Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Martigny scratches baby wry

Baby Wry in the emergency room, after Martigny scratched him. 

The culprit. We still love her. I have given this more extensive coverage on the other blog, over the past three posts, and right now I just lack the energy to do it again.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

After the wild birthday party, Royce gets his scritches; we notice that he is quickly aging

Baby Wry celebrated his first birthday yesterday, but for the most part, the Kracker Cats ignored it and went and did other things - like nap. They celebrated by taking good naps. Royce, however, put himself right in the middle of things, as he always does. Here, he observes as Wry and his good buddy, Lafe, wallow in the birthday cake.

Royce was mighty interested when Lafe's mother decided that he had consumed his quota of sugar for the day, and so came to pull him away from the cat. If anyone should be interested, the party itself is featured on the Wasilla blog, right here. Scroll down to the previous entry and you can even find baby Wry on the day that he was born. 

But why is Wry called Kalib on that blog? 

I am puzzled that this other blog is done by someone named Bill Hess whose children and cats all look exactly the same as mine and even undergo identical experiences, but have different names. The only thing that I can figure out is that they must live in a parallel universe to mine, and somehow these parallel universes overlap right here, in cyberspace.

What you won't find on the Wasilla blog is any of the four photos that follow. These were all taken after the shenanigans of the party had played out. All are exclusive to this blog.

After the unrelated guests had all departed, I noticed Tyskuit and Royce sitting together at the end of the couch, lit only by the glow of the Christmas tree lights. Later, when I showed this picture to Sunflower, a tear came to her eye.

"Royce is growing so old!" she lamented. "It makes me so sad."

The scritch begins. Royce was Tryskuit's birthday present what, 14 years ago? 15? I can't remember for certain. I have asked everyone else and no one is certain. As longtime readers of this blog know, Tryskuit now has two other cats that live with her in her apartment in Anchorage.

But when she comes home, Royce is still her cat. Rather, she is still Royce's girl.

The scritch progresses. So why must a cat grow old so fast?

The scritch moves forward. And why must a little girl that once materialized on your lap every time you sat down move on as you yourself grow older and older and older until you realize that the only thing that can stop you from soon turning into an old, old, OLD, man is death itself.

And you don't want to die. And neither do these cats.

The scritch reaches completion. Once again, I have been diverted from the history that I was telling. No matter what, each time that I get into this history, something will soon divert me, be it these contemporary Kracker Cats or cats that I meet along the way.

But I had better get back to it soon, so that I can share with you the story of how Royce became a Kracker Cat, so you can see how cute he was as a kitten, and what an adventurous and interesting life he has led.

Royce C. Boy!

That's what I call him.

The cat who is always searching for love.

And here he has found it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Kracker Cats!

Royce feels the spirit: Christmas Day, 2008.

Royce gets photoed twice at once.

Jim enters the scene.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Two car accidents delay next post

Well, I have my pictures picked and was going to make a new post, but my time has been disrupted. We had a very fine but heavy snow falling this afternoon and evening and it made our already icy roads exceedingly slippery. Right after my son Toast Ed got off work in Anchorage, he started the drive to pick up Prickly Pear Blossom so that they could come home.

Less than a mile from her place of work, a lady slid over the center line, t-boned him and sent him into a ditch. No one was hurt, other than the fact that he now feels rather stiff. Anyway, the aftermath, coupled with a snarl of immobile traffic on the Glenn Highway, kept he and Prickly Pear Blossom from returning home for over four hours, until after 9:00 PM.

I had just taken Sunflower to work when Toast Ed called and, since Wry's parents had not come home, it was just baby and me, so I put all work aside, this blog included, until his parents arrived.

At 11:00 PM, I headed off to pick Sunflower up. As I approached the fire station, the lights that warn you to stop because fire vehicles are coming out were flashing red and I saw a fire vehicle right at the edge of the firehouse driveway, apparently about to enter the road.

I stopped. The GMC truck behind me did not - at least not until he rear-ended my Ford Taurus sedan.

So I am saving my post for later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Serious matters at the vet office

Little Clyde Texaco gazes with wonder upon the world outside the mini-van as Nabysko snuggles him on his way to the vet. Can you guess why Clyde is headed to the vet?

Wrong! But if you had guessed that for poor Thunder Paws, you would have been correct. Except that Thunder Paws is already at the vet. He has been through the procedure and is in recovery. 

Clyde is just going to get a check-up, and some shots. We will bring both home together.

And do you wonder about the scratches on the window? Toast Ed did that. He tipped the mini-van over and the window got scratched. So did the body. A few of us were able to push the mini-van back over onto his wheels. It drove fine.

The vet checks Clyde's face.

The vet checks Clyde's rear. He is in good shape. I wonder what she would have thought if he had gassed her right then?

Tyrskuit and Nabysko grimmace as the vet ready's a shot.

Clyde's ordeal is over. Now everybody waits for Thunder Paws to come out. It is a little nerve-wracking.

Now Thunder Paws comes out in the vet's arms and she hands him to Nabysko. Thunder is very groggy.

"What happened? What happened?" Clyde seems to query.

Tryskuit carries Clyde, Nabysko Thunder and Sunflower follows as we head back to the mini-van.
The drive home. Thunder Paws has lost the potential to become a Dad cat. Clyde still possesses it, but this will soon change.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baby Nabysko - I didn't know, but somehow, I think maybe she did

It was not my intent to do this. I was looking for a very specific picture with Nabysko and Thunder Paws when I happened upon this image of Nabysko as a newborn, fresh out of her mother's womb, barely cleaned up and placed upon Sunflower's chest.

I was so touched that, even though it is off-topic and even though there will be those who drop in expecting to see new cat pictures who will be so outraged at me for disappointing them that they will throw their coffee cups through their computer screens, I decided to run this, instead.

We had no cats at this time. We did have a dog. I did not think that I liked cats. As previously explained, I even erroneously believed myself to be a cat despiser.

Somehow, absurd as it sounds, I think Nabysko already knew that she was a cat person and so was her misguided dad. I suspect that is why she is screaming like this. "Dad! Dad!" she is trying to exclaim, "you brought me home to house with no cats! Dad! Dad! This is wrong! There are supposed to be cats here.

"Go get a cat right now, or I will poop my pants."

And she did, too. I just didn't understand the full import.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Buddies Thunder and Clyde turn into party animals

Thunder Paws and Little Clyde Texaco quickly became good buddies. They romped and played.

But they always took time out to practice good hygiene.

They loved to party! How those two kittens could party!

Yet, I hate to say it, but both would soon undergo a procedure that would make certain that they're future partying did not take a certain turn that partying sometimes does. 

As you will see.

And you can see this picture bigger. Just click on it. It works for the others, too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Origins of the Kracker Cats: Little Clyde Texaco gases up Wasilla

Clyde in a tree.

Thunder Paws had been with us for a little over one month. I was down south, in Maine. It was June 26, 1992 - Rye’s birthday. I called home, to wish him a happy one.

“Dad,” he announced. “Guess what I got for my birthday?”

I made a few ridiculous guesses, all of which were wrong.

“A cat!” he said.

“C’mon, Rye, what did you get?”

“A cat. Well, a kitten.”

“Rye! Please! Do not tease me! We already have two cats. Your mother would not get you another cat. C’mon. What is it, some kind of cat T-shirt? A cat on a cup? What is it?”

“It’s a cat, a real, live, purring cat. Mom didn’t give it to me. Courtney did. Mom likes it. She says it’s cute.”

“You really got a cat?”

“Yes. Are you mad?”

“Yes. Happy birthday.”

I could not wait to get home, and when I did, I found that Rye’s birthday present still did not have a name. The kids were referring to him as “the gas station.” I had not been around the kitten long before the pungent aroma surrounding him told me why. In those early days, he gassed often, and with great potency. So we started to call him “Exxon,” but this made us think too much about oiled otters and seabirds.

We changed the name to Texaco. “I think he looks like a ‘Clyde,’ “ Rye observed one day. Thus, the kitten took on the name “Little Clyde Texaco.” This was a lot to say, so we usually settled for Clyde.

He didn’t give a damn what we called him, just so long as we put out food, which he consumed in copious quantities, this Little Clyde Texaco, our gas station.

The ballad of Little Clyde Texaco and Rye

A fearsome duo these two:
Little Clyde Texaco and Rye.
When they swagger down the street,
the eyes of big, tough, men grow wide.

Out of respect
and fear,
these hard guys step aside.

Good mothers run and hide,
and shout to their daughters:
"Get inside!"

When they see these two coming,
young children are set to running.
The children run! run! run!
Run straight to Rye.

"Hey, big kid," they plead, with pleading eyes.
"Can we pet your kitty?
Please, oh, please!
Let us pet your kitty!"

"Yea, sure," obliges Rye. "Why not?
Just don't pull his tail.
Clyde don't like no one
to pull his tail."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Clyde is coming!

Folks, I had planned to introduce Clyde tonight. Little Clyde Texaco! And what a wonderful cat he was. Nabysko will tear up with both sorrow and a warm joy when she reads these few words and sees the mere mention of his name.

Little Clyde Texaco. The bad cat. The baddest cat that ever there was. But, oh, so good! Was there ever a gooder cat?

Hard to imagine.

But it is late and I am tired. I have been so, so, so busy and there is no let up in sight. 

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will introduce Little Clyde Texaco, for certain - as certain as certain can be.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baby Wry can count on Martigny to walk by his side

I have been neglecting the contemporary Kracker Cats lately. I will soon return to the history, after I take a little break here to share with you one Kracker Cat item from this day, a series. 

It began right here, when little baby Wry came crawling towards me through an obstacle course of three stationary Kracker Cats - namely, Muzzy, the huge, odd-looking, cat at left, Martigny and Jim, who can barely be seen at the right hand edge of the image.

As baby Wry passed Martigny, she took note of the action of his paws upon the floor.

Martigny begins to step alongside baby Wry.

She matches his stride, her left front paw to his right.

Side by side, they keep coming.

Next thing you know, I will have to put the camera down and do some holding and petting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A great battle begins over Thunder Paws

Remember how Toast Ed disparaged Thunder Paws as not being "half the cat" that Kaboodle was? If Toast Ed feels this way, then why is he cuddled up with Thunder Paws like this? Does it look like maybe the two are bonding?

I'll tell you what - they bonded! How they bonded!

This will become clear in future posts.

Now, if only the bonded pair could have a little more peaceful time to enjoy their bonding.

Nabysko spots them. "Thunder Paws is my cat!" she exclaims.

"No," Toast Ed retorts, "Thunder Paws is my cat!"

Nabysko moves in, determined to reclaim the kitten that she caused me to bring home from Sutton.

A great battle ensues.

Toast Ed is bigger and stronger, but Nabysko is filled with fire. She refuses to retreat. 

Nabysko wins. Kaboodle wonders about the commotion.

But don't think that this ended it. The battle would rage for most of the next decade - even after Toast Ed went off to Arizona to attend college. "Where's my cat, Thunder Paws?" Toast Ed would ask as soon as he would step back into the house for summer or Christmas break.

"He's my cat!" Nabysko would greet back.

"No, he's my cat!"

Even during long distance phone conversations they did this.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tomorrow, my friends, tomorrow..

Tomorrow, I will let you know what happened when Toast Ed, who had accused Thunder Paws of not being "half the cat" that Kaboodle was, came face to face with the critter of his disdain upon the living room couch.

I will show you how Naybsko reacted, and Kaboodle too.

I was going to post it tonight, but I have been going, going, going relentlessly. I am done for, for now. 

It will have to wait.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kaboodle returns, decides Thunder Paws is okay

You will recall that when I brought the kitten that was about to become Thunder Paws home, Kaboodle became so angry with me that he swatted me with open claws. You will recall that I then scolded him and then, in a huff, he ran into the woods and disappeared.

You will recall that I had two things to keep me awake that night - the thunder paws of Thunder Paws pounding their way up and down the hall, and my great worry that Kaboodle had left us for good.

Ha! You can see how silly that worry was! I took this picture the very next day.

Now, what about Toast Ed? You will recall that he, too, was upset with me for bringing Thunder home. He bitterly and sarcastically told me that Thunder Paws would not be half the cat that Kaboodle was.

So how did that work out?

Log back in, my friends... log back in. The answer is coming.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thunder Paws' first day: one, last, lingering look

As the decades pile up in a person's life, there are days that can barely be remembered, others that are utterly forgotten, some that come back upon thought and reflection and then there are a tiny handful that stand out so strong in one's memory, either for good or bad, that they are never far from present consciousness.

The day that Thunder Paws came to live with us is such a day.

I remember it so well because it was a sweet, sweet, warm day.

All my children were still children, and they were a bright and eager bunch. Having them around was better than I knew, even when I knew it was good. On this day, I knew that having them there was very good.

And me, restless soul that I am, always climbing into an airplane, and flying off to somewhere else. Yet no place that I have ever been could give me what I found that day, May 15, 1992, in my own house and yard.

And capping it all of was Thunder Paws, brand new among us. What a bright fellow he was. Brighter than we knew. Sweeter than we could imagine. More loving than we would have believed. And so, although I have already told you the complete story of that first day, I am reluctant to leave it behind, yet again, and so I linger, for one more post, and share these five additional pictures from that day with you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thunder Paws: How he told us his name

As she stands on the front porch, the kitten squirms to escape the grasp of the adoring Nabysko.

I had naturally assumed that Nabysko had wanted the kitten to have as a friend. Shortly after we arrived home, I turned the two loose in the yard and was soon shocked when I saw her place the kitten in a stewpot - Nabysko wanted to boil the poor little critter! She wanted kitten soup for dinner!

“Nabysko!” I shouted, horrified.

The kitten escapes, and dashes under the porch.

Nabysko searches, but cannot find the kitten.

I needn’t have worried. As the kitten would prove again and again, he was a thinking cat - thoughtful, analytical and resourceful. He analyzed the situation, thought up a solution and took action. A quick leap sent him soaring out of the stewpot to safety and freedom (see photos from Thunder Paws, part 1).

There's the kitten!

How the kitten loved his freedom! How he loved to explore, to see new things - bugs, grass, butterflies, rotting logs and hopping frogs! He studied all that surrounded him and he learned from what he saw.

Fire Kracker and the kitten walk together.

Deep into bright, sunlit, evening, the kitten roamed, sprung, pounced, and contemplated, exploring the lawn-free Kracker yard as Nabysko followed gleefully behind. Once, as she pedaled her tiny bike, the two charged straight at each other in a daring game of chicken, and, were it not for the quick application of brakes and paws, would surely have collided head-on.

Rye sneaks up on the happy kitten.

Each of the older children came home in turn and all were delighted to see the kitten. Rye picked him up and used him for a tommy gun. Sometimes dragging a string, sometimes not, Fire trotted across the yard as kitten, his tail held high, pounced at his heels.

Rye snatces up the kitten and uses it as a tommy gun.

“Oh, cute!” exclaimed Tryskuit, who had just come home from the ice rink, euphoric at having landed her first axle. She snatched the kitten gently from the ground to pet and stroke him. At some point, squirt guns and bottles mysteriously appeared and then the kitten found himself cradled precariously in Nabysko’s protective grasp as the battle raged around him. Blasts of water zinged through the air.

The kitten tries to take a shoelace away from Fire.

Toast Ed alone was not happy to see the kitten. Toast Ed was upset that I had let Nabysko bring it home. “What’s this going to do to Kaboodle?” he accused me. “Kaboodle is not going to like this at all. I doubt this kitten will ever be half the cat that Kaboodle is.”

Reader, remember these words spoken by a bitter Toast Ed! See what turn history will take!

The orange and white kitten walks toward me.

As for the Whole Kitten, Kaboodle, he was terribly distressed and even bitter with me for inviting this silly little creature into our home. After discovering the kitten, he followed me as I walked around the house. With each step, he “mowred,” growled, griped and complained angrily.

When we reached the place in the back yard where the green canoe lay overturned, he jumped up on it and gave me a swat with open claws.

The kitten walks on a log.

“Kaboodle!” I scolded, as I placed my hand down firmly on the back of his neck. “Don’t you ever do that!” Kaboodle jumped off the canoe, and bound away straight into the woods, where he disappeared. Dummy! When it came to cats, even Kaboodle, whom I had now known for over ten months, I still had so much to learn.

I felt sick inside. I feared that none of us would ever see Kaboodle again. Yet, the great frolic between the kitten and the Kracker children, the angry Toast Ed excluded, continued unabated.

The kitten walks away from me.

Even here, in Wasilla, Alaska, where the night sky of late spring holds no darkness but glows through the midnight hour with a sweet, lovely, softness of light, energetic kittens and rambunctious little girls grow tired, and must come inside to sleep. So, come the light of night, Nabysko found herself overwhelmed both with drowsiness and with affection for the orange and white kitten. “I love my pretty kitten,” she cooed. “I want him to sleep with me.”

Nabysko and the kitten almost collide.

The two settled down in the bunk below Tryskuit (who, for what you can see was a most troubling reason, had gone to bed without Kaboodle). I lingered to tell the girls a true, made-up-on-the-spot-cat-story and as I did, the kitten dozed off. When the story ended, I reassured the girls that Kaboodle would be okay and that he would come home as soon as he had a chance to contemplate and understand the situation. I then stepped softly out of the room and gently closed the door behind me.

Nabysko protects the kitten as a squirtgun battle rages.

As I settled down into bed alongside Sunflower, I heard the surprisingly loud thud of kitten paws suddenly strike the floor in the next bedroom. This was followed by the furious scratching of tiny claws against the door, and by a tiny, constant, pleading, meowing. I then heard the sound of Nabysko’s feet as they tromped across the floor to the door, then tromped back to her bed.

Rye drives Nabysko away from the kitten with his squirtgun.

It was then quiet for maybe a minute, then once again, kitten paws struck the floor and the whole process repeated itself. This happened several times, until finally I heard the door to the girl’s bedroom open into the hallway. I then heard the sound of kitty paws dash into the hall as the girls’ bedroom door closed behind them. I heard the groggy footsteps of Nabysko as she plodded back to her bed, there to sleep devoid of the company of the kitten.
After going into the house, the kitten wants to go back out again.

Throughout the night, my sleep was disrupted not only by the worry I felt for Kaboodle, but also by a sound like galloping thunder as the kitten raced up and down the hallway as it’s tiny, dainty, paws pounded the floor. It sounded as though a thunder storm raged right in our hallway!

The next morning, I stepped into the hall to see the kitten thundering straight toward me. He braked at my feet, greeted me with a trill, then twisted his head all the way upside down, an action that caused his body to flip over with it. From beneath white, pink-bottom-padded, upturned paws, the kitten gazed up with bright, sweet, blue eyes into my bleary brown ones. 

“You have Thunder Paws!” I groggily gripped.

Sleepy though both may be after a hard day's frolic, Nabysko and the kitten bathe in each other's love. Nabysko wants the kitten to sleep with her, but, on this night, her desire is not to be.

Thunder Paws.

And so he was named.