Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Cat Named Fresca

I had a cat named Fresca that would not talk to be let out. If I were asleep, he would stare at me. Quite disconcerting to awaken and look up on the bookcase headboard, and here would be this white cat, looking down and staring at me. One morning I thought to test him and see how far he would go. I just rolled over onto my side and ignored his silent request. He jumped down and proceeded to stare at me, face to face. I rolled over on the other side. He jumped over me and again stared at me. I continued to ignore him. He then reached out with his paw and gently touched my cheek. I continued to ignore him. He then gently unsheathed his claws. I'M UP, I'M UP. I could almost hear him say, "About time."

Fresca was white. He would go out and he found "girlfriends." He had two different girls which he brought home to meet the parents, as it were. Both of these girlfriends were pure white, like him. He would come to the door to be let in, and the girls would tentatively come in and he would show them around the house. Then they laid down on the edge of the living room carpet and watch TV. Each girlfriend was always slightly nervous, and after watching for a few minutes would jump up, and they wanted out. He never brought other girls to the house, to meet the folks.

Then there was shadow. She was a stray, wild Russian Blue. Very pretty, medium gray without ticking or tabby marks. One color and no white marks. If cats could fall in love, then the relationship they had was love. Wherever they went, they were side by side. You could almost see them holding hands. That was how she was named Shadow. It was like she were the shadow of his white body.

Fresca also had another proclivity. I would catch gophers on the property. Gopher holes are bad for horses, and every now and then we would get them in the field. I would trap the gopher and give the dead rodent to Fresca. One day he came to the house. He meow'ed and trotted away. He stopped and look over his shoulder. (What's wrong Lassie. Timmy fell into the well?) It was clear he wanted me to follow him. I traipsed down into the field. He showed me fresh gopher digs. I went back to the house and got the traps and the shovel. I set the traps and left. He stayed. After some time, he came back up and did the "follow me" signal. I went down and there was a dead gopher in the trap. Now you may say this was a fluke, but he did this several times. I even got smart, and picked up the traps on the first "follow me."

One day, Dad came home and told me that Fresca was dead. He had found him in the middle of the street a quarter of a mile from our house. He had stopped and picked up the body and had the cat in the bed of his truck. I went out and opened the eyelid to look at the green eyes I knew so well. I told Dad that that cat was not Fresca. The iris of the eye was different. I felt sure that Fresca was just out catting, and even though he was missing a couple of days, he would be back soon. Dad said I was in denial, and he would bury the cat. He did not bury the cat deep enough, because dogs dug him up. I deepened the hole and reburied the cat. Two days after Dad had found Fresca dead in the street, here comes Fresca, thin and hungry. Was there any wonder there were so many white cats in the neighborhood?

Fresca came into our house with a lie, on a Friday. Dad was against bringing pets into the house. Mom came home from work, with a white kitten. She said the kitten was standing on the corner near our house, looking all confused. Mom stopped and picked up the kitten, who was quite warm despite the storm brewing. She drove him the few hundred feet to the house. She explained to Dad that here it was Friday night, Monday was a holiday (Christmas), so she would take him to the humane society on Tuesday. It only took until after dinner, that Fresca was seen, curled up in Dad's lap, with him gently petting him. He was home. The truth was that a woman at work had a Siamese cat and she had a litter of kittens. One was white. Since Siamese kittens are born white and get color as they get older, my mom took the white kitten. Of course he did not color up, because at weening, Siamese have most of their color.

Fresca, sadly, was hit by a car and killed. I think he was about nine years old. I was getting ready to go horseback riding and had called him (how many cats would come when called?) and apparently, he heard me, but did not hear the car. Who ever hit him, stopped and lifted his body to the curb, and out of traffic. I went riding and found him. I was so sad. I buried him.

Friday, June 8, 2012


My mom, dad and I went down to the Gulf of CA for some fishing and water skiing. We were in a 15 foot boat runabout. Just as a preamble, all three of us were a little on the substantial side.

All three of us dropped our lines on the reef. Boob, boom, boom, all three of us had caught sharks on each of our lines.

We tried to reel them in, and dad & I lost ours; hook, line and sinker. Mom was able to tickle hers up to the boat. Four foot sand shark. No great whites.

On previous excursions, we had observed the other fishermen take the shark out of the water, hit them in the head with a baseball bat, drop them back into the water and leave the area.

We didn't have a baseball bat, so my dad picked up a large, heavy pipe wrench. He was holding the shark out of the water, below the gunwale of the boat. Then he had the thought, if the shark jumps, I'm going to miss and put a hole in the side of the boat.

Aside - This was in the 70's and we were in Mexican waters. Animal cruelty was not an issue.

So he lifted the shark above the side of the boat. He aimed at the shark's head and the shark did jump -- off the hook and into the boat.

In unison, my mom, dad & I jumped on the narrow gunwales and balanced like gymnasts on a balance beam. We were all evicted from the boat, and could not go into the water because his injured cousins were there. The shark proceeded to flop around the bottom of the boat, like he were captain.

He was snapping his jaws at anything and everything until it jumped into the large bait box. My dad slammed the lid shut and sat on it.

At the end of the day, he was actually delish.