Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Fond farewell to a grand Old Man

We once fed a Siamese cat we called Ring Tail when we lived on Jackson Road.  I have always loved Siamese cats from when I first saw the movie "Bell Book and Candle".  I say we fed him because we definitely did not own him.  When we approached him he would snarl and growl, hiss and spit.  So I would set the plate down in from of him and talk softly, encouraging him to be friends.  But no go.  He continued to snarl, though the hissing and spitting seemed to recede in both frequency and intensity. There were not many cats around at that time because of the frequent sacrifices to the Highway gods.  I worried about him, but couldn't control his goings and comings.  I couldn't get close enough to him to be much of anything but his food provider.  One day as I sat by the Koi pond having a cup of coffee he jumped into my lap and I wondered what would kill me first, the heart attack or him.  But he was purring loudly and rubbed his head on my face as though to claim me, so I relaxed.  I hesitantly stroked his ears and then his head as he settled down in my lap. Mac looked as though he may go into shock, so I reassured him that it was fine. I couldn't tell you what brought about this change, for I simply did not know.  After about a year of his being mine (or me being his) he disappeared as mysteriously as he had shown up.  I was crushed.
He was wild and beautiful and he had a part ownership of my heart from the first second I saw him.  Mac had spotted the Siamese kitten a week or so before I laid eyes on him.  It was a few weeks after Ring Tail had left, in late June of 1993.  He seemed to be about 6 weeks old and we had no idea where he had come from, either.  Our only outdoor cat, Jane Wayne, had never had a litter, but seemed to be taking care of him.  Gizmo, our little Moggie who lived inside, would entice him to the front door and play games with him through the storm door.  I knew that I would eventually capture him and I named him Pyewackit.  I would set out special little delicacies to get him on the porch then wait quietly for his approach.  Mama had taught me the secret to taming a feral kitten.  Simply get him wrapped in a soft blanket and carry him for hours.  Don't let those little claws out to do the damage his instincts tell him he can do.  One morning as he came up to snatch the piece of chicken I had left on his saucer, I threw the flannel plaid over him and scooped him up into my arms.  He fought like hell but I held on.  I was still walking around with him clutched to my chest when Mac got home from work. "What are you doing," he asked (shocked, that's what he was)"that kitten will do you an injury."  "We're bonding," I said calmly. "The time for injury was over about three hours ago."  I explained how I had taken him into the bathroom for litter pan use, closing the door behind me, then after he had completed his toilet, had quickly wrapped him in the flannel (which now had a few holes in the weave) and we had been walking and rocking since.  That night, I released him to his own devices and Gizmo took over from there.  The next morning, he crawled into my side of the bed and lay purring next to me till I got up for coffee.  That was twenty years ago.  Twenty years of playing and bossing, twenty years of devotion and love.  He was pal Jacqui's (Evil Sister to my readers) "Boyfriend", Grand Daughter Arianna's "Uncle Pye" and a fur son to me. He loved boiled peanuts so much that Mac said we should have named him Goober.  But he also had a love for shrimp, and at his size we could hardly call him that. We noticed a few weeks ago that he had really stopped eating.  We tempted him with all his favorites, I boiled up a pot of goobers and when that didn't work boiled him some shrimp.  Nothing helped.  The vet said consider his age.  I did.  I was not ready to let him go so we came home to await the inevitable. On Friday night, we noticed he had not moved for a long while.  Then Saturday dawned rainy and rumbly, and I held him in my lap, stroking him and talking to him.  Mac and I discussed our options and we decided that if he were still with us on Monday morning a trip to the vets for the final ride was in order.  He did not seem to be in pain, he was not vocal at all, but I couldn't bear to watch him just lying there.  Mac had already dug the spot out back where he would rest and I had faced the truth of it. Late Sunday afternoon I was holding him and he took a long deep breath and was gone.  I lay him back in his bed and went to find Mac.  He knew from the tears pouring down my face what the news was.  I wrapped him in his flannel for the last time and we carried him outside.  I talked to him the entire time, telling him again how much we had loved him. How honored I was to be holding him at the end.  On June 23rd we said farewell to a grand old man.  The house seems odd without him, empty in some way, but when I lay down at night it seems that I can feel him pressed close to me, purring.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

the origin of a Catperson

As we all are aware, I am a cat person. We have two old cats, 2 middle aged cats and then there is Hound.  Hound was bottle raised from the age of about one week.  We had to do for her everything that a mama cat would do for her baby.  I was amazed by the article in the Cheraw Chronicle 2 weeks ago featuring Lisa Sisk and The Pawmetto Lifeline.  I am in awe of her and the group she volunteers for.  I was also amazed that we HAD done everything right for our precious bundle.  We even had sitters for her for when we had Doctor appointments. We named her Hound for her antics and puppy like enjoyment of life.  When she was a wee bit of a thing, this Savannah type cat would hear me in the kitchen and come pounding down the hall to run up my legs and back to sit on my shoulder and look to see what I was doing.  It was so cute then, we just laughed and laughed.  Okay so now she weighs 14 pounds, is taller than as our Pekingese and when I hear her running down the hall, I quickly exit, stage left.  I haven't been quick enough once or twice and believe me, it is painful.  She sits even now at my side and would like to join me on the computer.  She is quite the little author.  Lets hear from Hound. I need a coffee refill!

My Daddy named me Hound...but Mommy calls me Precious in my ear, and I like that.  I am an oddity, you see.  There are not many of my kind who speak both human and ca'at.  Yes, I am bilingual.  Mommy is playing "Somewhere Out There" on her music machine and I am attuned to it.   I will pass on many secrets to you because I like the music that is playing.  I love my Mommy and Daddy but they keep insisting that Batgirl and the rest are my sisters and brothers, but really Wallace and Michael and Anna and now Sara are my brothers and sisters.  The others are ca'ats...I speak ca'at so well because the others have been jabbering in my ears since I'm a baby...Because I am the favorite I get the treats that my human brothers and sisters don't get, great stuff like sardines and jackmack and if I'm a good girl something Mommy calls nip...the other day after I had nip I just touched her lightly and she yelped like mad and got up and went into the little closet in the hall with the water pipes and the big water bowl and came back with the sharpies in her hand.  So I was Hound getting a manicure, not Precious sitting and purring in her lap...Mommy says I'm a good girl living in two worlds.  Daddy says I'm crazy.  Well, everyone says I'm crazy but Mommy...she knows better.  So, I am Hound to the world but Precious to my Mommy...and She Who Opens Cupboard Doors is the one who matters.  She who can use the special whirring thing that makes cans of great stuff more available to my tummy is Queen of the world...at least the Queen of mine...Daddy is a lucky Consort...ooh...Daddy is eating Angel Food Cake...my favorite...gotta run!  Ohoh, Mommy is mad, she struck my beauty and she says dam blogger won't let her put it in...never mind, she'll keep trying...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Building the Classic Tomato Sandwich

I'm sure that all of you have noticed that we have been blessed with rain for the past two and a half weeks.  At first we were all afraid to utter the dire "rain rain go away" for fear that it would, and not come back all summer.  Now as I get up each morning to check for gills and webbed toes, even this morning I found myself casting an incautious accusing eye to the sky as the clouds built up to an explosive burst of rain. I figured shaking my fist at the sky would be going to far, so kept my arm by my side. And why does all this rain bother me so much?  It is because of what some may call the lowly sandwich, but what is actually the King of the Summer, the Tomato Sandwish...yes, I said SANDWISH!
As soon as the first warm day of March hits, I start dreaming about that first tomato sandwich of summer.  Mac has already planted the seeds of my dreams in small pots in a little greenhouse we call  "heaven" since that is from where all good things come.  We Southerners dream of that tomato sandwich made with that tomato that comes from our own or a relatives garden.  The bright red skin, the glistening of the juices, the sparkle of salt and the haze of pepper as it rests on a Duke's Mayonnaise slathered slice of bread and a similar slice lying along side, the mayo thick and tempting.  I know, that is the queen of the run on sentence, but how can you not run on about the Tomato Sandwich?
So we have been watching the tomato plants for weeks now and the rain keeps falling.  I hate the thought of rain damaged fruits out there but finally spied the first wonderful tomato just before the 4th of July.  I carried it in reverently, gently eased it into a pot of boiling water, removing it quickly.  I slipped the skin off and stood looking at the awesomeness.  My eyes teared up.  Then I quickly shook off that "in the presence of greatness" moment and got out the bread, the mayo and the salt and pepper. I cut one thick slice then stood back and admired my handiwork.  Thinking what a great photo op this was, I grabbed my camera and took the shot.  Then I devoured that little gift from heaven in thirty seconds.
That photo was so beautiful that I posted it on Face book with the caption Gone In Thirty Seconds.  The remarks were so blatantly envious I had to laugh.  That was one big tomato slice after all, and this was one glorious Sink Sandwich...you know, so juicy and messy you have to stand over the sink to eat it.  One remark puzzled me greatly.  My pal Lee asked this question, "is there wine vinegar in there?"  In caps I answered her: NO THERE IS DUKES MAYO BUNNY BREAD SALT AND PEPPER AND NOTHING ELSE CAUSE ITS A TOMATO SANDWICH NOT A DANGED SALAD!  She later asked me if I could rethink the caps, because it sounded like I was shouting at her.  Forgive her, she's a Texan.  She should absolutely KNOW I WAS shouting at her.  I would fight for my tomato sandwich...wouldn't you?