Even though today’s blog might seem out of season, it is about feelings that transcend holidays and seasons: joy and gratitude. I wish you a lovely weekend steeped with Joy and Gratitude!
Chapter 11—School Days, Lonely Days.
Our time outdoors slowed down as the weather got cooler. One sunny morning, instead of taking me out in the wagon, Lolly got dressed in her bright new purple dress and waited at the end of her driveway for a big yellowy-orange bus. Brown Grandma packed a picnic snack for Lolly and waved until the big yellowy-orange bus turned the corner. Grandma said that Lolly was going to “school”. I remembered that word from my last home. Auntie used to go to that place, except I never saw a big yellowy-orange bus come pick her up. My girl Lolly must be someone very important!
Days without my girl were pretty lonely. I started following Grandma Brown around the house. Grandma Brown was an excellent cat-conversationalist. I shared my feelings with Grandma Brown, and not only did she listen, she also said things that just made me feel better. My favorite Grandma Brown saying was “here’s a good boy—have some tuna”. I always felt better after she said that. I think Grandma Brown missed having Lolly around as well. We were both restless, and for the first few weeks, Grandma Brown seemed to look really hard for things to do. She took up a few new hobbies. One of these hobbies I found especially fascinating—it was called knitting.
I loved watching Grandma Brown while she knitted. It was almost hypnotic watching those pointy sticks bobbing, weaving and twisting the yarn. I decided to use my exquisite and stealthy hunting skills on Grandma Brown’s knitting needles and yarn. At first, I sat well away from Grandma Brown. Then, slowly, I inched closer and closer. Grandma Brown was so engrossed in her work that she didn’t notice my advancement—at first. Sadly, I forgot that purring and stealth don’t go paw in paw. I forgot myself and started purring very loudly. Grandma Brown looked up from her knitting with a start: “Oh, Oscar! Why look at you! I was so busy with this sweater I forgot my manners. Come, now, here’s a good boy—let’s have some tuna!” While that was a close call, I have to say, nothing celebrates a crisis averted quite like tuna.
My Lolly would come home in the afternoons, and at first, we would still find time to play outside. However, the weather got cooler, and the sun began to set earlier and earlier. Winter was coming, and that meant a few months of inside time. Lolly and I had all kinds of inside games. There were dolls, building blocks, building blocks and dolls, craft time, baking, and reading. Truth be told, there wasn’t much for me to do in the dolls games. Usually I ended up falling asleep. However, I loved all the games very much because it was my Lolly-time. My most favorite game was baking. I loved games that smelled good.
At night I would watch over my Lolly as she slept. In the cold winter nights I would curl up against her and make sure she stayed cozy warm. In times when her dreams took a turn for the scary, I would purr and purr. The magic in my purr sent those bad dreams packing, and before long my sweet girl was smiling in her sleep.
My little girl didn’t seem to have the same amount of homework that I remember Auntie having. Nevertheless, I took a page from Monty’s book, and made sure I helped my Lolly with her homework. Any book or piece of paper that came out of her school bag I made sure was thoroughly whisker kissed, walked over and sat on. That was one of my jobs as a people owner, and head cat, and I took my responsibilities seriously. I also took it upon myself to do a school bag inspection regularly. One time I was so thorough I fell asleep in the school bag. Lolly almost took me to school that day, but Grandma Brown noticed how much heavier the bag was with me in it and got me out just in time.
With each passing day the days got shorter, the weather got colder, and the snow started to fly. Soon there was talk of Christmas, and Grandma Brown and Lolly started to get ready for Santa’s visit. I was very excited to see Santa again after all these years. I suppose he stopped by Brown Grandma’s house as well, but there isn’t as much fanfare about Santa in homes where all the people are grown ups. Last time Santa saw me I was just a little kitten. I wondered if he’d remember me. Deep down I was a little concerned that he might be disappointed with me in that I didn’t stay with my little boys with red hair. I had heard the songs, and with all my heart, I wanted Santa to believe I was a good cat who didn’t belong on the naughty list.
Lolly was very excited about Christmas. She loved Santa, and as a result, we started playing a new inside game called “letter to Santa”. Lolly was just learning how to read and print so she decided the best way to communicate to Santa was through cut and paste pictures. Every day after school, she would go through Grandma Brown’s recycling bin and root through all the flyers. Then she would go to the craft cupboard and get some glue, scissors, her best markers, and several sheets of paper. After all the necessary supplies were assembled, Lolly would start feverishly cutting out pictures and gluing them to papers. By the time Grandma Brown was ready to mail the letter to the North Pole, Lolly had composed a twenty page letter of cut out pictures. There were pages of items for Grandma Brown, Lolly’s mom, and, to my amazement, Lolly had even created three pages of toys she wanted Santa to bring me. When I found out, I couldn’t stop purring. I was the luckiest cat in the whole wide world because I owned the bestest person in the whole wide world!
I didn’t get a chance to chat with Santa on Christmas Eve. I tried to stay up, and I even promised Lolly that I would wake her up when I saw him. Unfortunately, Grandma Brown, Lolly and I decorated the Christmas tree before bed, and the whole experience tuckered us both out. I had forgotten how much I love trees, tinsel, ornaments, and stockings. I hadn’t played like that since I was a wee kitten. By the time Santa landed on our roof I was snoring louder than I was purring. When I woke up in the morning, I found a catnip toy sticky taped to my tail. Grandma Brown read the label and she told me it read “To Oscar, from your old friends Santa, Mrs. Clause, and all the elves”.
My Lolly had a wonderful Christmas. Santa gave her more presents than anybody else, and as if that wasn’t enough, somehow Santa also made arrangements for Lolly’s mom to come home for a visit! Grandma Brown was so excited she cooked for three straight days. I was the happiest cat in the whole wide world. My little girl was happy, my house smelled yummier than yummy, and Santa not only remembered me, he called me his “friend”. I purred so loud and hard it is a wonder I didn’t explode.