Animated, my co-worker was telling me yesterday about early life in his marriage. He surprised his wife with two little calico kittens. He carried each in his large pea coat pockets from the old barn where they had lived. Presenting one in the palm of his hand, his wife cooed in delight. As she was bonding with one, he surprised her with the other. He had never been a cat person, but I think that experience converted him. Paul proceeded to tell me about every cat he and his wife have loved in their long marriage.
As he was sharing, I was thinking about all of our cats. Growing up we had a multitude of cats. Always. Like Polly who got stuck in the chimney and George who survived a through and through wound (we think from an arrow) or Frosty who lived to be more than twenty years old. My brother remembers them all and the stories bind us in our love. The tales go on forever.
My husband and daughter through the years have brought home nine cats. They each have their own personalities and quirks. For instance, Maggie likes to drink directly out of the faucet and gives kisses when I ask on my nose and lips. Abbie, a tiny calico squeaks rather than meows and gave birth to Harry (named after my father) a long sleek gray beauty who can’t seem to get enough of me. Our big calico Julie Jewels robs shiny things. We had named her Julie long before we discovered her affinity for jewels. What a delightful alliteration: Julie Jewels-and so appropriate too.
Then there is Charlie, our gentle old-timer is thirteen years old. Duke a long haired marmalade is a bit of a brute swatting others away from the food dish. The last to join our family is Lilly, a feral born in a wall. She is more than two years old, but remains the size of a kitten. She has adjusted just fine to our crazy house filled with teenagers.
Each morning we are surrounded by cats. We wouldn’t want it any other way.