The last of the fireworks fade away. One by one, the furs and feathers gather up the remains of their picnic lunches and begin to wander home. It’s been a lovely, fun filled day and everyone is tired and ready for bed. Overhead, the stars come out and twinkle brightly in the dark night sky. Willow looks up. “Oh, Timmy, look over there, that looks like the Rainbow Bridge. Meeheehee, guess some of our bridge friends came to celebrate, too.” Timmy looks in the direction of Willows pointing paw. “I don’t see anything, Willow”, Timmy meows. “Right there, see the blinking stars”, she replies. Timmy looks again. “Yes, I do see them, I think you’re right. I wonder who it is.” The two stand watching the bright winking stars and wave until they are gone. They enter the house, leaving the picnic things in the kitchen and head off to bed.
Next morning, Timmy wanders into the kitchen to find Willow with a pot of catnip tea and a heaping plate of buttered toast, looking through the newspaper. He gets a cup and plate from the cupboard and sits down at the table with her. “What are you looking at so intently, Willow?” he asks. Willow hands him the paper with the big ad she has marked. “Look, Timmy, can you believe it? This is a sign for sure that we should go on our Pacific adbenture!”
Timmy glumly takes the paper and looks over the ad. “FOR SALE, ocean going sailboat. Call Captain Jack , 555-4000 for details. Located at Harbortown Docks.”.
“I already called, we can go see it this afternoon,” Willow meows excitedly. Timmy takes a long swallow of his tea.
Breakfast done, Willow scurries about the kitchen and Timmy heads for the barn. Once there, he pulls out his cellhellofone and dials. “Meows, Catnip Farm,” comes from a husky voice at the other end. “Daddy Vester, it’s Timmy. We got a problem.” There is silence from the other end. Then at last, “sighhhhhhh, what did my daughterkit do now, and do I really want to know?” Timmy quickly explains Willows plan to buy a sailing ship and cross the Pacific to Hawaii. “And she already found a boat to buy”, meows Vester, “we’re doomed.” The two menkits make plans for them , as well as Mamma Oreo, to go check out the boat that afternoon.
Two o’clock in the afternoon, finds the four kits speeding along the road between Meowchat Village and Harbortown. Willow entertains them on the journey by singing sea chantys, off key. Eventually they arrive at Harbortown and head down to the docks in search of the sail boat and Capt. Jack.
They drive slowly past lines of gleaming boats of various sizes and colors looking for slip number 101, the home of the sailing ship. There it is at last,slip 101. Three jaws drop in horror at the sight of the creaky old wooden boat before them. The ever ebullient Willow, on the other paw, can barely contain her excitement. “Look, look,” she cries, pointing at the stern. “Look at her name!” The others look up to see painted on the stern the name Franci. “Utho,” Oreo meows, “this can’t be good.” Oreo dearly loved her departed sister, but she was the original wildchildkit, going from one scrape to the next, and Willow was far too like her. Just like her Aunty Franci, if there is trouble to be found, Willow will find it.
Willow leaps from the metal monstur and races toward the old battered ship. At a much slower pace Timmy, Vester and Oreo follow. She races up the gangplank and straight into a large white cat standing on the deck, smoking a meerschaum. He is dressed in jeans and a navy blue sweater. A watch cap on his head. Over one eye is a patch. “Whoaaaaaaaaa, slow down there young lady”, he meows at Willow. Willow stops short. “Oh”, she meows. “Are you Captain Jack?” “And just who might be asking?” the big white cat meows in a gruff voice. “I’m Willow,” she meows. “I called this morning about buying the boat.” Captain Jack looks up as the others reach the top of the gangplank. “Permission to come aboard,” he calls to them. “I assume you are with this young ladykit”. “Yes, we are,” Timmy meows introducing the others. Meanwhile , Willow has wandered off, opening hatches, investigating rooms, checking out the wheel house. She passes a delicate paw over the beautiful teak wood, not seeing the wear and tear on the old ship, but envisioning her as she was in her glory days. She scrambles up the mast to the crows nest and peers out over the harbor. Vester looks up at Willow high above. “Timmy, looks like you have yourself a sailboat. Only thing left is to pay the bill and get her home to MCV.”