Her eyes flew open. A pair of sea green eyes were gazing down at her.
“Mother . . . wakie, wakie.”
LW’s mouth dropped open. Not only was her SND cat Puddie standing on her chest, looking as fluffy and gorgeous and diva-like as ever, she was also—
“Talking. You can talk now, Puddie?”
Puddie gave a twitch of her gloriously plume-like tail. “One of the perks of achieving So Not Dead status, it seems. Now I don’t have that wimpy little meow, as you used to refer to it, Mother dear.”
Puddie gave a somewhat disdainful sniff of her dainty little pink nose and twitched her tail once more. That sniff reminded LW of somebody . . .
Puddie licked her paw and began to wash her face. “It’s the voice you always imagined me having, remember? If I had been able to speak before I crossed over, of course.”
LW nodded slowly. She was feeling slightly addle-pated, to be perfectly honest.
“So, let me get this straight—when Thumper and Callie cross over, Thumper will sound like a female version of Peter Lorre playing a mad scientist plotting to take over the world, and Callie will sound like–”
“Yep,” Puddie interrupted. “A flighty teenager hyped up on too much Red Bull.”
Ladywriter grinned. She’d always carried on conversations with her pets, but they did tend to be a trifle one-sided.
Puddie settled down on LW’s chest. She still put out some serious BTUs (Beauteous Tabby Units) and she still had her lush V-8 Caddy purr. LW could have done without the warmth (it was, after all, Alabama in August) but she was truly glad to hear that deliciously smooth purr. She would love to have a car with an engine that purred so deliciously.
“Gizzy thought you’d be pleased. About me having a voice.”
LW raised her eyebrows. “Oh, Gizzy, is it? Are you getting chummy with the Dark Knight?”
Puddie smiled (cats can and do smile; they just don’t show their teeth like those silly dogs) and gave a slight incline of her pretty head.
“He’s been lovely. He gets me my own bowls of Chocolate Moo-llineum Crunch to enjoy. Another perk of being SND. I can eat as much Blue Bell ice cream as I like—including chocolate!—and never get sick or gain an ounce.”
Puddie was so smug, she now looked just like the cat that swallowed the canary.
“Sounds as if Sir Guy is spoiling you rotten—well, rottener.”
Puddie blinked. “Well, you did it first, you know.”
Ladywriter stroked Puddie’s fur—oh, how soft and luxuriant it was once more!—and shrugged. “Yes, I suppose I did.” She paused. “Thumper really misses you, Puddie.”
“Really? She was always up for a good cuddle, weird kitty that she was . . .” Puddie gave a small sigh. “So—she really does miss me?” There was a certain wistfulness in her voice now.
Ladywriter nodded. “Yep. She’s been crawling into bed with me on a regular basis, looking for a cuddle. You know that isn’t typical.”
Puddie smiled. “Too true. Wait until winter. She’ll be glued to you, Mother.”
LW chuckled. “Yeah. Guess it will help cut down on the electric bill, though.”
“Puddie . . .” A certain deep, dark chocolate voice called out.
The kitty’s eyes brightened and she stood up and stretched.
“That’s Gizzy. He’s going to make us banana splits.”
Puddie butted her LW’s face with her head, rubbing her cheek against her mother’s.
“I love you, Mother,” she whispered and then bounded out the door, plume-like tail held high, plenty of spring in those four fuzzy paws once again.
LW felt something suspiciously like a tear rolling down her cheek. “I love you, too, you big ol’ fuzzy cat, you,” she whispered.
She heard an odd scrabbling sound. A black and white head popped up, bright green eyes goggling at her, and a rotund body hurled itself clumsily onto the bed.
LW smiled and crooked her finger. “Come here, you weird kitty, and get some lovin’.”
Thumper, the three-legged tuxedo cat, was only too glad to oblige.
Sometimes, you just have to lean on each other.
The grass is lush and wet with dew, the ground spongy on this Monday morning. The dog named Elvis wants to play, leaping up with dirty paws as the couple navigates their way across the expansive backyard down to the fence.
She is fearful of falling, even against the soft ground. Too many bad memories from the accident. The man calls out to the dog, commands him to stop. She tries to push the over-eager hound away, her voice breaking a little. She hasn’t slept at all and her nerves are raw.
“I’m sorry, Elvis. Not now. Just–not now.” Slogging through the thick grass, they finally reach the big pecan tree at the fence.
The hole has already been dug. The man had done it the day before. He’d had the feeling the night would end as it did.
He carries a sturdy plastic container with a snap-on lid. He had bought it a few days before. Once the woman finally spoke of the inevitable, it had freed him to make preparations.
The container was hot pink. He’d thought she’d like that better than the clear ones. More–girly, he had said, with a sad, sheepish smile.
The man lowers the container into the hole. For a moment, he bows his head and presses his hand on the top. “Goodbye, girl,” he says softly. This is the fifth time he’s gone through such a ceremony here beneath the big, shady pecan tree. It just doesn’t ever get any easier.
Standing, he wraps his arm around the woman and gives her a hug, brushing his lips against her cheek. She can feel tears running down her face. She is not sure if they are her tears, or his.
With a sigh, he releases her and picks up the shovel, filling in the hole and patting the earth down firmly before placing the concrete block on top.
A concrete block isn’t very girly, but it does help protect the gravesite.
They pause for a few moments, saying nothing, and then turn to walk back to the house. He gives her the shovel. “That should help you keep steady,” he said with a half-smile. He is such a kind and gentle man.
She wouldn’t trade him for all the gold or gorgeous actors in the world.
Tonight, shortly after 10 p.m. Central Standard Time, our beloved Puddie passed away. We were at her side.
We had kept vigil over her for those last few hours, cradling her in our arms, stroking her as she lay on the bed between us. We knew the end was coming. It was just a matter of time.
We cried. We talked. We remembered the good times. We cried some more.
I told her how many people had sent good wishes and prayed for her, how she was a celebrity in her own right and would never be forgotten by those who loved her fictional adventures.
I assured her that she would live on in our hearts. Thoughts of her exquisitely smooth purr, ever-expressive and elegant plume-like tail and those beautiful green eyes Scarlett O’Hara would have envied, would make us smile.
Proud and sometimes a bit humorless, wonderful to cuddle with on cold days and particularly enamored of the left-over dregs of Blue Bell ice cream. And only Blue Bell. Store brand? Forget about it. Only the best for our Puddin’.
Always trying to stuff herself inside boxes a little too small for her, like a vain woman who tries to wear a dress at least one size too little. Taking helium balloons for a walk around the house by catching the ribbons between her teeth. Thumper’s cuddle buddy and grooming partner.
Never a sweet cat like our Callie, but very endearing in her own diva-like way. We loved her. We will miss her.
Tomorrow, we will bury her earthly remains in the shade of the big pecan tree, to join our beloved Lucky, Scooter, Mary Ann and Ginger.
The happy news is this. Guy, Lucas and Porter have officially welcomed her into the fold. Puddin’ has been Loved into Being.
Harry, remember that a good book and a purring Puddie can be grand companions on a chilly winter’s day.
Guy, save her a little Blue Bell, won’t you? She’d like that. I’ve spoiled you, now you can spoil her, just a bit.
Farewell, my dear old feline friend.
More than 10,000 words done now of the latest novel revision. I was on a writing roll and I didn’t want to stop. Those of you who write know what I’m tawkin’ ’bout. I had a couple of days that just weren’t very productive, so I am trying to make up for it. Judging by how discombobulated I was last night concerning what day of the week it was, I decided less multi-tasking might be in order. No Tweeting and very little blog visiting, just an attempt to catch up with comments here.
Thanks, everyone, for the kind words and thoughts for our Puddie.
She scared us a bit during the night, but she’s still with us, hanging out in her favorite spot in the kitchen and speaking up when we check in on her. I think Callie is a little jealous, so she’s been clinging to me today. Gotta make sure all the babies feel loved.
Now, here’s some pretty for you to enjoy. See ya!
I have my ice pack on my shoulder and pain meds in my system and enjoying some nature therapy. The 1969 film Ring of Bright Water has been on this afternoon and I found it quite delightful. Starring real-life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna (of Born Free fame) and based on naturalist Gavin Maxwell‘s book, the film chronicles the story of Graham (Travers), a jaded Londoner, who adopts an orphaned otter, a situation that does not work very well in his London flat.
Graham, who has always intended to write a book, decides to move to the Scottish highlandswhere he and Mij the otter live in a ramshackle cottage. Graham manages to keep putting off writing that book (instead, he works on fixing up the place, he sketches Mij and takes notes about his unusual pet). He also meets
the very attractive town doctor, played by McKenna, and the three, along with the good doctor’s spaniel, become fast friends. There are orphaned geese which Graham rather ham-fistedly attempts to teach how to fly, and his harpooning of a toothless shark in hopes of feeding Mij (too bad it turns out he doesn’t like shark steaks) amongst other adventures.
It’s a sweet, humorous and touching film suitable for all ages, with beautiful scenery and a scene-stealing performance by Mij. Dang it, that otter is just tooooo cute.
You know those articles you see in some magazines that have a celeb listing X number of things you probably don’t know about them? Well, I am certainly no celebrity but I thought it might be fun to do this so you could learn a bit more about fedoralady. Some of these some of you will know, but others should be completely fresh to all. And Richard Armitage manages to appear in here somewhere.
1. I live on the same rural dirt and gravel road where I grew up. Several years ago the road got a name as part of E-911.
The road bears my father’s name, a fact in which he took a great deal of pride.
2. I am a lefty who uses her right hand to operate her computer mouse and most remote controls.
3. I taught arts and crafts and creative and performing arts to blind and visually impaired students at the Alabama School for the Blind for three years. The comment I often got when people learned what I did? “Oh, so you know sign language!” Uh, no. I did learn Braille. BTW, sighted people learn Braille by sight rather than touch.
4. I can sing “Jingle Bells” in three languages—English, Spanish and French.
5. I am a Libra and so is my husband.
6. I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. If Dr. Philip hadn’t done his job quickly, I would have likely suffered brain damage. Occasionally I wonder if I didn’t.
7. I have no natural sense of direction.
8. I have flown a plane. I took a flight lesson while working at the newspaper and the student actually has control of the plane for a portion of the lesson. Exciting and a bit harrowing.
9. On that same note, I have also flown in a KC-135 tanker and seen an in-flight refueling up close and personal.
10. In spite of numbers 8 and 9, I have something of a fear of heights. I also dislike deep water and I hate snakes. My father was bitten by a rattler when I was a child.
11. I have interviewed the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
12. I have known my husband since first grade but we didn’t start dating until our senior year, when we attended the prom together.
13. I spent Sept. 11, 2001 with my family at a Montgomery hospital while my mother underwent pre-op for surgery to repair her shattered ankle.
14. I have a couple of extra vertebrae in my spine, making me two inches taller than I would otherwise be.
15. I am the youngest of three daughters and my parents’ only biological child together. My sisters were conceived by artificial insemination. My father had been injured by a bayonet in the groin in WW II and was thought to be sterile. Let’s say it was a big surprise when I came along. My feet are identical to his with very distinctive toes.
16. I absolutely love tomatoes. I could make myself sick eating them. Give me a knife, a salt shaker and some vine-ripened maters and I am one happy lady.
17. I was trivia champion two years in a row on Carnival cruises out of Mobile.
18. I have sung on the same stage as country legend Hank Williams, Sr., who was from Butler County.
19. My favorite animated film is “Up.” Yes, it is also one of Richard’s favorites. My favorite Hitchcock film is “North by Northwest”—also one of Richard’s favs. Obviously, we both have good taste.
20. I used to spend an hour each morning and evening on the school bus even though I lived only 12 miles from town due to the circuitous route.
I did most of my homework during the ride. How my teachers read some of it, I’ll never know.
21. I was voted “Most Talented” in my senior class and served as salutatorian (ranked number 2) in my class. My husband, who was “Most Intellectual” was third. People said we were made for each other. I think they were right. 😉
22. The one makeup item I would consider a necessity me is lipstick. It can also be used as blush in a pinch, and it gives this pale face a welcome pop of color. After that? Eyeliner.
23. The animal I consider myself to be most like is the cat, except for the whole graceful and agile thing.
24. I like to sleep with one hand tucked beneath my pillow.
25. The greatest distance I have walked in one day was 14 miles to raise funds for a charity. That was about 35 years, a couple of car accidents and knee surgery ago.
And now I am going to get serious for a few moments, but it’s for a good cause. 😀 Easter. Passover. Spring. It’s a time of renewal and new life, new beginnings, and new possibilities. Many homeless animals are looking for a new beginning, too. You don’t have to go to a pet shop to find a great addition to your household. In fact, most of them are supplied by puppy mills, many of which are far more concerned with profit rather than proper care of the puppies and mothers.
Instead, look to local animal shelters and humane societies to provide that fur-ever friend. Every pet my husband and I have owned–and there’s been quite a few over the space of more than a quarter-century–has either come from an animal welfare organization, taken in as a stray or inherited from a deceased relative. We’ve loved and played and cuddled. We’ve lost and we’ve mourned, but I don’t regret one single adoption. We’ve given them a welcoming home and they’ve given us companionship, friendship, fun and unconditional love. And if you don’t want a rambunctious pup or kitten, consider adopting an adult dog–and keep black dogs and cats in mind. Because of old superstitions, many people avoid adopting pets with dark coats.
Even if you are not in a position to adopt an animal, you can always assist with donations of money, pet food, toys, old blankets, towels and other items. Check with your local shelter/humane society for their specific needs. Consider shopping in thrift stores run by humane societies; your bargain purchase will help provide food and medicine for homeless animals. Buy calendars, enter raffles, support the various fundraising activities of these organizations. There is always a need and always a way in which each of us can help. A society that does not care for its most vulnerable–the elderly, the handicapped, children, and animals–has a lot to answer for.
~Cats are glorious creatures, who must on no accounts be underestimated . . . their eyes are fathomless depths~ Lesley Anne Ivory
~Some animals are secretive; some are shy. A cat is private~Leonard Michaels
~The cat has been described as the most perfect animal, the acme of muscular perfection and the supreme example in the animal kingdom of the coordination of mind and muscle~Roseanne Ambrose Brown
~Which is more beautiful, feline movement or feline stillness?~Elizabeth Hamilton
Once upon a time, a good Samaritan in our little hometown was shopping on a rainy, dreary day. While hurrying across the parking lot she saw a dog worrying at something.
That something turned out to be a small black and white kitten, soaked to the skin beneath her fur.
The kitten was ripped open at the abdomen and the dog had practically chewed her leg off.
And yet–the kitten was struggling to get back up and stand her ground against her foe. Undeniably, she had spirit, this one.
The good Samaritan took the kitten to the local vet. Her back left leg was too far gone to save and had to be amputated. He tucked her guts back in and sewed up that abdomen. Truthfully, he didn’t really expect the small and badly injured kitten to survive.
The kitten was fostered by another good Samaritan, and not only did she survive, she began to thrive.
She needed a good permanent home, and so the kind woman started looking for one. She thought she knew the perfect place.
A local newspaper reporter–call her Ladywriter–had often mentioned her pets and prediliction for taking in strays. She was a sucker for an animal in need.
And so the little three-legged cat with a Hitler mustache found a new home.
Because of her unique walking style and the sound it made when her back end bumped against the floor, she earned the name “Thumper.” Thumper was a strange little cat who at times would suddenly start shaking like a leaf, her green eyes getting huge. Her new parents thought it might be some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder.
She mostly kept to herself rather than interacting with the other felines in the household. When you picked her up, she would growl deep in her throat and trying to nip you. But there was something about her . . .
After she was “fixed,” Thumper became more mellow. She would rub herself happily against your feet and even rappel up the side of the bed to join her adopted parents. She still wasn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy type. But she didn’t try to bite you anymore, either. And sometimes she would even climb up for a purr and a cuddle.
When the chaRActers started hanging out in Mr. and Mrs. Ladywriter’s den, they became acquainted with the family’s canines and felines.
Guy found himself amused at how happily the disabled cat would rub against his big black boots and the way she managed to move pretty quickly in spite of her handicap, almost scuttling like a crab. He taughed at the story of how Thumper had managed to tip over a small wastebasket with her chin in order to get at the forbidden dental floss inside it without actually turning over the container. She was no dummy, either.
Sir Guy found himself taking a fancy to Thumper–a dark cat who had struggled to survive against the odds, scarred by life’s experiences. A cat with a bite who nonetheless needed affection and love just as we all do. The cat had spirit. The cat had moxie. Her, he liked..
And that’s how Thumper the Three-Legged Tuxedo Cat with the Hitler Mustache became the Dark Knight’s favorite cat.
PS She really isn’t keen on posing for photos. She can be as stubborn as a certain tall and beautiful henchman.
They patrol the place out here and enjoy the fresh air and freedom of the country. BTW, the photo taken of Beau drinking out of the whiskey barrel was featured in our Humane Society fundraising calendar a couple of years ago. Benny has it as his wallpaper on his desktop. 😀
And how does this tie into Richard Armitage? Well, when the Sloth Fiction lads are here, they enjoy playing with the dogs.And i think Richard would go “awwww” over these photos, too.