Home sweet home. My bus tour to Hyannis, Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown showed me sights not found in Camden. I liked all the sleep that I got on the bus. It’s lovely to get away, but lovely to come back home.
Here I am back at my dining room table in Cramer Hill with my husband, Carlos, our three cats, Reina, Lovey and Bello and a cup of hot tea with lemon–could life get better? Well, yes. I also have my Sunday New York Times and my Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer. When I see a good Sunday newspaper, and I mean a paper newspaper, life is just too good for words.
However, today’s pleasure for newspapers lessened when I had to face (vicariously) how the world is a terrible mess–war, disease, unemployment and so on and so on. Real people suffering, here and all over the world. My selfish little bubble of Sunday papers happiness was bursting.
Just when I was about to stop looking at the papers, a color illustration of a small man hugging his big orange cat, jumped out. The essay, A Man and His Cat, in the NYT Sunday Review starts, “I was not going to be one of those pitiful pet people. Not me.”
I had to read it. I wondered if I was a pitiful pet person.
This essay from Tim Kreider’s essay from his book, WE LEARN NOTHING, made me laugh. I understood that I might be a pitiful pet person. We do love our feline kids. The oldest and smallest in size, Reina, screamed wildly from inside the dining room windowsill when she saw me arriving home from my Cape Cod trip. “Mother! Come in and see me. I missed you.” This was in cat language and I know what she said because I looked it up on Google Translate.
This proclamation of love from a cat that we rescued from the other side of the windowsill came from my Reina. I put my face to her, she kissed me and allowed me to pet her. She’s five now, almost six, our queen— a.k.a. Reina Anne Cleopatra Ferra, a.k.a. Reinita, the Teeny Weeny Queenie or a.k.a., the Tortie. Carlos rescued her from a bully tomcat who was about twenty pounds and she was a tiny, starving tortoiseshell kitten in our Cramer Hill yard.
Sometimes she is affectionate, sometimes she turns away from us. I worried if she acts cranky because she has too many names.
I asked my husband, the softie who took her in and named her Reina, “How can she act like that to me when I love her so much?”
“She can,” he said, looking wise, “because she is a queen.”
Sometimes Carlos calls her a gremlin because she has such big ears, but I try to make sure she never hears it.
I read that in the USA tortoiseshell cats are supposed to be good luck about money. We are waiting.
Our next cat is Lovey, a.k.a. Lovey Anne Ferra, and she was rescued from our former window well about two years after Reina. My husband had gone out to cement up the window well and he found a calico kitten who had fallen into it and who couldn’t get out of it. I couldn’t say no to this soft, sweet baby. Carlos was home from work after recovering from a heart attack and the smile on his face made me say, “Sure, we’ll keep her.”
Carlos fell deeply in love with this palm-sized kitty and she is his favorite cat. He is her favorite person. Lovey likes me well enough, especially if she hears me opening a can of tuna fish. But, her bond is with her papi. I may give her a little kiss and pet her if her father is not home, but I know that I’m not her Numero Uno.
She didn’t even run downstairs to greet me when I returned home from my travels, but she greeted me graciously with a kiss when I went upstairs and put my face to hers.
Our last cat, and I mean, the last, the very, very last cat, is Bello Antonio Ferra, who is as handsome as his name. Two summers ago, he staggered around the back driveway between Wayne and Lincoln Avenues, a gray fur-covered, limping skeleton. Neighbors tried to feed him, but he was in bad shape. We took this sick young cat into our home and then right to the vet. After a handsome sum of money for his medical care and my husband’s dedication nursing him, Bello grew healthy and deserving of his name.
After weeks of good food, Bello became quite a large fellow. Since he had been a cat on his own on the streets of Camden, he was aggressive and I worried about the other cats. After some time of living in different areas of the house, they all decided to live cooperatively.
Big Bello is crazy about my shoes and if Bello could marry a sweaty sneaker of mine, he would take the No Balance right down to the Justice of the Peace in Camden and have a quirky wedding ceremony.
So, I’m home now…with my sweet husband, Carlos, my cats and my newspapers. Yep, home sweet home.