’tis the (unhappy) season

… of tossing out dogs and cats in our rural community.

We expect — and find — several discarded dogs, hunting breeds, late in the deer season and for a couple weeks after it ends. We know they’re throw-aways because their collars and ID have been removed; a good dog always has a sturdy collar and ownership tags.

Less commonly seen are the cats. Oh, they’re there, but cats are wiley, independent and generally distrustful creatures who quickly revert to a feral nature. I know we have these wild cats — my cousin feeds them along with the family barn and yard cats, some becoming, eventually, almost tame and certainly tolerant of their human hosts, and I occasionally see one ducking around the corner of the tobacco barn.

What I haven’t experienced, until now, is the adoption by a cat. Bubba and the stranger woke me up in the wee hours of the night, Thursday morning, arguing with one another not far enough away from my bedroom window. I went outside and fussed at them; they relocated, but again, not far enough away. I didn’t see The Ghost then — the glare of the security light in my back yard was too bright.

Thursday night I was loading the car to go up to Raleigh for an early Friday appointment, and there on the back deck was a startlingly white cat. The first detail one notices about him is a very puffy tail. He miaowed at me and came within three feet of me as I stood and admired him, looking into my face and holding that lovely tail like a proud flag. Then Bubba followed me out the back door, and this little ghost of a cat serenely retreated to the shed. I left no food out, thinking he’d migrate on down the road soon enough if left alone.

Last night, shortly after I got home from Raleigh, while both Bubba and Precious were curled on the floor near my feet, I heard the high-pitched miaowing just outside the back door. I went to look, and the white cat was there. I had to feel sorry for him; I put some cat food in a plastic bowl and laid it down for him, and he rubbed against my ankles before he deigned to eat, even stretched his almost-glowing white head up to be scratched. Of course, I had to comply with his request as if I had no will of my own to resist him (and I didn’t want to, really).

A little later, the miaows came again, so insistently, that I decided to allow him in if he wished. I needed something from the shed, so I left the back door open while I went to fetch it; sure enough, he must have walked in immediately; when I returned to the house Precious was standing at the back door, looking back toward my bedroom with a certain indignant expression and threatening low growls in the back of her throat. “It’s going to be below freezing here tonight! I can’t just make him stay out in this cold!” I told her. When he heard my voice, he came immediately to me, and Precious turned her back on us both and returned to the living room, stealthily, turning every few paces and walking crab-style while she fussed at us.

He’s a simply beautiful cat — white, pale blue eyes (and a disarming way of looking directly at one) and pink ear tips and nose. His body is too skinny right now to be obviously be long-haired; the tail gives it away. He has stretched up to prop his front paws against my knee as dogs do, talked to me most earnestly, meekly submitted to having his ears cleaned with hydrogen peroxide (he appears to have ear mites), climbed in my lap while I try to work, investigated my coffee cup, slept on my notebook, followed me like a dog when I go from the living room to any other room in the house… and even now is attempting to be my muse (mews?) as I write this.

In short, someone has loved and petted and spoiled this cat with a lot of human attention, making him happy to come close to strangers and eager to be loved again. He seems to have decided I am his for keeps. Already, Bubba ignores him unless he comes too close, and even Precious, the grande Dame of the household, tolerates him far more sweetly than she has ever done Bubba.

Problem is, my life circumstances are such that I cannot take on more pets right now. I’m going to be talking to my next-door neighbor this week-end about taking Bubba to be a barn cat for her horses; I’m getting ready to return to Raleigh. Someone has chosen to dump a cat out on the side of a country road instead of taking responsibility to find him a new home or even take him to the pound. It breaks my heart to think of the number of animals euthenised each week at our shelter; still, it would be kinder to put a pet down than to leave it at the risk of illness or serious injury, left to die alone, in pain and untended, possibly spreading disease and causing injury to other domestic pets. And it is I — a stranger who did not ask for this responsibility — who is left to exercise the choice.

I’m calling this little baby “the ghost” — and I hope he can find a home soon. Right now he’s lying across my left knee, dozing. He’ll make someone an affectionate pet.

Warm Congratulations, Deacon Alex Jones!

Former Pentecostal pastor Alex Jones was ordained to the permanent diaconate on October 7.

Alex spoke at the Ignited by Truth conference in Raleigh, NC, in 2004, where I got to meet him and share some of the joy of being a convert. His testimony is awesome — in promising his Pentecostal congregation in Detroit a “real New Testament worship service,” he embarked on a study of the real apostolic church that ultimately led to his conversion to Catholicism — bringing more than 50 of his former congregation along with him.

Detroit is very blessed to have such a passionately dedicated man among its ordained ministers!

Would this guy look good in a tux?

Sitting around the table last night after Chorale rehearsal, we began talking about the men’s upcoming performance of Liszt’s Faust (with the NC Symphony, next week, in several venues)… and somehow the subject of chorale attire came up, particularly men’s attire, the good ol’ standby tux…

And someone observed that all men look darn good in a tux. Even the plainest, oldest, baldest, fattest, most cross-eyed, or geekiest, gawkiest, ugliest man on the planet would look HOT in a tux! And I certainly agreed!

But then I had to think of… Larry the Cable Guy (see photo above). Somehow I just can’t make the transition…. Do you suppose he’d try to wear that ball cap with… oh, now my head hurts!

just a quick greeting —

I’m supposed to blog every day, according to the friend who started me on this adventure.

Well, that’s hard. When the cat is sitting in the sill of a fully open window (wish I hadn’t lost my camera — it would be a lovely, serene photo) and the leaves outside are beginning to turn, and the dogwoods look as if they were on fire with their blood-red berries and redding leaves and the silver maple has hit that tobacco-gold perfection… who wants to sit in front of a computer screen and come up with something to write about?

It’s a glorious Indian Summer day, highs expected to approach 80. They are supposed to drop back to the 30s again in a day or two, bringing a lot more frost and chill… not many more glorious days like this to enjoy.

See y’all later!

Uh, photo?

Where’s the pic? Where’s the pic?

Well, as I understand it (and I may not understand it at all), the file containing my former photo on this blog was deleted, or cleaned out or something… and the photo was lost.

So why haven’t I replaced it already?

BECAUSE IT SEEMS MY CAMERA HAS BEEN STOLEN. Sheesh. I took it with me to Raleigh last week and after several stops I discovered my passenger side door was unlocked… and my camera is nowhere to be found. I seem to have been mistaken in the assumption that burying it under a pile of music (which was not removed) was “secure.”

Just hold on — I’ll get someone to take one for me and email it. After all, you’ve GOT to see the hot new haircut, right?