I was six years old when the kitten, Minnie Jones, became part of my life. He grew into a hulking, frost bitten eared, battle-weary tom cat. A cat so loving, so docile I could dress him in discarded baby clothes and wheel him in the annual pet parade.
But, this tale is about his name-sake, Minnie Jones. Most small towns like Prince Albert have their local characters and she was ours. As long as I could remember I would hear stories about Minnie Jones. I was too young to appreciate the stories but I loved the way her name rolled off my tongue. Minnie Jones.
She always seemed to be wearing the same clothes. A black coat with a moth-eaten fur collar. A slouchy black hat adorned with a faded velvet rose. She wore the hat pulled low over her face. Her cheeks were heavily rouged. Her enormous dark eyes kohl lined. Black stockings covered her legs.
Minnie Jones was always accompanied by a child’s red wagon. Most times it was pulled by a large dog. Minnie Jones lived at the edge of town on a small acreage. She kept chickens and goats. Her trips into town were foraging expeditions. She dumpster-dived in the most genteel manner. The staff at the local Safeway Grocery store would put aside items for her, everything from fruits and vegetables to the soft paper that wrapped fragile items.
The war ended and brand-new cars were finally available. Minnie Jones walked into a car show-room admiring the shiny automobiles. The veteran salesmen would have nothing to do with her and sent the newest staff member to get rid of the town’s character. The story goes Minnie Jones asked the price of the cars, said she would take two and pulled the cash from her battered purse. Minnie Jones was starting something Prince Albert did not have. A taxi business.
There may still be a few people left who remember the person, Minnie Jones. Their memories may be different then mine, but they must remember these are the memories of a very young girl absolutely besotted with the exotic creature called Minnie Jones.