I was very lazy today. Did a lot of nothing. Sat around for awhile, pocket camera nearby. Jim sat down by me, after he spent the night sleeping atop me. He does both quite often. But wait... who is that blurry orange fellow on the floor?
It looks kind of like...
...Royce... Royce is who it looks like. But can I be certain? I had better zoom in a little closer...
YES! YES! IT IS ROYCE! I was right, all along.
And there, sitting on the floor, just feet from Royce... why, it's Pistol-Yero! My leetel peestol-yero!
Jimmy has moved to the coffee table and there is a classic movie on TV. Do you recognize the movie? Can you guess?
How about now?
This ought to erase all doubt. It's Gone With the Wind, of course. I was too lazy to watch but a few minutes of it. Then I had to go buy a burrito from Taco Bell. Tryskuit will be very upset with me when she reads this, but it was a very healthy burrito.
Once Pistol saw that Jim had left the arm of the couch, he came and sat down beside me.
Pistol Yero - my little Pistol-Yero!
Royce and Chicago.
Jim proves to be quite mobile; soon he will be off his rocker. But where's Martigny? I assure you, she is not far away, even though I failed to get a picture of her today. Muzzy is hiding out in the bedroom of Toast Ed, Prickly Pear Blossom and toddler Wry.
The other four Kracker cats are all in Anchorage, where they live. Maybe one or more will come and visit tomorrow. We will see. I hope one or more does, whatever chaos might result. I always like to see the Anchorage Kracker cats.
Had everything happened on schedule for "Deborah by Default," I would have missed this moment, as it would have happened one day earlier, when I was still in Barrow. That was when I had originally agreed to meet Nabysko at the vet's office in Palmer when she went to pick her up the new Kracker cat..
But the airport in Barrow was shut down after a big blizzard struck the Arctic Slope and raged for a days, so I stayed put. For reasons that are not clear to me, "Deborah by Default's" spay surgery time had changed as well and so she was still at the vet office, in recovery, when I arrived home.
I drove to Palmer and found Nabysko waiting in the vet's office, along with Tryskuit, who had driven her out from Anchorage. She was anxious to see her new cat.
"Deborah by Default" emerges from the recovery room, quite recovered, in the arms of Jill, who then hands her to a thrilled Nabysko. She has been waiting for this moment ever since she moved out into the world on her own... how many years ago?
Nabysko hugs "Deborah by Default" as Tryskuit reaches in to give her a stroke.
Jill explains the required medical followup as Nabysko holds her new, ten-month old friend. As I wrote before, Nabysko had gone to the Mat-Su animal shelter planning to adopt a kitten, but as she walked past the cage that held "Deborah by Default," the tabby reached out and put a paw on her arm.
Just a paw, no claw. So Nabysko asked to hold her. Once in her arms, the tabby purred; it climbed up to her shoulders and lightly stepped from one to the other. At no time did it dig in with a claw. The tabby was gentle, and mellow; Nabysko knew they were right for each other.
Jill continues to explain. I am not certain that Nabysko is listening, so joyous is she to be reunited with the cat that she is about to take home for the first time.
Important:Please take note of the dog pictured on the calendar that hangs on the wall...
Nabysko and "Deborah by Default."
Nabysko brings "Deborah by Default" out to show to her mother. Sunflower is still burdened by her cast and brace and this is the first time that she has been out of the house since February 2 - Tryskuit's birthday. Banged-up and in pain though she is, Sunflower was not about to miss this special moment.
Tryskuit gives "Deborah by Default" a kiss.
I give "Deborah by Default" an affectionate pet.
Remember the dog on the calendar? The one that I told you to take note of? Look through the window of the car parked behind the new cat! It's the very dog! How does such a thing happen?
This dog is jealous; jealous that it cannot be a cat - jealous that Nabysko cradles a cat that Tryskuit pets.
The dog wants to be cradled. The dog wants to be petted. But no one cradles it. No one pets it. The dog wants to be a cat. But the dog is a dog. The dog can never be a cat. Unless reincarnation is real. If so, then perhaps this dog will yet meow.
Nabysko carries "Deborah by Default" through the headlights of our car to Tryskuit's, so that they can drive back to Anchorage. About three hours later, my phone will ring. It will be Nabysko. She will report the drive home to have been an excellent one.
At first, "Deborah by Default" wanted to explore a bit, to climb upon the driver's lap and cause her to crash, but Nabysko kept her away from Tryskuit (had they told me they did not have a travel kennel for her, I would have brought one).
Then the kitty settled down on the lap of her new lady, Nabysko. She gave her nudge after nudge; she purred, she was happy and sweat.
Once home, "Deborah by Default" vigorously attacked the new mouse-dangling-from-stick toy that Tryskuit had given her as a kitty-shower gift. Tryskuit quickly grew worried that this was too much exertion for a cat that had just been spayed, so they took that toy away and opened up a box filled with about 30 fake mice.
"Deborah by Default" was pleased. She dug in. Not a single mouse survived.
No bad reaction, so far. He loves "Deborah by Default" and has been caressing and holding her.
As for "Deborah by Default," no one knows her real name yet. Once she reveals it, Nabysko says, the default will be overwritten by the real name. While no one knows what that name will be, everyone is pretty sure it won't be, "Deborah by Default."
Less than two hours before my Alaska Airlines flight was scheduled to depart Barrow for Anchorage, I got a call inviting me back to the home of Jumper and Watson for dinner. I headed over and found Casey there as well. She stood on the floor, looking at Jumper, who looked back at her.
I had been greatly worried, as I feared that I had misspelled Casey's name in my last post; that her name was not Casey but rather the letters "K" and "C". So I asked her. Sure enough, she answered, the proper spelling was KC, or perhaps K.C.
Then she told me that she did not want to be called KC at all, but preferred to go by another name, "Regina."
Okay, I agreed, I would refer to her in this blog not as KC but as Regina.
"Regina ludus," she added. "Ludus with a small 'L".
"Ludus?" another male guest who happens to celebrate his wedding anniversary on the same day as Sunflower and I, February 14, a day that this year found us both apart from our spouses, piped in. "That's ludicrous."
Regina ludus agreed. "ludus is the root for ludicrous," she explained. "That's why I love the name so much."
Regina ludus caresses Jumper. I will not refer to her here as Casey, KC, K.C., or even Stacey. She is Regina ludus, the root of ludicrous, and Regina ludus is how I refer to her.
Jumper is Jumper. Jumper does not care how I spell his name here, and if I were to call him "Leaper" instead of "Jumper," it would not trouble him at all.
I could even write his name down as "Alphonso" and he would not object.
I suspect that Karla, the lady whom he owns, would, however.
She would probably think me ludicrous.
Watson came to my chair for a visit. And right now, as I type these words, there is a different black cat sprawled across my forearms. Jimmy. Jim Slim Many Toes, for I am back in Wasilla now.
Next up, even before this day ends:The newest Kracker cat - Nabysko and the tabby, Deborah by default.
Unless a feline appears in front of me within just a few hours of when I arise tomorrow morning, this trip to Barrow will end without me meeting a new cat. Tonight, however, I did have dinner with my kitty pals, Jumper and Watson, who have been on this blog before.
Casey also came over for dinner. Quite some time ago, Casey had a little tanning salon that she operated in Barrow, in part so that all those Barrow people who liked to slip away to Hawaii for a mid-winter break could arrive there with the appearance of people accustomed to sunshine.
A national publication did a story on her and they wanted a picture, so I took it, just outside her salon on a -36 degree day during which the sun never did rise.
Here she is, with Jumper. I took a couple of pictures of Watson, too, but I only had my pocket camera with me and the light was not good.
Last night, as I was busy photographing the Eskimo dances at the great celebration of Kivgiq, a message appeared on my cell phone from Nabysko. She has adopted a tabby cat. No name yet. She went to the shelter intending to get a kitten, but this ten month tabby reached out and put a paw on her.
Last night, I was sitting here at my computer, earnestly working away, when I heard the "ping" of an incoming email. I checked. The subject read, "right now cats". The sender was my own daughter, Tryskuit, who I knew happened to be sitting no more than 12 feet away from me, in the house, on the living room couch.
It sounded urgent, so I opened it to find the above picture. As you can imagine, I rushed into the house with all diligent haste. And this is what I saw, less than one minute after Tyskuit took the first picture on her iPhone and emailed it to me.
Well, in just one hour, I must drive into Anchorage and catch a jet to Barrow, where the current, mid-day temperature is -43 and the windchill -68.
I am very sorry to have no choice but to leave Sunflower behind in her condition, but I have to go. I must leave my children to watch over her. During those moments when I am not worried, I expect it to be a fun trip.
I will be busy day and night, and I don't know if I will see a cat.
The game begins with both competitors raising their left hand/paw to the straw. Somewhere, out of the frame, a fool has been hired to shout out the countdown to the beginning of the game, "And the frog hollered..." the fool begins... "one, two... three..."
"Go!" Wry snatches the straw away, to take the early lead...
...but Royce shoots out a lightning paw, snatches the straw...
...and pulls it into his teeth!
"Ha!" Wry shouts, as he jerks the straw away. Royce charges after, in hot pursuit.
Royce snatches the straw from Wry's paw!
Wry studies the situation and prepares to strike again. Wry is determined to get that straw back!
The two grapple for the straw, which has disappeared beneath them.
Royce hides the straw beneath his fur, then calmly pretends that it is not there. Wry will not be fooled. Wry wants the straw, bad. Royce is nonchalant as he continues to pretend it is not there.
Using his head, Wry pushes Royce off the spot where he is certain the straw must be.
Royce fakes Wry out, gets up and dashes away. Where's the straw? Oh, no! It can't be there! The very idea is disgusting! But Wry is reaching for something... what... if not the straw?
They charge across the playing floor, and crash into Muzzy.
Wry emerges with the straw! Royce does not give up, but studies it with a cunning eye.
Royce grabs for the straw!
Royce grips the straw in his mouth...
The two competitors tug back and forth on the straw.
Royce pulls Wry practically off his feet...
Wry raises the straw! He is victorious! But why does Royce look so calm?
As we know, Royce is always looking for love. Could it be that he knew all along that in losing he would win that which he desires most?
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.