Boy showing kindness to kitten

By Molly Butler

As I write this, she is a warm ball, curled and purring on my lap, but by the time you read this, she will be gone.

The skinny little orange kitten my sister found and brought to me turned out to be much older, and much, much sicker than that emergency vet had estimated. Not a 10-week-old kitten: she was nearing nine months and had just about every health issue they could think to check for: Ulcers. Head trauma. Missing adult teeth. And a nasty case of feline leukemia.

She was never going to see again, and despite the half a pound we managed to add on her bony little frame, she was already beginning to decline again. She was never going to be a healthy cat. All she wanted to do was curl up in a lap and fall asleep.

Photo by Molly Butler - Little Orange Cat With No Name
Photo by Molly Butler – Little Orange Cat With No Name

“What do you recommend?” I asked.

The vet shook her head.

So, we’re making sure this cat, who’s had a harsh, painful life, is going out spoiled. Warm bed. Lots of cuddles. We stopped and got chicken tenders on the way home. We took turns cuddling her late at night. On her last morning, she and I had a tuna picnic under the big tree by the barn. At the final appointment today, I know the folks at MVPH will help us give her this gift painlessly, gently. All for a cat with no name.

“Why?” Why not? We are lucky. We are able to extend kindness. Someone should love the hopeless, helpless things. Someone should remember them.

None of it is meaningless.

The Prairie Lakes Arts Council just announced their latest grant recipients, and I was one of the 31 names on the list. I will be using this grant to write a memoir/lyric essay collection. I’m excited to return to creative non-fiction. The thing about memoir is you get to decide what is worth remembering. You can hold whatever you want. You get to choose. Nothing too small. None of it is meaningless.

Photo by Molly Butler - Little Orange Cat With No Name
Photo by Molly Butler – Little Orange Cat With No Name

As always, have a wonderful weekend, friends. Be kind when you can, and don’t miss out on the little things.


It’s the first of October! Celebrate the harvest season. The Bethany Chamber Orchestra will hold their Fall Concert at Trinity Chapel in Mankato beginning at 5 p.m.

Shadows at the Crossing: Spirits of Old Traverse des Sioux is back! This popular and informative guided after-dark outdoor tour will take place this weekend, with tours beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. with dramatic and humorous stories from spirits portrayed by local actors. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 8+ or $20 per household.

Take a peek at the local art scene! The Arts Center of Saint Peter will share New Paintings by Pam Bidelman, gallery open 1-5 p.m. This is your last weekend to check out “But I Guess I’m Already There,” a group exhibition at the 410 Project in Mankato, exploring the idea of home. The exhibition includes works by Izel Vargas, Kathleen Hawkes, Alessandra Sulpy, James Wade, Rachel Cox and Jonathan Thunder. Gallery hours are Friday and Saturday, 2-6 p.m.


The Mankato Farmers’ Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon, with lots of great harvest veggies and products. The KNUJ Farmers’ Market will be at Cash Wise Foods in New Ulm from 9 a.m. to noon.

Harvest Fest kicks off at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota! Grab the family and swing by between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for old-fashioned games and an afternoon concert. Pumpkin Junction is open at Blue Skye Farms from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with all your classic harvest entertainment and goodies.

Deep Valley Book Festival will be at the Loose Moose Saloon & Conference Center this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It’s the largest literary festival of its kind in southern Minnesota; stop by to win books, attend panels and celebrate our lovely literary community. See their program for details.

It’s your last chance to check out “But I Guess I’m Already There” at the 410 Project, open 2-6 p.m. Head to St. Peter for another chance to attend Shadows at the Crossing: Spirits of Old Traverse des Sioux beginning at 6 p.m.


Is it too early to start holiday shopping? Nah! Auxiliary members and the public are invited to shop the Craft and Vendor Fair at the Morson-Ario Strand VFW Post 950 in Mankato from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a great way to kickstart your holiday shopping or pick up a treat for yourself! Stop by the Wine Café from 4-7 p.m. for an Art Pop-up on the Patio! Enjoy music, art and cocktails.

Pumpkin Junction will be open from noon to 5 p.m. with FREE admission. Enjoy kids’ games, hayrides, mazes, concessions and more!

Photo by Molly Butler - Little Orange Cat With No Name enjoying her last meal of tuna.
Photo by Molly Butler – Little Orange Cat With No Name enjoying her last meal of tuna.

Bonus: Preserving Memories

My grandmother, Linda Good, along with her memoir writing group at VINE, was also awarded a grant through the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Center. Over the course of the pandemic, they completed and published a book, a collection of memoirs.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this accomplishment. The Launch Party for Preserving Memories is this Monday, Oct. 4th, from noon to 1 p.m. at the VINE Adult Community Center. More information about the event is available here. I hope to see you there.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.