Last weekend we went up to Burlington to visit the annual cat show they put on there, something we’ve been meaning to do for years for H’s sake. It’s silly how long it can take us to get around to something we all agree we want to do. Imagine how long it takes us to do the things we must (but don’t want) to do.
The cat show took place in a large meeting room in a hotel. There were rows of benches (tables) with various sizes of cat carriers and cages. On one end of the room were the “rings,” which were u-shaped areas bordered by cages with a judge’s table in front.
Cat owners ferried their charges from the bench cages to the ring cages as their numbers were called for each judging class. Then judges took each cat in turn out of its cage, put it on the table, handled it, watched it move, put it back in its cage, and wrote the cat’s score in a notebook. After the judge had handled each cat in the class, ribbons were bestowed and owners returned their cats to the benches.
So, no agility stunts or running the cats around the rings with leashes like at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, but if you got a seat up front you could get a good look at some beautiful cats, and you could wander the benches and talk to the owners, who were all exceedingly enthusiastic about their breeds of choice.
Some highlights of our day:
Seeing with our own eyes that our Abyssinian is not the only one who likes to act up.
Getting a chance to see just how large and gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cats are.
Seeing cats of all spots, stripes, colors, fur lengths, and body shapes.
And meeting Zelda, a beautiful young cousin of our very own Singapura, Oyster.
Rebecca: What should I write today?
Hyla: Write an ode to the fire.
R: That’s a good idea. What defines an “ode”?
H: I can show you one I wrote about Oyster.
R: Please do.
. . .
R: Oh, I like this! Can we post this today instead of something I write?
Ode To A Cat
surveys his jungle-kingdom
and draws the curtain of
his private war chamber.
Sitting on the velvet cushion,
surrounded by his family, loyal courtiers,
the mighty cat sends out orders
to move this regiment here,
to send a gift to this nation.
Going through his daily routine,
he feels weary.
And one evening,
he meows to his faithful page, Hudson;
“I am hungry,”
the powerful rumble
of his voice fills the room.
His page offers;
“Anything, King Oyster.
I will go to the market
and buy it for you.”
The royal cat
shakes his head,
and his long white whiskers shine.
He wants to go to the market himself.
as the king wished,
they go to the market,
the wind rips at their faces,
tearing up the feathery snow and dusting it
over their faces.
At the market,
the people stare and whisper:
And Oyster laughs;
leaping up to play with the kittens,
giving hard-earned rewards to their parents
They pass large wealthy buildings,
bursting with delicious food,
and Hudson suggests them all.
The king shakes his head and walks on.
At the end of the path,
they come to a bleak hovel,
in which a wife cooks what she has.
The king orders the page to buy good milk,
cheese and meat, and to
bring them to him. Meanwhile,
he slips into the small house.
The wife does not recognize him,
and offers him some soup.
The king thanks her and laps it up slowly.
Hudson knocks at the door,
and Oyster opens it.
The kind cat and her family
revel in the delicious gifts
and thank the king
The king and page buy a cheese
and go home.
He enters his palace again
and curls up by the crackling fire
my father stokes.
Fun fact #1: I still cannot write the word “Friend” without singing this song to myself.
Fun fact #2: In the late 60s/early 70s, my father worked for the public television station WQED, where he was Production Manager and Lighting Director for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (among other shows). That porch swing? I sat on it. Those fish? I fed them. I rang the bell at Lady Elaine Fairchild’s museum, swung the pendulum on Daniel Stripèd Tiger’s grandmother clock. I snuck behind the tree where X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat lived. And, like most of the other kids watching the show, when Mister Rogers sang, “You are Special,” I truly believed he was singing it right to me.