Playing Getcha!

Pinky and I play GETCHA! every day weather permits, or if not we play it in the house. I stomp menacingly toward her and growl I’M GONNA GETCHA! and she takes off at top speed. As I amble along, she charges me and shoots past my feet. She pauses under a hedge. On cue, I go to the other side and cry “BOBBLEBOBBLEBOBBLE!” over the hedge. She throws me a shocked glare and speeds off. We do this two or three times a week, changing hedges or trees. When she wants to end the game she flops and offers her belly for scratching. I love to see her wiggle in the grass and roll over and over.

She is such a package of comfort, freedom, and agility that I wish I were a cat myself. When she lies flat, her long coat flows into the grass. The earth and she are so close I envy her.

I lie down, too, and we both contemplate the tall, old Monterey Pines and sky. My book is nearly done. For a long time after Renato went away, the partial manuscript lay in a drawer. I was helpless to take it up again until, on the first day of the month of January, I sat Pinky on my lap before the computer and, taking her paw, struck the first letter of the opening of a new paragraph. She added a few more letters on her own, but the important thing had been done. I had broken the freeze.


A summer mouse

Early summer is here. Pinky stays out late at night and may not be back until two o’clock in the morning. The mouse parade quickens. The smallest I have ever seen is little more than an inch long and is mostly round. Pinky had cornered it and it huddled against the wall, trembling, while I ran to fetch my indispensable oven mitt.

Had Pinky had not adopted me first, I might have adopted that mouse. The biggest mouse is still the one behind the stove. I manage to return all but that one to the wild. For a country mouse, it has the smarts of an inner-city inhabitant.

One afternoon Pinky jumps down from the bed and makes to leave the room. At the doorway she halts, backs up, and ducks behind the door. She bides there a minute or two before advancing and peering around the door, then again retreats. Watching from the bed where I have been reading, I wonder at this behavior. There is no one else in the entire house but us. Finally, she comes back to bed.
As I think on it, the meaning comes clear. I say, quietly, “Hello Renato.”

Spring with pussycats

Spring, amongst all the foliage and woods where I used to live, is a season of bounty for birds. If they get as much to eat as all the seeds the cats have picked up on their coats, that will be plenty. The cats are covered with seeds, stickers, and burrs that adhere to my clothes and bedding.
Still, I find that preferable to the rainy season when sometimes two soaking wet cats at a time fly onto my head while I am asleep. I burrow under the covers and allow them to roll about on the quilt to dry themselves. I have had the quilt cleaned twice. Then there are the unspeakable, unmentionable critters that catch a ride on the undercoats of the cats. These, I pick off the quilt with paper towels. I also check my hair.