Folks, the trip was an ordeal that, due to Sunflower's injuries, we had to spread over three days, but we are back home in Wasilla now, having canceled the Arizona leg of our trip.
Upon our arrival home, I took a few pictures of my cat buddies here and I will post at least one or two of them, maybe more, before I go to bed tonight - or more likely, before I go to bed sometime early tomorrow morning.
No Cats Allowed! Grahamn Kracker's Kracker Cat Blog
Perhaps here, a few other brainwashed cat-despisers might find themselves launched on the path to redemption.
The Kracker Cats
The Whole Kitten, Kaboodle, with kitty Thunder Paws.
Due to an unfortunate series of eventsthat beset me as a child, I grew up believing myself to be a despiser of cats. After I married, five children came to Sunflower and I, and when my two youngest, both daughters, would see someone giving away kittens in the parking lot of the local grocery store, they would beg, "Please, Daddy! Let us take home a kitten!"
With a smile, a tilt of the head and the bat of an eye, Tryskuit and Nabysko could charm just about anything they wanted out of me, but towards cats, my heart was hard. "No!" I would deny them, "Dogs are fine, dogs are good, but let just one thing be understood: in my house, there are no cats allowed!"
And then on a hot July day in Alaska, in the year 1991, a skinny kitten stepped out of the woods behind our house - quite literally, he stepped out of a dream and came to me, to beg for my ham. He relished the ham, but he did not care for the pickle, nor the mustard.
That cat stayed, and more followed. These are the Kracker Cats, and in this blog, the stories of all will be told. These will be happy stories, humourous stories, frustrating stories, sad stories, tragic stories. Readers - you who love cats - you will laugh, and you will cry!
To see all the Kracker Cats, both the original and contemporary, scroll down.
Cats Met Along the Way
I just happened to meet this cat as I was walking down a street in Hollywood. As you can see, he is the reincarnate of Charlie Chaplin. I asked for his autograph, and he tried, but he had no thumbs and so he could not hold the pen and it did not work.
I travel a great deal, mostly in Alaska, but I wander into many other places as well. As my children grew, I was gone from home as much as not, sometimes more. When I was home, I would tell my children bedtime stories. By the time Kaboodle appeared at our house, the boys had outgrown these stories but my daughters still thrived on them.
Now, they insisted that every story that I tell be about a cat. So I made up some wonderful ones, right on the spot, and I was always as curious as they were to see how these stories would turn out.
Then one day as I was about to climb into my airplane and fly off to a village in the Alaska bush, Nabysko, the youngest, looked up at me and said, "Daddy! Write us a cat story while you are gone!"
So I did. Not long after, I happened upon a cat. I took its picture. I inquired about its history. When I returned home, I showed the picture to the girls, and told them what I had learned about the cat's history.
Ever since, wherever I go, I try to find and photograph a cat, and learn what I can about its history.
Hence, "Cats Met Along The Way." And always I keep in mind the wise admonition of Persimon Munk:
"Every cat has a story."
Charlie Chaplain, above, chosen at random, is just one of the hundreds of cats that I have met along the way, in every region of Alaska, 24 states, DC, four Canadian provinces, England, Russia and India.
And I will be meeting more, in many other places.
Cat Lies, all of them absolutely true
Art, the cat, in his futile attempt to top Denali in a Catabria.
As my children grew, Sunflower was forever scolding me about all these lies that I told them. "You should write these stories down!" she insisted. I ignored this advice, but then, one summer, I decided to write down a few of the tails about cats that I had told to Tryskuit and Nabysko.
These are the stories that will appear in this section of the blog.
Above is an image, created by my talented niece, Amber Swallow, when she was still in high school, to help illustrate a story about Art, a cat who tried to fly his Catabria airplane over Denali.
If any of you southerners are confused by this word, "Denali," it is the name of the mountain that so many well-intentioned folk who don't know any better mistakenly call "Mt. Mc... Mt. McK... Mt. Mck... in... in.. le.." Oh, hell! I can't even say it! I'm not talking about a hamburger here! I'm talking about the highest mountain in North America, the mountain that rises higher vertically over the surrounding terrain than does any other mountain in the world.
I'm talking about Denali.
The Kracker Cats: Original
The Whole Kitten, Kaboodle. He stepped out of a dream to start it all.
Thunder Paws - the thinking cat. What he could have done, if only he had been born with thumbs!
Little Clyde Texaco: The sweetest bad boy that ever there was.
Willow: She wanted to be top dog. The cats were a continual source of humiliation to her.
Tumbleweed: ragged as could be - but what a great mom!
Little Guy: What a fine little guy! The finest there ever was. My eyes still make tears for him.
Kracker Cats: Original & Contemporay
Royce: Always In Search of Love.
Chicago: Named, of course, for the Chicago Cubs.
Kracker Cats: Contemporary
Jim Slim Many Toes. He prefers water with that fish taste.
Pistol-Yero: They judged him to be mean, but never was there a sweeter cat.
Kracker Cats Adopted by Our Grown Children
Snicket: On the shoulder of Fire Kracker.
Slick: He graduated from UAF with Tryskuit.
Diamond: She had no Mom but Tryskuit. She growls a lot, and eats all that she possibly can.
Cassie and Muzzy: Strangest looking cats I ever did see.
Martigny: She owes her name to a bunch of St. Bernards.
Boxcar Bean: Originally, he was believed to be a beautiful female angel.
Juniper. She is a true, jumping beauty, known to play with bumble bees.
Concerning me, there is not much to say. I am just a guy whose dreams have always been big, and largely dealt with Alaska, airplanes, cameras - and, since Kaboodle arrived 18 summers ago, cats.
I'm afraid my wife and children have paid a high price to accommodate my dreams, yet they love me, anyway.
As of late, a few of you good bloggers have sent me the awards pictured below. I have been slow to post them and to pass them on to seven others, and to include links to those seven, simply because I have been hard-pressed for both time and energy.
So, to those of you have passed these awards to me: adan*michico, Standtall, and Black Cat - thank you! The three of you are also included in my awards list.
Mother's Day: Royce and Sunflower: Sunday, May 11, 2008
The lady sniffing flowers in the background is my beautiful wife, Sunflower. At 14 or so, Royce is the oldest of the four surviving Kracker Cats.
Martigne Chases the laser mouse: Monday, May 12, 2008
Toast Ed Kracker, our oldest son, plays "chase the laser mouse" with the calico, Martigny. The room is empty, because Toast Ed, wife Prickly Pear Blossom Kracker and baby Wry Kracker are moving out of their Anchorage apartment.
Jim, Toast Ed and baby Wry: Today, May 13, 2008
So today, Toast Ed and his little family moved back into the Kracker house.They hope to save up some money so that they can buy a new house. I hope they succeed. Toast Ed and Wry came out here into the office of Jim to visit the black cat. Jim is a generous fellow and happily allows me to use this office to do my own work.