Leaning back in my desk chair, I took a sip of hot tea and sighed with pleasure. Winter sunshine slanting through the window made my office glow. I faintly heard the peaceful Christmas music of Kenny G and Mannheim Steamroller coming from the dining room stereo. Smiling, I took another sip. I love listening to these instrumentals through mid-January and have joked that they are subliminally Christmas.
Winter-clad goldfinches were busily working over the seeds in the bird feeder outside the office window. Hungry chick-a-dees and nuthatches greedily gobbled from a bag of suet hung nearby. I occasionally heard their squabbling twitters through the window.
An angry meow followed by a low growl made me turn to look at the futon across the room. Shadow, my brainless black and white kitten was trying to capture and bite my older white and black cat Louie’s tail. Addressing the older cat, I sympathized, “That stupid baby just won’t leave you alone, will he?”
Louie gave me a long-suffering stare. He is a mighty adult feline, equipped with can-opener claws, yet all he does when Shadow irritates him is meow angrily and growl. He could easily turn the little jerk of a kitten into strips of rawhide and dried meat snacks, but he doesn’t. The only conclusion is that Louie finds Shadow to be stupid, but loveable. Continue reading
I handed a glass of apple ale to Niki. My daughter took a sip and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask…would you like to have a kitten? My neighbors across the road have a mama cat with a litter. They’re giving away the babies.”
Sitting down at the dining room table, I shook my head. “Kittens are fun, but I own a fat, crabby old cat that doesn’t even like the other cat who lives here. That mean old biddy would have a hissy-fit, or as some people would put it, she’d have a kitten, if I brought home another cat!”
Niki persuaded, “Jonah will be fine. She keeps to herself. You said Louie loved Basil, your last kitten.”
“You’ve just mentioned the main reason I don’t want another kitten.” I sadly pointed out, “Basil slipped out of the house one night and I couldn’t get him to come back in. Because that had happened once before and everything worked out, I didn’t worry. Do you remember what happened that night? Basil was hit by a car and died. I’m afraid of having that happen again.”
“You’ve had cats ever since you moved to this house thirty-nine years ago.” Niki protested, “Basil was the only one that has ever got on the road and hit by a car!” Continue reading
I turned off the highway and onto the road where my house is located. Not a trace of the setting sun remained in the sky. Stars twinkled from a dark-blue, velvety ceiling. A bright sliver of the moon smiled crookedly down upon us. Slowing down to drive the final mile to the house, I told my daughter Tammie, “It’s such a nice summer night. Let’s open the windows and enjoy the night-time smells and sounds.”
We immediately caught the faint scent of a skunk and heard tree frogs croaking friendly greetings to one another. Then the beam of my headlights picked up the reflective eyes of a small creature in the grass alongside the road. I said, “I see a half-cat.”
After taking a sniff of the air my daughter answered with a chuckle, “Half cat, as in half cat and half skunk?”
Glancing over at Tammie with a grin on my face, I said, “No, this creature looks like it is all cat. The skunk we smell is hiding somewhere. I’m calling it a half-cat because it isn’t home and there isn’t a house nearby.”
Sounding perplexed, Tammie questioned, “How does that make it a half-cat?” Continue reading
A streak of lightning zig-zagged from one end of the sky to the other end. I counted, “One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.” A loud boom of thunder rattled our cottage.
My daughter Tammie said, “The storm is three miles from here.” Another streak of lighting was followed by thunder two seconds later.
“I said, “The thunder sounds like it bounces back and forth between all the bluffs around us like a ball in a pin-ball machine.”
While a thunderstorm would ruin some people’s vacation, I went to the cottage hoping that we would have a storm during our stay. It was beautiful and my daughter and I enjoyed it very much!
My daughter and I had decided to spend our vacation in a cottage surrounded by a vineyard on the side of a bluff in the driftless area of Wisconsin when we missed the enrollment date for a pilgrimage to Ireland. Untouched by the last glacier that had scoured most of Wisconsin flat, tall bluffs and deep coulees makes the driftless area seem like a beautiful foreign country. Continue reading
Waves of moist heat enveloped me the minute I opened the back door of my house and stepped out onto the deck. Purring loudly, my two cats Louie and Jonah wove back and forth, rubbing themselves against my legs. Despite their heavy coats of fur, they appeared to love the sticky July weather.
A pair of barn swallows spotted the felines and began a series of low, kamikaze swoops over the carnivores. They had instinctively recognized the cats as evil, baby-eating predators. Despite the risk to themselves they repeated the attack over and over. The swift birds with gorgeous tail feathers that made me think of an arrow’s fletching, chattered and scolded as they dove. All Louie and Jonah would have had to do was raise a paw to catch one. Instead, they stretched out full length on the sun-heated deck planks. I said, “You two are sadists! You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” Louie lifted his head and gave me a happy, slow blink. Continue reading
Anne leaned forward over the minute kitten in her lap. She was trying to get it to open its mouth to suckle on the nipple of a doll-sized bottle. A silky curtain of her blond hair slid forward, obscuring my view. After a moment, my sixteen-year-old granddaughter leaned back and I saw the small calico kitten that she cradled avidly sucking on the nipple.
I asked, “Have you given the kitten a name yet?”
My granddaughter’s blue eyes glanced up at me as she answered, “Ah…no, not yet. We just call it, Baby Kitty.”
I thought, “It’s just as well that they not name it right away. The chance of this small feline surviving is very slim.” Nodding approval, I said to her, “When you do name it, think about ‘Lucky’.” Continue reading
My family’s black and white tuxedo cat plopped down in the center of the kitchen floor. He sprawled out to his full, magnificent length, strategically between the stove, refrigerator and sink. In a hurry to cook supper and serve it to my hungry children and husband, I looked down at him and questioned, “Flicker…really? Why did you choose this place to stretch out? You know I’m going to accidentally step on you one of these days or else trip and fall over you!”
The beautiful black and white cat looked up at me with love in his large expressive golden eyes, slowly blinking in his adoration. Benevolent love radiated out from the tip of each well defined white whisker on his black muzzle. He rolled over a little more to expose his belly. Unable to resist, I leaned down and pet the soft expanse of his white underside. He purred loudly. My daughter Tammie said, “Cats show their bellies to people they love and trust.” Continue reading