Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two cats met along the way, sort of - Salt Lake City

I don't know why it would flee - not from me! It led me to this position in front of the next door neighbor house.

"A calico cat!" I shouted at my nephew-in-law, Steve Cook, as he drove down a street in Salt Lake City. "On a porch! Stop!"
He applied the brakes and I jumped out and as I did, I spotted a second cat, black and white, in the front yard of the same house, giving company to a girl in her early teens. Through her wide glasses, she looked at me quizzically, slightly worried, as I approached.

"Is it all right if I photograph your kitties?" I asked.

Her eyes brightened and her face lit up. "Sure!" she said.

Before I could bring my camera to my eye, the black and white dashed off. I raised my camera and shot. I was disgusted with myself. I had a wide-angle lens on the camera and I needed a telephoto, but I had left all my other lenses in my sister's house.

So I followed the fleeing cat and shot a couple of frames with the wide angle. The scaredy-cat led me to a position in front of the next door neighbor's house, then disappeared, so I turned back, in the hope that I might get a better photo of the calico cat on the porch. She had now been joined by two women, who must have emerged from the house as I pursued the black and white cat.

"Who's that?" the older of the two women asked.

"I must photograph kitties wherever I go," I answered. "Is the calico shy, too?"

"No," she said. I saw the calico studying me with a friendly look in her eye. I could see she was thinking of coming over to meet me.

"Kitty," the woman said, "go in the house!"

I couldn't believe it! Here was this beautiful calico cat right in front of me, friendly, wanting to come and meet me, eager to pose, and the woman had ordered it into the house! Worse yet, it obeyed; it trotted toward the open door.

I shot one frame and then it pranced to the door, stepped inside and disappeared within. I hoped that I might convince the lady to bring it back out so that I could have a real photo session with it.

"Really," I told her. "I'm a photographer from Alaska and I travel a lot and wherever I go, I try to photograph a cat!"

"Well, you've got one," she said, in a cold, unfriendly, intimidating tone.

I was about to try to explain to her that this one frame did not really count, that it would not be that great, that, to photograph the calico properly, to do justice to her beauty, I needed to spend a bit of time with the cat. I wanted to tell her about Tryskuit and Nabysko and how, when they had been small girls, they had given their wandering daddy this assignment: to photograph cats wherever I go, to find out the stories of those cats and then to bring the photos and the stories back to them.

I took this assignment from my daughters seriously and even though they are now grown, I still do.

I wanted to tell her these things, but there was something about her posture, her demeanor, that told me that she was done with me, that she did not want to hear, that she had no curiosity or desire to learn why a scruffy, upper middle-aged man with a beard and a camera would want to photograph her cats. She viewed gentle me as a threat and just wanted me to go away, right now.

I could see that the situation was hopeless. I thanked her for her help, returned to the car and then Steve drove us away.

The altogether too obedient Calico cat heads toward the open door to enter the house.

The following images were shot May 23:

Fritz: Demonspawn

When my nephew, Thos, was a Mormon missionary in France, his forlorn, lonely, companions would frequently pull out their wallets and show pictures of the girlfriends they had left behind to anyone sympathetic enough to listen. Thos would pull out his wallet, but instead of a girl friend, he would show a picture of his sister's cat, "Demon Spawn" Fritz. Thos would boast about how Fritz would attack and shred the hands, arms, and, if they wore no shoes, feet of anyone foolish enough to draw too near. 

Even so, Thos's sister, Khena, loved Fritz and kept him safe and secure. In a few years, he settled down and became as gentle as a pussycat... sort of... he still has his moments. He recently attacked Khena's new husband, Vivek. When Vivek's parents came from India to visit, Fritz attacked his Mom, who makes the best coffee in the world (which, I should add, just in case his bishop reads this, Thos, being one of the few among us who has remained within the fold, would never drink).  

Last night, we all had dinner at the Red Iquana. Khena pulled out her phone and boasted about Fritz.

Griffin: Gentle As A Summer's Mist

My niece, Amber, then pulled out her phone to show us all pictures of Griffen. Griffin is so sweet and gentle, she would never hurt anyone, not even a mouse. Unless she were hungry, of course. Well, she might just bat it around for fun. Cats do this, you know.

No need for pictures in a wallet

Khena shows her sister, Shaela, the jpeg of Fritz.  Shaela is also my niece.

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