Slow news day? No. Worse. Slow news week. Regular readers know that when there's nothing going on over here with the grandkids, I dig out my cats. This essay is full of them. It is one I wrote in 2009 to enter in a local writing contest. I have always been fond of it, not only because it placed first in the non-fiction category, but because it chronicles two interests of mine that don't involve obsessing over grandchildren.....ones I indulge in solely for my own emotional serenity.....
|Hi! I'm Iggy. Who are you?|
Cats and quilts. What other combination of living/non-living entities stimulates the senses with such warmth, domesticity, and beauty? Gently covering us with an unhurried sense of well-being, both are resting places for the soul.
I have owned cats and quilts all of my life. Grandmother made the first ones - the quilts, of course - and now I make my own. But my cats have always come from the same source - any place of hunger or desperate need from where I snatch them up unwanted, rid them of fleas, schedule a spay or neuter and then provide welcome into our large, happy, comfortable home with only one instruction: "Live here in safety and prosperity for the rest of your life." Over the years, several dozen have taken me up on this offer, and many of them have shown a remarkable interest in the craft of quilting.
|Yep! I still have this old rag!|
Someone is going to have to invent a new
geometric shape if it ever needs to fit
squarely inside a lens frame!
big fan of all kinds of entertainment-
Halloween costumes included!
By the time my skill improved to the point where I could semi-proudly display a seasonal wall hanging above the fireplace, another tortie, "Raisin," had come to live with us. Whenever the family room filled to capacity, Raisin would leap onto the mantle and push herself behind the quilt. There she would energetically pound the wall and batter the piece, creating a truly amazing show of gyrating fabric. Periodic peeks from behind gauged the effect on her audience. Of course we enthusiastically applauded, cheering on her efforts to entertain us!
"Joey" came home after surviving the first three months of life beneath the carcass of a car in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Since quilts were, indisputably, not a luxury he enjoyed in those surroundings, he is, even now at age three, unable to grasp their purpose. Yet he regards them with a quiet, focused interest.
currently residing in Cat Heaven
"until we meet again..."
I miss you, little sweetie!
When the mood strikes him, this now handsome prince of a cat - black, white and long haired, comes to sit on the arm of my chair, serenely watching, but politely not touching, my work. I take the time to explain to him what I am doing and how far I have progressed in my pursuit of quilting. He seems to relate this to his own experience and understands that, today, I quilt competently in queen-size with the same confidence he himself anticipates daily meal service.
We have "Rosie" and "Katie" here now too. They are sisters. Rosie, with white boots and a cute black nose, is a tomboy - raucous and clumsy. She has better things to do than interact with quilts for any purpose. Evaluating them, entertaining with them, or learning how to stitch them does not interest Rosie.
Katie, on the other hand, a very feminine and petite calico, waits for me to settle down with the frame in my lap. This is her signal to leap up and "help" me from the reverse side. We play the game of seeing who can pull the thread through faster to her own side. When Katie wins, I patiently rethread the needle. When I win, the thread is returned coated with cat saliva. I'm not saying this is the easiest way to hand quilt, but at least sewing supplies remain untouched at my side. Except for the thread, I guess. I see now that it is gone again. Probably carted off by Sylvester........
After ten hilarious, inquisitive years Sylvester is currently thieving up a storm in Ferret Heaven.
Guess it's okay to steal things there!
Raisin is 16 years old. This little old lady has slowed down a bit since my essay was written, but what a life she has led! As the pet of our oldest daughter, she has mingled well with "millennials," first moving on to a classy urban condo where, for five years, she feared nothing but window washers. When that gig was up, she sampled suburban living, gracefully yielding "only-child" status by accepting first one, and then a second set of twin (human) siblings. Now she basks in the sun during the day and shares daddy's pillow at night.
After three seemingly healthy, happy years, Joey passed away suddenly, in my arms, of a congenital heart condition in 2009. I will never stop missing my purr-fect little quiltin' buddy.
Rosie and Katie are still here.
And so are newcomers Mickey, Charlie, Annie and Iggy...none of whom have ever shown a single "stitch" of interest in the fine art of quilting!
I am far from being a perfect patchmaker, but I have learned from my mistakes....
Deciding to make myself a Christmas quilt, I had the sense to pre-wash the fabric!
The nicest thing about squares is that they don't have points to match!
May you always be covered with the peaceful warmth and beauty of a comforting quilt and a purring, contented kitty, or preferably - like me - many of each!