Old Pete and the Big Cat

Cougar prowling through the bushes

Old Pete and the Big Cat

Words by: Tim and Frances Tompkins  |  Music by: Tim Tompkins


Changing days of autumn, October country here.
Dim days of rain and wind are near.
Chilly nights, and creatures are haunting the hillside.
Fresh prints in dirt don’t lie. Mountain lion nearby.

Old Pete warps the neighborhood news while the fire burns low,
kerosene lamps aglow…

No one’s got power, since a mouse made a transformer blow,
way down the canyon where the wires go.
Trapper Joe said he saw a cougar prowlin’ up the headwaters
just a couple three days ago.

He bugs Veronica with his irritating cat call…

“Pete, that duck singing will be your downfall.”

“Raking leaves and whistling, watch your breath condense.
Huh! chop the kindling, feed the chickens,
bar the predators with a big bad fence,
prune the fruit trees, gotta keep a lookout.”

Come sunset, Veronica paces the porch with her horn.
The foothills echo.
No sign of Pete, who hiked up to clear out the spring,
overgrown, but that was hours ago…

“I suppose the old geezer’s best weapon is the terrifying
screech that his fighting falsetto can throw,
the cougar fleeing with a paw to his ear,
Pete finding a feline deterrent career.”

She goes in to set the table and wrestle with her fears…

“I hope the silly wisecrack I laid
on his howling in the house yesterday
didn’t make him go reckless
and stumble into harm’s way.
[Boot stomps on the porch. The door squeaks open.]
“That better be you, Pete! And why are you so late?”

Well I wouldn’t turn my back on him and I sure couldn’t stay,
but my high-tone tenor finally drove that cat high-tailin’ away.



Lyrics rewritten with major help from Frances to feature our Teatro friend, Melinna, as Veronica, in a story-line that was only hinted at in the 1979 original. The original musical concept survives in the quasi-gospel piano, but now underpinning a fuller rendition, the song more overtly silly.  [Tim]

Performances/Production Credits:

Tim Tompkins…………………….Narrator and Old Pete voices, cello, harmonica, whistling, MIDI horn, foley sound effects
Melinna Bobadilla………………Veronica voice
Frances Tompkins………………Violin
Chris Miller…………………………Percussion

Recorded and mixed at the GallopAway Music studio in San Juan Bautista, CA.
Mastered by Joe Weed at his Highland Studios in Santa Cruz County, CA.

Scroll to Top