Small Pleasures, Part 3

This is a topic I’ve used before, and undoubtedly I’ll recommend some of the same small pleasures.  But it was on my mind after this week.  We had several dreary days of rain and DSCN0162cold.  I was averaging two and a half hours per day driving in traffic for my commute.  And now that Daylight Savings Time is over, I come home in the dark every day.

I find the change depressing.  So I started making a mental note of anything that lifted the grey fog a bit.  Here are a few small things that are a pleasure.

  1. The color of the last remaining leaves is especially brilliant this year.  The orange and yellow leaves are gone now, but the deep red ones are still here.
  2. Observed in traffic on the Long Island Expressway:  A Maine license tag with a lobster on it.  Gotta love it!
  3. Going to the last weekend of the Great Jack o’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, even though it was quite cold.  It gets more spectacular every year, and the sound effects really add to the spookiness.
  4. The smell of clean sheets.
  5. My favorite sweater, an Esprit (yes!) which I bought more than 20 years ago and refuse to give up.  It’s warmer than anything else and has the coolest ethnic pattern.
  6. The new pair of ankle booties I bought at DSW.  Okay, I don’t look like the young’uns do, but they are pretty cute.  A girl and her shoes are not to be trifled with.
  7.  The word, “gallivant,” as in “gallivanting around.”  Used by my mother as a term of disparagement sometimes, and others as a description.  It means “running around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure.”  Sounds like fun to me!
  8. Being told that something I did was “excellent.”  No, it was not at my job, I’m sorry to say!
  9. Waking up in the night with a weight on my head, and realizing it’s the cat resting his chin on my head, and purring.
  10. Leftover food from any good restaurant for dinner the next day.  No or less cooking, and something good that I wouldn’t ordinarily have!

If you have some small pleasures of your own, feel free to share!

Pet Foster Parents

DSCN0281 lo resI never meant to keep this stupid cat.  Who wants a 17 lb. black tomcat?  I agreed to foster him because he’d been abandoned in an apartment.  The neighbors said his owner went to jail, and the people who cleaned out the apartment left the cat, with food and water for a few days.  One of the neighbors called Forgotten Felines.  I was looking for a young, sweet female cat.  Instead I agreed to foster this thug, because the Forgotten Felines person didn’t have room for him.  And because I am a sap.

And you know what?  After he was neutered, he was still a thug, but less aggressive, which was a plus.  And over time, he learned to vocalize a lot of different things, and purr a lot, and play like a kitten.  And when I was sick, he licked my face.  And when it was cold, he slept on my feet.

So now, he’s my thug.  I admit, he’s up to 22 lbs. now, and on a diet, which he doesn’t seem to mind too much.  If he were a person, he’d have tattoos up his arm.  But I think he’d be like Jason on “My Cat From Hell”–looks fearsome, and is actually a pussycat.

Tribulations of a Black Cat

Nemo, last Halloween

My current cat, Nemo, is the second black tomcat I have had in my life.  He leads a fairly pampered existence and is unconscionably self-satisfied, as well as fat.  I fostered him for Forgotten Felines after he was abandoned in an apartment.  Needless to say I ended up keeping him (or he condescended to stay with me).  He’s lucky, because I have heard that black male cats are the last ones to be adopted from shelters.

He’s also luckier in many ways than the black tomcat I had on the farm as a teenager.  Someone had dropped him at the small grocery store and gas station miles from our house.  I had been sent to get some milk, and came home with the cat, much to Mother’s disapproval.  I named him Firecat, after the Cat Stevens album, but that lasted about two hours.  Mother said, “You can’t name him something I’m embarrassed to call out the back door,” and changed his name to Tom.

Tom, like most farm cats, got minimal care other than feeding and watering.  He lived outside summer and winter, spending cold nights in the barn.  I petted him, but he was not a cuddler.

Tom’s life was pretty good for a farm cat until I brought home another stray when I was in college, a tiny German shepherd mix puppy I named Chico.  Tom smacked the puppy with impunity and generally lorded over him.  But puppies grow, and before long Chico was even bigger than the average German shepherd.

Chico came up with a new game.  He closed his jaws around Tom’s head and carried him around the yard, the cat’s body hanging out of his mouth.  You could hear the cat’s muffled “meows.”  He never left a mark on Tom, but the poor cat must have been terrified.  I yelled at the dog until he dropped the cat, but I’m sure he did this a lot when I wasn’t there to intervene.  Tom started disappearing between mealtimes and staying well out of the dog’s reach.  Then he became very nervous–Mother thought he got hold of a mouse poisoned by strychnine, for he was high-strung and panicked at any sudden noise.

Tom finally moved to the woods and the barn, and would not come back even to eat.  I called him and called him.  At first he would answer me from the woods, but he wouldn’t come.  Then he didn’t answer.  He showed up at Aunt Lou’s house a few times, half a mile away.  Then he was gone for good.  He didn’t even come home to die, for Chico was still there.