We should sit like a cat

“I heard there are alligators in Florida,” says Darby. “I’ll be taking my meals right here, thank you.” Photo: Herself

“If anything is more irresistible than Jesus, it’s Mickey.”

Carl Hiaasen, “Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World.”

Herself the Elder has gone to Mickey.

It happened the way Ernest Hemingway described going bankrupt in “The Sun Also Rises” — “gradually and then suddenly.” One minute she’s in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the next, boom! Mouse Country. It was that quick. Except for when it wasn’t.

Herself the Elder retired a couple years back and decided shortly thereafter that it might be nice to be closer to one of her three daughters. I could dig it, as I live fairly close to one of them myself.

She checked out a few places in the Duke City, and did likewise in the Greater Orlando Mousetropolitan Area, and unless you acquire a concealed-carry permit, a theft-proof auto and an ocean with attached beach, Florida is going to win that matchup two falls out of three.

And then things just sort of stalled out, because moving is a huge pain in the ass and doing nothing is always an option. As far as I’m concerned, anyway. Gives a fella time to think.

“Why did you sit around all day?”

“I am the Buddha known as the Quitter.”

Jack Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums”

This laissez-faire approach doesn’t work for everyone, of course. It seems particularly ill-suited to most women of the female persuasion, who appear to have an innate compulsion to take hold while the menfolks sit around scratching themselves, farting, and hooting contentedly. And thus, eventually, the creaky familial machinery started rumbling to life.

Beth, the Florida daughter, stood, rolled up her sleeves and said something to the effect of, “Are we doing this or what?” HtE replied in the affirmative, a strategery was devised, and they were off to the wars.

Herself booked a flight to Florida to help set up the new digs. Beth ordered up the movers and jetted to Oak Ridge to supervise the packing up, then flew back with HtE in tow. And Heather, the Tennessee daughter, collaborated with family friend Janet to chauffeur Darby the cat to Mousesylvania by auto.

It’s not that simple, of course. Nothing is. But for the moment, everyone’s settling in. Even Darby, who was not consulted about any of this.

We should

sit like a cat

and wait for the door

to open.

“Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry,” by Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison

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15 Responses to “We should sit like a cat”

  1. Libby Says:

    Sounds like the move is going smoothly congratulations to all! Nice to see the enigmatic Mia making an appearance!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s actually Darby, Herself the Elder’s cat. The Darbster has been performing a one-cat show, “The Lump Under the Bedspread,” for a couple of days now. And Darb’ hasn’t even seen a gator yet.

      • Libby Says:

        Should have paid heed to the floral bedspreads. They did give me pause. Darby is darling. Hope the cutie settles in quickly. Regards to Mia!

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Darby is right. My poodle, Cassie, jumped over a few logs on the beach at Magnolia Springs State Park in Southern Georgia. The logs starting moving a few minutes later. Those critters would make the start of a good breakfast to a gator.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My dad stepped on one once, as a lad in either Bogalusa or Perry, I disremember which. It was dark, and he thought it was a log. That log woke up fast and treed him on top of his car. Decades later he remained impressed at the gator’s short-range speed.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    One of our former post docs is moving from Bomb Town to Oak Ridge. Is HtE selling?

  4. JD Dallager Says:

    Another black and white photo that rivals Ansel Adams! 🙂

  5. ryansubike Says:

    I had a cat whose favorite game was lump under the bed spread. Hope the Darbster settles in. My siblings and I moved mom from Portland to Spokane last fall so I can relate.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Miss Mia Sopaipilla loves that game. She’s really sneaky and quick, and I worry about her slipping out an open door (which she has managed a time or two). So whenever I haven’t seen her in a while I take a quick look around.

      Often as not there’s a mysterious lump in the bed. Poke it with a finger and you hear, “Rrrr!”

      I think the kids did a bang-up job with this move. Obviously I’m viewing from afar but it seems to have gone smoove like butta, and Herself the Elder says she likes the new joint. There’s a nice guest room with its own bath for visitors and a lanai suitable for hollering at kids to get off the lawn.

      If they don’t pay her any mind she can drop weighty objects upon them, learn ’em some manners. It’s a third-floor apartment.

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