September 18, 2013
Our back porch looks barren now with all the plants safely back in their winter places--inside the house. Oh, they'll pout awhile, they always do after enjoying sunshine and summer breezes for several months, but soon they'll settle in, accept and carry-on.
Smug with the success of that completed task--and it is a task, bathing, pruning and top-dressing thirty-plus plants, and of course checking for hitch-hikers--I was happily sipping my cuppa this early a.m. Gazing at the lush green specimens perched or hanging throughout the living area, bathed in the glow of stove-top candlelight, I smiled with satisfaction--that is until I spied a tail-- a long grey tail from a certain feline member of our household--Sir Mattie. He was sprawled out in semi-crouch mode, nose to heat register, the rest of him well hidden under the leaves of my giant peace-lily. All, that is, but a tail. A dead giveaway.
"Mattie..." I chided, "what are you doing under Mama's plant!?" He raised his head, yawned in a who-me, pretending-to-be-bored fashion, then greeted me with a sleepy--or so he'd have me think--morning meow. I pushed the leaves aside, bending over pretzel-style to peer under the rim of the register. Sure enough! A set of tiny beady brown eyes gazed up at me in terror. Oh Bic. What have you gotten yourself into this time!?
Distraction. That seemed the best way to deflect a feline's fascination for morning-mouse-on-toast. So I found a few tidbits of chicken--Mattie's all-time favorite treat--in the refrigerator, warmed the offering slightly in the micro, and threw kisses-in-the-air as I walked into my office with the aromatic plate. Sure enough. He quickly followed, sauntering the last few paces, just to let me know he wasn't really that hungry. I shut the door behind me and rushed back to the kitchen.
"Now Bic..." I scolded gently, "You come out of there right now and I'll bring you home again. I don't know what I'm going to do with you. You are a lucky little mouseling that Sir Mattie wasn't too hungry this morning!"
He crept out from under the register, rumpled and shaken, his tiny overalls ripped, dust-bunnies quivering on his whiskers. I held my hand out to him and he crawled gratefully into my palm, curling into a ball of misery. Gently I cupped him while I opened the back door--oh it's still so dark at this early hour--it seemed cruel to put him out there somehow. But sure enough, as I approached MouseHouse, the door was open, just a little, a glimmer from the Walnut Woodstove shining out, and Sir Fivel sitting by it, his head in his hands. We parents are all the same when we're waiting for our youngun's to come home!
I raised little Bic to the edge of the eave..."Go see your daddy, young man... you've a few things to tell him this morning."
He scrambled off my hand, and still trembling, head hanging low, ran to his daddy's side. Sir Fivel's eyes lit up; he greeted his wandering boy with open arms, and then looked down at me with gratitude. "Thank you again, Mama Hare..." he mouthed in quiet gentlemanly fashion. I returned the smile.
We are all the same. Just grateful when our young make it home safely.