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Monday, June 10, 2013

Wherein Catnip – and Love – is Delivered to My Front Door

I walk into the living room, slow down, back up.

There’s something different about the cat…

“You look different,” I say.

Symetrically striped, delightfully tiny, she looks up, eyebrows arched in a show of feigned innocence.  “Hmm?”

It’s more serious than I thought. 

“What?” I say, a note of panic in my voice.  “Why are you trying to look so innocent?”

Liza Bean Bitey, eyebrows already in peril of shooting off her brow and up into the tips of her ears, smiles slightly.  “Me?  My dear Pearl, I’ve no idea what you are talking about.”

I stare at her.  I just can’t put my finger on…

My finger.

I stare down at the cat’s paws.  “What’s that on your paws?”

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, a cat purported to have married Richard Burton – twice; world record holder for the String Chase (besting the favored Kenyan by a whisker); and chair-cat of the Minneapolis chapter of Mensa, looks down.

The cat, once referred to by Whitey Ford as “the most dangerous south paw outside of baseball”, tucks her tiny feet under her body.

I pick her up, inspect her tiny, deadly paws.  “What is that?  Is that packing tape?” 

She wriggles, and I set her down.  “Perhaps,” she says, gathering her dignity, “Do you want to tell me who “June” is?”

June?

June.

“What do you know about June?” I say.

The cat reaches under the ottoman, pulls out a catnip-stuffed teddy bear dressed in pink and purple pajamas.  “Only,” she says, “that she seems to love us.” 

I frown at her, a habit I have sworn to give up, and move the ottoman to one side.

And there I find a cardboard box, mailed from Louisiana.  Inside the box, a Jim Shore plaque of the letter “P”, two cans of Natural Choice cat food (“I adore this woman,” Liza Beans says thoughtfully), and a large plastic container labeled Anti-Monkey Butt.

Sweat Absorber and Friction Fighter”, the cat reads, green eyes sparkling.  “Well clearly she knows something about you, doesn’t she?”

I hold the container up, read the ingredients:  talc, calamine, fragrance.  “I shall think of her,” I say solemnly, “on Saturday the 22nd, from 8:30 to 1:00.”

Liza Bean cocks her head at me.  “Serving at a graduation party?”

I nod.

From the kitchen, I hear the sound of a match being struck.

How many times do I have to ask that the cats not smoke in the house?

In the kitchen, Dolly Gee is exhaling toward an open window as I enter. 

I clear my throat.

She turns, grins at me and points down.  There on the table, sent by June and soon to take its place as a favorite in Dolly’s ever-growing collection, is a new ashtray.

It is in the shape of the Great State of Louisiana. 

And Dolly Gee, a long-haired feline with a lifelong lisp and a taste for Kools (menthol, if you got ‘em), sets her cigarette down between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge and smiles beatifically. 

“Did you have any idea?” Dolly purrs.  “Any idea at all?”

And I shake my head.  “I had only hoped,” I say. 


I had started this blog purely to prove to myself that I could write, every day, if I wanted to. 

It has become so much more than that. 


30 comments:

haphazardlife said...

It has become so much more than that for a lot of us who read you too, Pearl. Know that.

Indigo Roth said...

I have no idea what this is about, but man, it sounds exciting.

Silliyak said...

And we, your loyal minions, salute you! Long live Pearl!

Sioux said...

Pearl--Have you ever done sour dough or that "friendship bread starter" crap? It gets out of control and takes on a life all its own...

Kind of like this blog, thank goodness.

Leenie said...

Amen to all of the above. Keep on Blogging, Pearl.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

We all need a friend like June who seems to know us better than we know ourselves.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hearing ya... have only been at it 4 months myself and already understand what you're saying!!

It's a keeper, Pearl. A keeper.

(How's dem wristies doin'?)
YA(((((8>)))))Mxx

PS - Aitch loved the chapbooks!

Daisy said...

and we are the lucky recipients of your "testing". Thank you. You are our "June", sending off great and wonderful things to brighten our day.

bill lisleman said...

Love the detailed observations like "cigarette down between Lake Charles and Baton Rouge".
Interesting that Dolly prefers Kools over catnip or maybe Liza just doesn't share.

Shelly said...

Your writing is so much a part of my daily world that there's a void when it's not there. Glad you're back, my friend~

joeh said...

More Liza Bean...she's my favorite!

goatman said...

You are the only person I know who can talk to cats and make sense of what they say back.
Thanks for the smiles . . .

Esther Montgomery said...

I confess, Pearl, that I am floundering. I am not sure whether to put this down to cultural differences or suspect you of stringing us along with a sparkling set of new clothes for the emperor.

Pearl said...

I am not entirely sure myself, but this is true: I received a package in the mail -- not my first -- from a reader, out of the blue and in the nick of time. I have received a number of lovely things: flowers, chocolates, scarves, cards and cat treats and handwarmers and socks. For an extrovert, I can be quite withdrawn at times, and it's these reminders of the links I have to others that pulls me back to Earth, makes me realize how very lucky I am.

The unexpected kindnesses of others touches me deeply...

jenny_o said...

Lovely gift, and lovely post you've knitted together from it ... how thoughtful of June to include a little something for the kitties!

Sigh. My day is complete.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I should show this to my cat "Ruby" :-)

Geo. said...

Brave Pearl, I'm proud to be another bozo on your bus. Best wishes.

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm glad you resumed. Nice epiphany,
there.

Buttons said...

Oh Pearl I know I look forward to your stories. Once a writer always a writer. I like this one and yes you can. B

River said...

Unexpected gifts that include something for everybody are the best kind.

Gigi said...

Bless her cotton socks! What a wonderful thing for June to do. More times than not, the Internet shows us the loonies far more than it does the angels.

HermanTurnip said...

First the NSA is going through my mail, now I have to worry about the cat sneaking a peek? What is this world coming to?!

Eva Gallant said...

Your posts make my day....love ya', Pearl!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Those cats are so bloody funny but I would not like them smoking in the house either..........smoking in the house is a big NO NO for me........

The Dancing Donkey said...

Blogs do seem to have a tendency to become so much more than ever imagined:)

Elephant's Child said...

June has expressed (beautifully) the love that so many of us feel for you, for Liza Bean and for Dolly June. Thank you June, thank you Pearl.

Tez said...

I'm a newish reader and just had to say how much I love your writing. This post is a favourite. You have captured the essence of the domestic cat purrfectly. Thank you for the big smiles :-)

sage said...

It is fun to receive unexpected gifts and I love how you tie them into your cat stories.

jabblog said...

Aww, I am in awe . . . that's all (awl)

Pat Tillett said...

Pearl, this isn't just a blog. It's genius!