Tango, a most amiable cat

Tango is large and rangy, with legs like a jack rabbit’s. Her coat is a deep orange with white belly and socks. Her voice squeezes out like this: EEUH, and sounds sad. I try to speak as she does and am rewarded by a startled look. She is also scared, affectionate, and needful. Despite her avoidance of the mole conclave that day by the lemon tree, she has followed the trail to the pet door.

Her appetite is bottomless. I am now purchasing two sacks of cat chow at a time. Of all the chairs there are in the house, she likes to lie on mine at the dining table. When having my breakfast, I must sit on the edge, often on her feet, which she likes. I reach behind and find a nose, a paw, and always a tongue. Even after weeks, she is uncertain of her welcome. She has been sensing my own uncertainty about having her as a frequent visitor, and I know I send out conflicting signals.

I am afraid Pinky might be feeling crowded. Between Tango and Au Au they clean out the food dish, leaving nothing for Pinky. The private food stash in the bedroom is no longer a secret. At night I awaken to crunching noises, Tango’s always louder than Au Au’s. Loaner, having once caught her tail in the pet door, enters the house only if the big door is open. Pinky does not get between the large cats and their food, and she grows so hungry that she has started waking me up at 5:30 for her breakfast. I pull the covers over my head but she is relentless, marching up and down my body, until I surrender at about 6:00.

After she eats, I have my own breakfast, and blearily read the newspaper, unless Tango is sitting on it and rubbing her face against mine. She likes to sample everything I drink, even my tea. Another time, she dipped a paw into my wine and had herself a drop or two. And she is the only cat who will drink from the dish of water I keep next to the food dish. The others go outside to the bird bath, which I must scrub every day.

Tango wishes she had fingers, I know. Her efforts to pick up objects of interest with her paw are futile, and so I help her. I feed her the pumpkin seeds she wants, one at a time, she chomping industriously. Then I discover a small pile of them on my lap. She had been spitting them out of the side of her mouth.

My Little Grass Shack

Yesterday we, the Trinity Troubadours, performed for the senior residents of Lake Park with a mixture of piano, flute, guitar, accordion and ukulele. Having taken up the ukulele only a couple of months ago, I practiced assiduously up to the time of the performance. Another newby, Dick Peters did the same. We sat beside each other in the back, thankfully.

We did pretty well up till one song that had so many chord changes so fast that I had to fake it, and then I noticed Dick was doing the same. He saw me looking over at him and we both collapsed in hysterics. I haven’t laughed that hard since high school.

My system must have created a zillion endorphins.

Tahiti

When Renato could tear himself away for a vacation, we embarked on a trip that, initially, seemed to be mostly in the air. We flew from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago, Chile, which had recently undergone a revolution. Our experience of it involved shortages of consumer goods, mainly cigarettes. Renato gave our waiter a couple and the man rushed outside to smoke them.

We toured their museum with the guidance of a man who offered his services outside the door. He said “Yes,” with a slow, thoughtful cadence, and it turned out that was the sole, single English word he knew.

Next, we flew to Easter Island, where we met that lovelorn woman who asked me to mail a letter to her lover. I have mentioned her before. The flight had arrived late and so we had no time to look at the giant stone heads. Then, on to Tahiti, where we stayed at a hotel near the clear, transparent water. We rented a car and went about the country roads lined with coconut palms and mango trees. Fallen fruit lay on the roadsides. What riches! I gathered armfuls of mangos and lugged them back to our hotel but had to leave them when we flew on to Honolulu.

I recall a gentle, salubrious air in Tahiti and a quiet like no other, and the tuna at an outdoor barbecue. That fish was five feet long and three feet thick. The women looked just like Gauguin’s portraits of them. We were outside a church when service ended and people began to exit the church. Every woman wore a big white flowered hat. I saw a breadfruit tree and longed to pick one.

Memories….