well, hello there, Little Missy," I said to the small female kitten as I lifted her out of the bag.

I looked down the road to see if I could get the license tag number of the truck, but it had already left the camping area. The kitten did not look well at all. It was dirty and looked like it had not eaten for quite some time.

After we returned home, I tried to telephone all three vets located in our town. Being the Thanksgiving Holiday, none were available until Monday morning.

I took the small kitten to the kitchen sink and tried to wash it off with a clean warm washrag. Then I tried to feed it something, but it was just too weak, so I kept it in my lap all that evening as I watched television. About 10 o'clock, I decided to go to bed. I laid the small kitten down beside my pillow, turned out the light and climbed into the bed. She pulled herself up next to my face as tightly as she could. All the while, she was curling herself tighter and tighter into a small ball of fur. Then she settled down and bundled up next to my ear.

I did not move a muscle as she tried to clean herself. Once in a while, I would hear a faint "meow. After she was done, I carefully reached over and ran my fingers across her little head, causing her inner motor to make a purring sound.

Over the next few minutes, her motor became less and less frequent.

"I love you, Little Missy," I whispered as I carefully moved my finger back and forth against her ear.

At that very moment, her purring stopped completely and her tiny head fell limp in my hand. I picked her up gently and carried her into my office, where I laid her down in a shoebox on top of my computer desk. When I turned around, I saw Judy standing in the office doorway.

"Is she doing okay?" she asked.

I stuck out my hand motioning for her to please go away, that I could not speak to anyone right then. I sat in my office for more than an hour wondering how people could be so cruel to such an innocent little creature.

I left "Little Missy" on my desk until the next morning. I then went out to the flowerbed where our other two cats are buried and prepared a special place for her.

I am not sure what the feeling is that comes over me when something is unloved and discarded. Maybe it's all the years of me being raised as an orphan. Maybe it is all the terrible things that I too suffered as a young boy at the hands of grown-up adult people. Maybe its the years of going hungry, being kicked, hit and then thrown away. I really do not know. Maybe I will never know.

I do know this for sure. Every living thing on this earth should be cared for. No human being or animal should ever leave the face of this earth without having been given a chance to serve its useful purpose. I hope that when "Little Missy" left this earth last Friday night, the last thing she remembered was the love shown to her by something known as a human being.

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