Sunday, July 26, 2009
Stay tuned for Part Two of this story where I will reveal how Opie Taylor acquired his monkey pants. This is a must read for those of you who need a splash of color in your lives or have just always wondered, "How can I get a pair of my very own monkey pants?" For the rest of you wondering what the heck are monkey pants? I'll give you the scoop next post..... (disclaimer: I am not responsible for lack of sleep readers may experience waiting for part two)
I don't have baby pictures of Opie Taylor--not "real" baby pictures. He came to live with us when he was just shy of being four months old and the only way I figured out how old he was is because he still had a few of his milk teeth. I wasn't exactly planning on adding a kitty to my already busy life with my son, our dachshund, Miss Frankie, and myself. We'd just moved into our 1929 Tudor style cottage, nestled on two acres dotted with apple trees, and overflowing with tranquility. I was much too busy making it a home, and learning how to mow all the acreage let alone think seriously about getting another pet.
I had merely mentioned the notion in a passing conversation that it might be fun to get a kitten. It was just a thought, an idea that slipped out of my mouth one day when hanging out with some friends. Jake, my son, and I laughed about how Miss Frankie may not share the same idea as fun, or good, or anything else. She'd been teased relentlessly by an old tom cat named, Big Red, we'd had in CA. His greatest fun was to hide in the flower pots on the front porch each morning, and wait for her to come out for her morning potty break. She always ran straight back to the front door quickly because breakfast was waiting for her. Thus her continual oblivion to Big Red lying in wait for her return--she was distracted by the thought of kibbles in her dish. Miss Frankie would bark to let us know she was ready to come back in. We'd open the door and she'd scurry back in but just as her little lamb chop legs bounced over the threshold into the house, Big Red would reach out, seemingly from no where, to swipe her tail or bottom. She'd yelp, always taken back a bit from the cat spanking. He'd run off before she could retaliate, and we'd comfort her trying our best not to laugh in front of her because of Big Red's morning antics. But in our defense, it was funny. When you're a wiener dog the entire world is huge, very huge. So when we moved away from southern CA, Miss Frankie never once asked where Big Red was. Not once. She happily had her people all to herself.
One day I was surprised to come home from work to find some kitty paraphernalia lying about in the living room. My son, and a friend was there, both looking like a cat that had just swallowed a canary. This particular friend had a passion for buying gifts that were not on my "got to have" list such as the time he purchased a ball python, complete with tank, lamps, etc., for my son. How do you tell someone to take a gift back after your kid thinks he's just won the lottery? So when I saw the kitty toys, kitten food, and litter box, I felt an inner heat of righteous anger rise to my cheeks in knowing he'd just crossed the line again with me.
"Where is it?" I asked barely managing not to turn into a banshee. I was furious. How dare him bring a kitten home without my permission? Picking out a kitten, puppy, or any pet is a highly personal thing. I'd always had a specific type of kitten or cat I preferred, and how could he make that choice for me? So my first instinct was to find it and then make him return it to wherever he got it from. I stomped about the house, not angry at the kitten, mind you, angry that this friend had taken liberties he did not have, and I wanted to impress upon him that he had pushed the wrong buttons in me that day.
I saw the door to my bathroom was closed. I turned to see both my friend, and my son cowering behind me. "Is it in here?" I asked. Both nodded their heads up and down in a nervous yes.
My plan that afternoon was to walk into my bathroom, pluck the kitten up and hand it back to my friend without so much as a pet on the little fluff ball's head. I just knew it would be a kitty with a skinny face, weird set eyes, and no personality. I opened the door to my bathroom, and there on the floor, crouching behind the toilet, was the sweetest face I'd ever seen in a small bundle of cat fur. He meowed at me, helpless, and frightened with such an innocent, wide-eyed stare, I melted like a snow cone on a sidewalk in mid August.
"Awwwww....." The sound of instant love escaped my throat for the entire world to hear. I heard snickering behind me, but my mothering instincts were in full swing so I didn't turn around to slap both of them in that moment. I was too full of love to do anything but surrender my heart and soul to the kitten who came to live with us that summer afternoon.That was ten years ago, almost to the day, that little Opie Taylor came home to live with us. He teased and tormented Miss Frankie with his kitten like ways. She tried to act like she didn't like him, just like I did, but we'd come home and catch them cuddled up together on the couch. They mooched food together and played chase. Opie Taylor somehow figured out the game of swatting Miss F's bottom when she came back in the house after her potty trips. And Miss Frankie taught Opie the rules of the house, all the "no-no's" and "how to's", such as how to kiss Mama (me). Miss F knew I didn't like doggy kisses directly on my mouth or face so she learned to dip her head when approaching me so I could kiss her on her forehead. Opie does that to this very day, just like Miss Frankie did. It's like getting a two-in-one kiss.
Miss Frankie left us a year ago last March. She wears a sparkly angel suit instead of fur now, and often comes to me in my dreams. She's always smiling when she sees me, and is wiggling her tail which leads to a full body wag when you're a wiener dog. I miss her so much. And now in a strangely comforting way, Opie channels her intuitiveness and her all around sensitivity to my needs. Just like Miss Frankie, he knows I'm hormonal before I do. He is my guru kitty. He's always there by my side to comfort me, make me giggle, and he always seems to know when I need him to dip his head to give me a kiss. I used to call her my "hot dog bottle" when she wouldn't leave my side when I was sick. Opie does that now, too.
If I'd have demanded my friend remove that kitten that day without ever really seeing it, I would have missed out on knowing Opie Taylor. He'd already been abandoned by someone, and dumped like so many cats and dogs are, out in the country. He came from a rural area that had several batches of barn yard kittens, and none of which were his litter mates. No one had any attachment to him whatsoever. He was one of the last kittens to find a home because he was older that the others. I had no way of knowing seeing him huddled behind the toilet that he was on his way to an animal shelter if no one picked him by the end of that week mid July 10 years ago. I just knew I loved him, flat out adored him, in an instant.I'd like to believe Opie Taylor somehow picked me not the other way around. I cannot imagine my world without him in it. Or my life without monkey pants...
To be continued......