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summer 2007

Howdy folks,

Well, as the Cheyenne say, “Only the stones last forever.”  Our 24-year-old tomcat, Panther, whom I last mentioned in the Winter 2007 Newsletter, died in February.  He was a good old guy, even if being his body servant for the past few years was a pain in the yang-yang for me.

And now I have an even bigger pain, and I can’t believe I let the Heifer talk me into it.  We adopted two, two-month old kittens from the Humane Society almost exactly a month ago.  Pewter is solid silver-gray and Inky is solid black, with the exception of about five white hairs at the base of his throat.  Both are neutered toms.  Of course, you can tell by the mind-numbing originality of the monikers that Shirl named them.  I would have called the little monsters Demon and Devil or Rage and Wrath.

I am really too old to be the wrangler for a herd of two now three-month-old kittens.

They race through the house chasing and smashing, chewing and clawing, mauling and tearing, bashing and breaking.  And all the while, they are purring—and I am not exaggerating.  They purr when the eat, they purr when the wrestle, they purr when they are chewing on me—which they do with annoying frequency.  Inky, in particular, likes to run up my back, perch on my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot, purr in my ear, and then bite it.

Both of the beasts love the bathrooms.  So much so, that we had to ban them after a few days of experimentation.  When either one of us was in the shower, the would stretch up and put their paws against the glass and peer through the steam to watch us—probably wondering why humans took off their “skins” and compounded that stupidity by intentionally trying to drown themselves!  Then when we would step out of the shower to stand on a throw rug to finish drying, both kittens would crowd around and start licking ankles and toes.  When we’d try to gently boot them out of the way because it tickled, they remedied that quickly enough.  They’d just grab our legs in a bear hug and bite our calves.

What finally brought on the bathroom ban was one of Inky’s tricks.  I had just finished using the toilet, when this black blur shot past me, leaped into the air, only to land in the pot.  Boy, he shot straight up into the air in a very quick exiting maneuver.  I would never have believed something so little could jump so high.  Shirl was chasing him through the house screaming, “Catch him, so I can rinse him off!”  I thought to myself, “Not on your life.  That wretch has P----- me OFF so many times.  Now that he’s been P_____

ON, let him clean himself off.”

You know, though, he let Shirl hold him under a faucet and just purred.  Go figure!

Anyway, the creatures are feline Huns.  I expect to see them next month dashing down the hallway with torches in their mouths!  They both seem to be exceptionally clever, so I am hiding the matches.

THE RIVER NYMPH is almost finished, as I’m sure Shirl has told you.  However, as I prophesized in my last newsletter, while the writing goes well, it does not go smoothly.

Madam and I have our little disagreements.  I thank god for my forbearance. I will need it especially now.  It seems the marketing people have decreed that my name has to be dropped as co-author.  They say that husband and wife books do not sell well.  Still, I am in good company.  Did you know that Will Shakespeare actually wrote his plays with his wife, Betty?  But the marketers wouldn’t let him put her name on them either.

That’s a” true fact.”  Remember, I are a former English professor.

Take care,


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