Saturday, October 16, 2010

Them Cats

Just like everyone else in our family, Mimmie had many pets in her lifetime. In Mimmie’s case, most numerous were cats. “Numerous” is, perhaps, an understatement -- when she lived at the old house, at one time she may have had forty. Mimmie’s sister had a similar passion for dogs and my mother for horses (though in the horses’ case they have never numbered forty). Mimmie also cared for the cats that lived at the Watson Hollow Inn. In 1981 Mimmie recalled:
I remember I went down there all that summer and fed them cats, til Barnes bought the place, because the cats were there you know. I hated to go there, where I had gone so many times, every night and every morning, I fed the cats when they were there. It was an awful feeling, in that barn. I don’t think any place could get any more depressing than that was, after all that happiness that was there. I mean, even as old as they were then, all the ambition they had, and energy, and they never said we don’t feel like doing that this year, the Christmas tree out on the porch, or the Christmas lights, out there in the freezing cold fixing that at their age. And then in the spring, haul that out of there and get those Japanese lanterns up.

Often passersby would “drop” one cat or a whole bunch of kittens at the old house, in the field near the road. They would quickly become new members of the brood. A couple were indoor cats, but most lived outdoors. The outdoor cats were friendly to no-one but Mimmie. Getting large bags of dry food was an important part of shopping trips to Kingston. Conversations regarding what was to be done about “them cats” were frequent.

Daily, Mimmie would mix food and powdered milk with warm water in big pans and carry them outside; cats seemed to run from everywhere to greet her. A lasting image is of cats of every color and size, short- and long-haired, the beautiful and the not-so-lovely, swarming around her stockinged legs as she walked along, carefully balancing their supper, all the while warning them not to make her trip and fall.

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