ROTC Summer Camp. Squad tactics. Walking through the woods or along a road in the dark.
"Send up a count."
"One... two... three..." Whispered from cadet to cadet. (By the 70's it was no longer man to man.)
"All accounted for..." Sir/Ma'am/Sergeant.
I think that must have been where the constant counting I hear in my head became a habit. The habit of accountability, knowing where your troops are all the time.
Today I look at a pile of kittens at my feet and think one... two... three... four... five... five... five... Where's six? Who's missing? OK, I see four grays and one red. A red one is missing. That one's Honey. Where's Snap?
And off I go, searching. It was Honey the other night, Snap this morning. Candy went missing briefly yesterday. Two out of three times I found them... in the filing cabinet. During the first long search for Honey I remembered having seen them play behind and hop over the bar behind the filing cabinet, a wooden structure with a partially open back. I pulled out the drawer, and there she was sleeping. Just enough head room for an under-20 oz. kitten.
It still took me awhile to find Snap this morning. Next time I'll look there first.