Day 362 – Silent Stranger *note – for some reason this post was sitting in my drafts unpublished*

Silent Stranger

Day 362

The Ad-Dressing Of Cats by T. S. Eliot

You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are same and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse–
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
But
How would you ad-dress a Cat?So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste–
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.

So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you AD-DRESS A CAT.

•••
This little fellow and I crossed paths and he sat silently as I talked to him in a silly sing-song voice.  He was likely thinking about his superiority and about my pea brain as he contemplated me.  Sweet, shiny and quite healthy there is someone he is no stranger to.  I wonder if we will ever cross paths again?

Day 238 – Hitchhiker in Mittens

Hitchiker in Mittens

Day 238

The Old Gumbie Cat by T. S. Eliot

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits–and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.
And when all the family’s in bed and asleep,
She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice–
Their behaviour’s not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teachs them music, crocheting and tatting.I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or on the bed or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits–and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.
As she finds that the mice will not ever keep quiet,
She is sure it is due to irregular diet;
And believing that nothing is done without trying,
She sets right to work with her baking and frying.
She makes them a mouse–cake of bread and dried peas,
And a beautiful fry of lean bacon and cheese.I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots.
She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that’s smooth and flat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits–and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!

But when the day’s hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat’s work is but hardly begun.
She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment
To prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment.
So she’s formed, from that lot of disorderly louts,
A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts,
With a purpose in life and a good deed to do–
And she’s even created a Beetles’ Tattoo.

So for Old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers–
On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.

They always seem to find us.  The softhearted ones.  The ones who can’t say no.  The ones who know cold weather is coming and shelter is scarce.  The ones whose hearts break to see need staring us in the face.  The ones who care.
Right now we have four of those little searchers in our house and two found me at the library.  Booker came through the front doors and Mittens, in the photo above, hitched a ride by jumping into my car.  Baxter came via my sister who took him in after his owners moved here from Oklahoma and didn’t have a place for him here – he is a well-traveled cat.  Lucy came to us from a breeder who didn’t find a buyer – her hair was so thin and she was covered in fleas.
I don’t know how anyone can put an animal out, ill-equipped to fend for itself with no shelter and no more loving arms; to starve, to freeze, to get disease and to fear.
I am looking at my three cats curled up on the sofa and chairs and at my dog on her princess pillow and I am so grateful that I am softhearted, that I can’t say no and that I care.  And I am so grateful that my husband is the same way.

Day 190 – And the Madness Begins…

And the Madness Begins...

Day 190

Holidays by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;–
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;–a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.
Sigh….  My decorating, for all intents and purposes, is finished.  Two trees, garlands, snowmen, Rudolf, the Nativity, more lights than I want to count and more things for the cats to get into than I want to think about.  The first tree took over 7 hours to decorate to my satisfaction – 1300 lights and more than 300 ornaments.  I have been dreading the holiday decorating, knowing that it would take me a full 3 days of almost non-stop unpacking, unwrapping, tying, hanging, and re-arranging to get this done.  And now, it is a feast for my eyes and I know that I will leave it all up until New Years, barring any catastrophes like the Christmas Tree Fiasco caused by my Baxter last year….

Even if you have just destroyed a Ming Vase, purr. Usually all will be forgiven. ~Lenny Rubenstein

At the Scene of the Crime

Day 184 – I am Ready for a Cat Nap

I am Ready for a Cat Nap

Day 184

Lost Kitten by Robert William Service

Two men I saw reel from a bar
And stumble down the street;
Coarse and uncouth as workmen are,
They walked with wobbly feet.
I watched them, thinking sadly as
I heard their hobnails clink,
The only joy a toiler has
Is to get drowned in drink.A kitten on a wall,
A skinny, starving stray;
It looked so pitifully small,
A fluff of silver grey.
One of the men came to a stand,
A kindly chap was he,
For with a huge and horny hand
He stroked it tenderly.

With wistful hope it gazed at him
And arched a spine of fur;
It licked his hand so grimy grim
And feebly tried to purr.
And then it climbed upon his chest,
And to his drunken glee,
Upon his shoulder came to rest,
Contented as could be.

The other fellow with a jeer
Made feint to dash it down,
but as it shrank with sudden fear
I saw the first one frown;
And then I heard him coarsely cry:
“Have care for what you do;
Just harm a hair of it and I
Will twist my knife in you.”

So there they stood like brutes at bay,
Their blood at fighting heat;
And snarling at each other they
Went weaving down the street,
Leaving the kitten all alone
Upon its stony shelf . . .
And as I haven’t heart of stone
I took it home myself.

Mittens jumped into my car 5 days ago.
I parked that day in a space I will normally never use, as it is in the patron parking area at the library.  Every other space was taken.  I left work at 5 pm on the dot.  I usually leave at somewhere around 5:20 pm because there is always some fire to put out.  I never speak to anyone when I leave the library.  I opened my door and asked Gary Brown how the software I loaned him was working out.  And Mittens hopped into my car and into my heart.

Day 162 – He Says it’s Ugly

He Says it's Ugly

Day 162

I died for Beauty — but was scarce by Emily Dickinson

I died for Beauty — but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining room –He questioned softly “Why I failed”?
“For Beauty”, I replied —
“And I — for Truth — Themself are One —
We Brethren, are”, He said —

And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night —
We talked between the Rooms —
Until the Moss had reached our lips —
And covered up — our names —

Day 159 – Talk to Me, Baxter

Talk to Me, Baxter

Day 159

The Naming Of Cats by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.