Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | July 7, 2011

After a Flood of Cats and Pomengranites, Margaret Resurfaces

One of the blogs I started reading sometime back morphed from posting to disappearing. I seem to kind of have a knack for that… watch a movie, kill an actor; read a blog, discourage an author to lose interest in writing; etc. Lesson here? Nah. But you can pay me not to watch your home videos. Of course the fact that I’d not watch them for free is simply besides the point. If your health and well-being… maybe your avocations… if these mean anything at all…

But I over-estimate my impact, huh? Right.

So one of those random reappearances merits a word. Surely my longing for more material had nothing to do with it. Honest. Nor my desire to read something of merit. Duh. But if only the “The Mothers of the Plazo” had known about this… this secret trick… life might have been much better. Sure, I’d have missed one of my favorite guitar Tangos, but what’s that compared to a couple of thousand reunifications? But as I seem to recall, Margaret became a nun and stopped posting about the time I stumbled across her feline site… and was given an obedience to, “Dodge the Thickheaded – at all costs!”

Tried not to take it personal. Rather, turned to that all time easy self-description: “I’m more of a dog person myself… no, not my dog (he’s a definite whack job)… I tend to like other people’s dogs (OPD) better… but still… the benefits of a self-tending creature? Let’s talk.”

The cats we had in our house back in the day formed a string long enough for any cat to chase. Fact is, by the time I could remember any of their names, all the good names were used up and we were simply down to our lone survivor: ” P.C.”… who was definitely no more than a pussy cat, yellow and white. PC didn’t care for the formality, the so-called dignity and whatnot of some of his fellow felines. And the guy literally was a lone survivor… as in bullet proof… as in “I better be getting a book out of this!” He’d been hit by a car once and shot by someone with a B-B gun in the hip. Talk about tough… seem to recall his John Wayne swagger, and his, “Is that the best you can do?” lines lasted well in to his old age.

Anyway, the key to getting along was to remember: So long as there’s food in the bowl, nobody dies. Yep. Sum of all my years of zoological studies over the years… from Marlin Perkins “Wild Kingdom” through “Isn’t she gorgeous!” Steve is that FITB is key…. not looking like, smelling like or moving like FITB… maybe even more important.

FITB was so much a part of PC that when it came to his job description – which of course he wrote it himself (cats insist on this), he used 20-point type for, “The rest of the time, I am Off Duty.” Doncha love WordPresses capabilities here? I swinging with it. Anyway, kids don’t get away with this, and I didn’t so I’ll admit some jealousy there… but in my case, the whole was reversed… as part of my own counter-intelligence counter-survival instinct (because it is one of those stupid things I did as a kid)… but that’s another story. Maybe. Anyway, I give the guy credit…’cause eating in our kitchen back then was a task worthy of the stoutest warrior – of which I was not one or even two. Fact is, food basically remained a wily enemy constantly plotting my demise until my teenage years… when it suddenly morphed in to nectar of the Gods. Like, who’d have thunk? “Looks the same… but it’s not. Hmmm.”

But for a long while, PC at least was one… maybe the only one… to warm my mom’s cooking… and so dear to some part of her. Maybe the heart? Not sure. PC might have suggested a real loving heart could surely have done better. But he nevertheless knew the facts… he didn’t exactly have a school lunch room or OPH (Other People’s Houses) to run off to for shelter and sustenance, so beggars not being choosers and all that, he swung with the girl that fed him. Once he tried to explain to me the logic behind this, that the goo from his cans wasn’t all that much different from the cans of goo that went on to my plate, but of course he assumed I was eating mine… not knowing the napkin trick and all that. So I had to counter: “Look, you’re killing me here. You can’t encourage the woman… next thing you know, it’s body bags…”

He seemed to get my point. Fact is, from that point on he began eating out more. And maybe it was just as a hint to the sort of cuisine he’d prefer (birds, squirrels, mice, etc), he’d even bring back the left-overs (“Don’t you call it a doggie bag!”) for my mom to put in the fridge. Not that she did or that she understood what he was about exactly… but she did start trying out “new and better” cans. He tried, reason… but some people, there’s really nothing you can do: “Look woman, more like this… once upon a time it moved, it breathed, it had life. That can stuff…. ever see a can on the lone prairie?”

But the cans kept on coming. Wasn’t until I got married that I discovered vegetables didn’t grow in cans, and some actually tasted decent. How I came to like meat (no it was not PC’s leftovers) without two tons of Ketchup… I guess that’s another mystery… but it happened when I got a new cook (me!) appointed as grillmaster and learned the cook somehow inexplicably seems to not mind his own cooking. Sure there are some failed experiments, and some merely… acceptable or curious (baloney omelets), but if the fridge and pantry are full of crap… there’s just not much you can do about it unless you do the unthinkable and actually join the ranks of the hunter-gatherer killers marauding amongst the aisles of the nearby Serengeti… aka grocery store.

Honestly, mom remains unfathomably amazed to this day at my proclivity for visiting Whole Foods, Giant, A&P and all that… like it’s a man wandering lost in a women’s undergarment department looking for…

“Can I help you?”
“Yeah… I was looking for some fishing line…”
“Sure you were…. what size is she?”

Yeah. Only place worse is the perfume department… where the more aggressive “flowers” actually spray you with their fragrances… most of which leave you gasping for air.

“I call it man-be-gone… and it’s a big seller!”
“Whatever happened to ‘I am made of blue sky, and I will smell…er… feel this way forever… that is, if I can ever breathe again…?'”

Anyway, this longish introduction was simply to say that I’ve enjoyed Margaret’s posts… even the cat stuff that I don’t understand (which is all of it), and I’m glad she’s posting again. I thank her for pointing me towards St. Botolph’s and the sermons of Fr. Alexander posted there, and I appreciate her humor… from which I learned this a.m. about Tonsant Weader (which I thought would be more like a Weed Whacker but wasn’t) and lots of other critically useful Orthodox information. Nice to have someone who came help us find the off button to this Orthodox Obsession… without all the sharp pointy things, explosives, and tiger traps some folks like to apply to the task.

But I do have to ask, why don’t we just pull out a can of Liz Taylor’s cheesy “Obsession” (weren’t you surprised there was no mention of this in her obit?), spray some of that stuff in an icon corner, and walk away. “Yeah… that’ll keep me away for a while… long enough to go have a life some where for a bit and come back later.” No… you’re NOT supposed to immediately walk into the corner and light a candle or some incense to chase it away. You can do that later… if you must. Let nature, natural law and all that take its course. He’s up there guiding it, after all, and He knows what he’s doing. Positively! So whoever it was who said smell was a big part of being Orthodox probably had cans of pet food,  bottles of “Obsession”… maybe even a can of 6-12 nearby, and knew a thing or two about repellants and lures. And if it keeps me away… they honestly must have read my first paragraph and know what they’re doing.


  1. Classic JtTH! 🙂 I’m a dog-person too, but have had enough cats and Orthodoxy to enjoy Margaret’s blog. I wish she’d write more too.

  2. I’m always sad when Margaret disappears, but so happy when she comes back again. I hope this time she stays around for a while.

  3. Having fallen between two Archbishops and been un-nunned I have decided I can blog again so thank you for the link and the longish introduction because I love other people’s cat stories 🙂

  4. Margaret… thanks for visiting! These Archbishop types must be very… hmmm… what’s the word? I’d say ‘scrutable. ‘Scrutable needs to be pronounced rightly… with the same “yech!” used by the little girl who came walking back into the hallway (from the Ladies room) saying, ” ‘sgusting!!” (my wife and I are STILL giving that ‘spression considerable play),,, because… I have it on good report from a subsequent visitor… that little girl really knew what she was talkin’ ’bout. Ten o’clock Friday evening, waiting for a flight (to Edinburgh btw) out of Newark, NJ…must of been a zillion people passing through. Yea, sometimes ‘sgusting doesn’t begin to describe the “Yeah… I think I’ll wait ’til the next stop….” experience.

  5. I know that flight well (Continental, yes?) and the first time I saw it advertised – Edinburgh to New York direct (no futzing around in London) I was overjoyed. A couple of flights home from NY later I had decided it was ‘sgusting!!

    • Yes indeed! Continental. The plane was fine… the airport b-room… definitely not. Odd thing was that I got stuck in the middle seat. My wife had the end seat, and the nice woman next to me took off all her jewelry before sacking out. Of course my first thought was that she must figure I’m going to pinch it… like a cow creamer… which would have been a challenge if my alias had been Spode or something. But then I realized all that jewelry must be uncomfortable and surely you take it off to sleep, and it would be a while longer before I managed one of Jasper Fforde’s “slip into a novel” tricks. And I watched a Matt Damon movie instead.

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