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With apologies to William Faulkner,
but only if he first apologizes to the better William.

It has been several months since the caretaker has cataloged events at Stratford Palace. Had there been a proper excuse for this lapse, it would have been inserted here, but there is none, which I suppose in itself is good news. By God’s grace, neither the caretaker nor the cats have endured any illnesses or injuries or calamities that would have prevented blogging. Instead, the caretaker has found many activities to occupy her time, and they have crowded in upon her duty to report on His Majesty and affairs of state. But tonight the caretaker finds herself with a few extra minutes, so she will summarize the events of the last few weeks to elicit a droll smile from both our gentle readers.

Therefore, we commence, but not like Faulkner. We will allow our story to unfold in chronological order because we are not a famous Southern author who learned the hard way that liquor and horseback riding do not mix. But that’s another story….

Part 1: June 13, 2017

Even before this terrible day arrived, the cats were suspicious of the caretaker’s movements. She had spent hours dragging luggage out of closets, rifling through obscure dresser drawers, and arranging small bottles of various liquids into plastic bags. Having seen this sort of behavior before, the cats were increasingly filled with dread. They realized it was only a matter of time before the caretaker disappeared for several days—and nights. But what made this terrible day even worse was the influx of visitors who arrived just before the caretaker’s disappearing act. For two creatures whose third greatest fear is being trodden upon, the cats found that the presence of ten additional lumbering feet in the house was too much to be borne. Mercifully for them, the flurry of activity was soon over, and they were alone.

Utterly, utterly alone.

After several hours of deep silence (and possibly naps), Buddy yawned, looked at his forlorn companion, and said with sad resignation, “Catty, we’re gonna have to fend for ourselves.” As dark descended, so did their spirits. It mattered little that the tall Dan-man arrived every evening to attend to their needs. He was not the caretaker. The caretaker was gone. Utterly, utterly gone.

Until she wasn’t.

Part 2: June 17, 2017

The sun had already shone for many hours, which could only mean that another dark night was closing in like the unruly flaps of an Amazon.com box. When the key turned in the door, the cats barely looked up. It would be the tall Dan-man again to open another can of the wrong food, fill the bowl with inferior water, and stop for a quick head-scratching, and then he’d be gone.

Utterly, utterly gone.

But this time was different. Buddy scarcely believed his golden-green eyes when the door flew open to reveal the caretaker’s tired face. The floodgates were opened and the miaow-ridden complaining began. But it was soon squelched by the feeding and the watering and the scratching and the soothing words and the scooping and the sitting-down-to-make-a-lap.

As soon as the lap was made available, Buddy draped himself over it and commenced a deep purr that lasted longer than seemed possible. His world had been redeemed.

For a few days, anyway.

Part 3: June 26, 2017

As before, this day of parting was preceded by several days of flurrying and scurrying, rumblings and grumblings, and a great deal of document printing, all of which boded ill for the cats. When the suitcase turned up and filled up, Buddy once again looked at his morose companion, this time saying, “Catty, she’ll be gone again soon.”

And she was. A rolling box drove up and carted the caretaker and her luggage far away for many days. A different tall man this time, who brought a bubbly little boy, came to the house daily to brighten the cats’ world, but they were having none of it. They grudgingly drank enough water and ate enough food to stay alive,  but they were too irritated to enjoy themselves.

Then both the best thing and the worst thing happened all at the same time. It was very confusing.

Part 4: July 1, 2017

Although the caretaker had received a cool reception the prior evening, July 1 was her first full day back, and the cats had grudgingly begun to acknowledge her existence. But when the neighbors began their annual completely unnecessary fireworks practice, the cats clung to the caretaker like a couple of wet leaves.

Think of a cat as a creature who has Attachment Disorder alternating with Borderline Personality, and you’ll understand completely what these last few days at Stratford Palace have looked like. Hours of aloof behavior that conveyed the message “I’ve learned to be independent during your long absences,” have been followed by tense moments of terror, as explosion after explosion filled the air outside the palace. Hearing the awful sound and mistaking it for gunfire, Buddy, remembered the Alamo, the storming of the Bastille, the attack on the Tuileries, the falls of Troy and Jericho and the House of Usher, and he imagined himself the target of a monstrous coup. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Bear, having no such illusions, thought only of the naps that were being interrupted. Uneasy lies the head that has to endure the incessant thunder of fireworks.

On July 2, the caretaker awoke to find both cats pressed up against her back, sound asleep, a phenomenon that had not happened in recent memory. (Normally they take turns being near her because they do not like to share her attention.) A relatively quiet morning gave way to a boisterous afternoon of explosions no different from that of the previous day, and the same thing happened on July 3rd and 4th. In fact, on July 4 for some reason the fireworks intensified in number, lasted entirely too long, and brought a great deal of upset and fervor (or fur-vor, if you prefer).

But today, on the fifth day, there is silence. Glorious, glorious silence. At this very moment, Buddy is draped across the caretaker’s lap watching the words of his story magically appear on the screen. He wishes you to know that he bears no ill will toward those who planned the coup, but he hopes they will move along quietly from this time forth, even unto the ending of the world. He is certain that all of his gentle readers regard him kindly and would never commit such crimes against his person.

He does tend to sound pompous from time to time, but that is only to be expected from royalty (and Navy captains). 

 

 

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Meowy Christmas

From Stratford Palace to your house come sincerest greetings for a very blessed Christmas day.

May you enjoy the company of your family.

Family togetherness

Family togetherness

And may you have plenty of good food to eat.

Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner

And a comfy spot to relax.

Christmas rest

Christmas rest

And may you remember the greatest gift of all. . .

Perhaps the second greatest gift

Perhaps the second greatest gift

No, Buddy, not you.

And now without further interruption, may our gentle readers remember the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, Immanuel.

The Holy Family at Stratford Palace

The Holy Family at Stratford Palace

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It has been almost a month since the caretaker has taken time to report on the events of Stratford Palace, and that is just as well. Had the following account been written any sooner, the cats would have insisted upon peppering it with exclamation points, not to mention random symbols to indicate the omission of expletives. But time heals all wounds, and by now the horror of that day is fading. So before it fades away entirely, the cats have requested to recount to you the harrowing experiences they endured during that most noisome and noisy season of Krissmuss. No amount of rich treats, no plethora of presents, no additional Caturdays could make up for the inconveniences caused by the invasion of fourteen tall hoomans and one baybee. What follows is the cats’ true and faithful account of the events that transpired on Sunday, 23 December 2012.

Bear: That Sunday started like all of the others before it. The caretaker arose early, fed us, fed herself, washed herself, got dressed, walked to the door,  . . .

Buddy: Yes, yes, yes. Let’s get to the important part. The part about me.

Bear: Ahem. While the caretaker was gone to church, we took care of our morning nap responsibilities, but when we awoke, we remembered that we had another hooman in the house, somebody called a Nuncle-dan. He was very tall and very kind, and he let me sit with him while he scratched my head, and he . . .

Buddy: Blah, blah, blah. I’m warning you. Stop talking about trivia.

Bear: Anyway, the caretaker soon came home, and the house began to fill up with heavenly smells of food. I especially liked something called “hayem.” But heaven soon went south as hooman after hooman began to appear. All our best napping spots on the furniture soon filled up with hoomans, and then the caretaker started bringing out more furniture for them. After a while, the whole living room was filled with hoomans. It reminded me of the cage I lived in a long time ago in the rescue center, except it smelled better. I removed myself to the window seat to escape all the dangerous feet.

Buddy: Right. But they still saw you, and one of the boys noticed how very round you are and started laughing at you and calling you names. At least I think “rotund one” is a disparaging name. And then you stomped across the back of the couch and out of the room in a giant huff because you HATE it when hoomans laugh. Especially at you. Har har har.

Bear:  First of all, they were only admiring my awesomeness, and second, I don’t remember you being cool and calm and collected that day, especially when you got trapped.

Buddy: SHHH. Stop right there. you won’t tell it right. You have no idea what terrors I endured. You were only the topic of light-hearted jokes. I was trapped in the same room with a dangerous beast: a baybee. It was dreadful!

Bear:  Oh, you’re so brave!

Buddy:  You have no idea what I went through. One minute I was following Other Momma around, reminding her how very wonderful I am, and the next minute I was trapped in the caretaker’s room with Other Momma and that beast. Don’t get me wrong; I will always be grateful to Other Momma for saving my life and giving me tuna and letting me stay with her and The Boy, but her generosity has gone too far this time. She has rescued a howling hairless beast that is even worse than a D-O-G. It sounds dreadful and smells awful, but what is worse, it takes all of her attention away from me. One minute I was escorting her around the house, and the next I was trapped in the room where she had withdrawn to take care of that monster. I can only assume that the other hoomans had become so appalled by its hideousness that she had no choice but to hide it for a while, and I can certainly understand that, but she obviously did not share their opinion. As horrible as that bay-beast was, she remained devoted to it and wouldn’t even stop to adore me or respond to my urgent pleas to be set free. Mighty king that I am, I was confined in my least favorite room in my own castle. What is worse, she tried to talk me into accepting my captivity without murmuring. The more I paced and objected loudly, the more she spoke calmly, which infuriated me even further. If I hadn’t needed to yell so badly, I would have stopped speaking to her.

Bear:  Someone get me a tissue, I think I’m beginning to tear up. No, wait. I’m fine now.

Buddy:  Scoff if you will, but I don’t think you would have borne captivity any better than I did.

Bear: Oh, really? Was there a bed in the room?

Buddy:  Yes, you know there is. You sleep on it every night.

Bear:  Then I rest my case. And my head. Good night.

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A Tail of Two Kitties

The cats apologize profusely for their weeks-long absence from the interwebs, and they would like to assure you that they have not been remiss. No, any negligence suffered by our gentle readers must be put squarely on the caretaker’s shoulders where it belongs. They are now making her do penance, which includes catching up with their chronicles, and they are requiring her to do so in chronological order, even though she wants to tell you about something called a “bay-bee.” They have no idea what that is, but they already don’t like it because it’s taking up so much of her time this week. But first, each will give you a cat’s-eye version of a holler day that is called “Fanksgibbing.” Brace yourselves, gentle readers. You’re obviously out of practice reading about Buddy and Bear’s antics.

Buddy’s side first:

Fanksgibbing Groceries!

Fanksgibbing Groceries!

At first, I didn’t mind this holler day very much because it involves many groceries, and whatever the caretaker was doing with them filled the air with the lovely scent of something she called “ter-kee.” But at about noon, the situation went downhill in a hurry. People started coming to the house, taking up all the good seats in the living room and setting purses on my spare bed, where I sometimes sleep when I am in distress. I amused myself by examining the contents of the purses, but after a while, I felt the need to express my royal displeasure by jumping on the dining table. It was then the world ended, or at least it should have ended.

I was told to “shoo.”

Shoo, you will notice, rhymes with MAROOOOU!

Imagine my dismay! His Royal Highness, Merlin Buddy Blacktail, was treated like a common pest! Inconceivable! The caretaker sought to smooth my ruffled fur, but it was too little, too late. I strode to my room, ascended to my window seat in the bedroom and attempted to regather my dignity. When I thought the caretaker had been sufficiently punished by my absence, I returned to the living room to see if the nightmare had ended. Finding my beloved couch still occupied, I spent some time sniffing the clothing of the caretaker’s guests until I was revulsed by the distinct odor of D. O. G. Hoomans have absolutely no taste in companions. I was extremely happy when the door closed behind the last one.

Now, Bear’s side:

I really don’t know why Buddy is so upset by the presence of extra hoomans in the palace. They like me—they really like me—and I am content to let them adore me briefly. But on that day when I had soaked in quite enough, I repaired to my window seat behind the couch and remained quite happy for the duration of their stay. Their presence did not bother me at all, especially as multiple hoomans serve as “Buddy-repellant,” allowing me to have a glorious period of undisturbed sleep. Better still, the caretaker minced up some pieces of ter-kee for me, and although I declined eating them because they required chewing, I did lick off some of the glorious juice and take in the lovely aroma. For me, the hoomans’ visit was so pleasant that I searched frantically for them when they had gone.

Come back, hoomans!

Come back, hoomans!

The caretaker’s epilogue:

We hope you have enjoyed this little “he said, she said,” account of yet another holler day in the house, and we ask you to stay tuned for the story of bay-bee. The cats won’t be happy, but they don’t have a lot of say in the matter, at least not until they grow some opposable thumbs.

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Holler Day

The cats apologize profusely for the long delay since the last post. The caretaker has been something that she calls “bizzy,” and there is no one else available to record their vital communications. Today she is at home in the middle of the week because of something they heard her call a “holler day.” As near as they can surmise, a “holler day” is a day when she sleeps late, sits with the computer on her lap, and hollers at them for doing what cats do.

“Buddy, stop! The candle will burn your paw.”

“Mrroow?”

“Bear, don’t growl at your brother!”

“RRRRRR”

“Buddy, stop chasing your sister!”

“Mrrooo!”

Such conversations are annoying to the cats on several levels. First, the caretaker does not seem to understand that just because she is given the privilege of paying the rent and buying the groceries, she is not the cats’ supervisor. She should think of herself as a steward, with all the reponsibility and none of the authority. She should really be used to that scenario by now. Second, cats do not like to be interrupted when they are in the middle of a project. Buddy in particular shoots eye daggers at the caretaker when she stops him from stalking Bear. How is he ever going to demonstrate his superiority as the male of the species if the caretaker prevents him from making Bear’s life miserable?

And then there is the matter of this “brother” and “sister” malarky. The cats have not studied human relationships (such information is irrelevant unless a relative is providing food), but they do understand that brothers and sisters are listed in the Table of Kindred and Affinities. They are reasonably sure that they are not kindred, and they are quite sure that they feel little or no affinity for each other. Bear spends most of her day wishing a large boulder would break through the ceiling and crush Buddy, preferably far away from the dinner bowl so that her meals will suffer no interruption. Buddy spends his time imagining that Bear’s head has been violently severed from her body. (Caretaker’s note: Buddy is dictating a very graphic description of this daydream, but there is no point in going any further, as it would make our gentle readers feel quite ill.)

So overall, the cats do not approve of holler days. If it were not for the extra opportunities to be scratched behind the ears and receive special snacks, holler days would be utterly intolerable. Perhaps the caretaker will take a nap soon so that the shenanigans can continue uninterrupted, like any other day of the week.

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