Thanksgiving Day at Our House

It was around four o'clock in the afternoon and the sun was low on the western horizon. It was Thanksgiving Day, a time for feasting and good company. Our persons were in the living room, watching an old movie on the television set and we cats had taken this opportunity to join our friends on the deck for a bit of conversation and leftover turkey. Shirley, my squirrel friend who lives in the big maple tree in the front yard, had also come over to chatter with us. Even Ashley, our dog joined in the festivities.

In full view and under the eyes of our persons, Helen and I, Ashley and Sidney and little Stella had dragged onto the deck, one roasted turkey leg, one roasted turkey wing and an ample sample of turkey breast, cooked to perfection. Our persons never questioned our behaviour nor made any attempt to stop us from helping ourselves with the leftover meal. We all sat on the deck together, the pile of turkey parts within our circle. We patiently waited for our first guest to arrive. It was difficult not to grab at the delicious food that was in easy reach of our mouths and paws. Little Stella had to be restrained many times by her 'dog mother'. "But I want some now!" she wailed. "I'm hungry! I am a growing kitty!" But Ashley did not relent. For the time being, the turkey was out of bounds to Stella's eager paws and teeth

Shirley, our squirrel friend was the first to arrive. Slung over her shoulder, was a bag of unshelled peanuts. "Just in case some rodents should wish to join in the fun," she chattered.

No sooner had she chattered those words when Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist, staggered through the back gate. He too, had a heavy bag slung over his narrow shoulders. "The rat scouts will arrive shortly, so Brenda, dear mate that she is, packed a bag of cracked corn for them and here it is!"

Shirley grinned at us cats. "Well, it seems that the rodent population will be taken care of for sure!" she chattered loudly.
Although she and Raymond are of the same species, they have some different genetic qualities. I do think that Raymond would give up a few fangs to get a tail as luxurious as that which is attached to Shirley's rear end....Many a time I have heard him sigh, "Oh, I would like to have that big, fluffy plume to wave around...I'd be the envy of the neighborhood.."
Raymond took a pawful of cracked corn, sniffed it, then devoured it in one gulp. "By the way, he squeaked, "I understand that you nice kitties invited Rumsfeld to join you today for Thanksgiving day dinner?"
"That's quite true, Raymond," I meowed. "I doubt the old boy has ever had a decent meal or any meal which didn't come out of a garbage can. So I invited him to join us today."
"You are nice pussycats," grinned Raymond. "I saw him awhile back, checking out the trash can. He told me he would be joining you for dinner. I believe that he was looking for some tidbits to bring along...."
"Oh, dear," hissed Helen, "the last time Rumsfeld brought a gift to our house, it took Henri and me about two hours to dig a hole deep enough to bury it." Helen smoothed her whiskers. "I don't want to do that again, Raymond."
We needn't have worried. No sooner had Helen stopped meowing when Rumsfeld climbed up and over the back gate and ran toward the deck. "Can I still come to the party?" he asked in a hoarse growl. "I couldn't find nothin' in the garbage cans on the way over here."
Everyone nodded. "Of course you can come to our party! Please, sit down next to me!" meowed Sidney. "You don't have to bring anything to our parties, Rumsfeld."
"Hey, kitties! Don't start without me!" growled Clarence of Belden. He released the latch on the front gate and pulled it open. In his paws, he carried a pie. "It's pumpkin pie," he announced, shrugging his shoulders. "I heard it's a tradition or something like that....."
"I'll eat anything," announced Rumsfeld, proudly.
"I'm sure you would," barked Ashley, pulling baby Stella closer to her side.
Clarence, under my careful eye, passed out the chunks of turkey to each and every guest. Raymond shook his head. "I think I'll stay with the peanuts and the cracked corn if you don't mind..." As far as the rest of us were concerned, that was fine. All the more for us meat eaters.
It took us a while before we had finished out meals. Sidney is a very slow eater and we often had to stop Stella from grabbing his dinner from under his nose. The rat scouts nearly emptied the bags of cracked corn and peanuts and two of the scouts went home to get some more goodies to chomp on. They returned with a bag of cashews which they divided up among the rodent guests. "Now where did those come from?" I asked Raymond.
He grinned and held up his paws. "Don't ask....."
Rumsfeld's chin and whiskers glistened with grease from the turkey. "Boy, that was real good!" he announced. Helen pushed a damp paper towel toward him. Raymond picked it up and proceeded to wash our guest's face. Only a very brave rat would do that. "Well, pussycats," chattered Raymond as he scooped up the turkey bones and carried them to the trash can. "What did you think of the turkey?"
"I thought it was really yummy," meowed Stella, washing her paws and whiskers. "I want to have turkey, everyday!"
"It was flavorful but a trifle dry," I remarked as I tried to dislodge a piece of turkey leg from between my front teeth.
"Sometimes, I find you a trifle dry, Henri," hissed Helen. She began to laugh in that annoying cat giggle. "Why don't you have some of Clarence's pumpkin pie?"
Even Raymond and Shirley took a nibble of the pie. We all came to the conclusion, that pumpkin pie is an acquired taste and that cats will probably never acquire the taste except for Rumsfeld. I do believe that cat will eat anything!
We had all had plenty to eat and our eyelids were drooping with sleep. The sun had escaped below the horizon and the street lights had come on and cast a warm glow over the deck. Stella had cuddled up to Ashley. Her eyes were closed. Helen and Clarence were quietly meowing in the corner of the deck and Rumsfeld had found a comfortable space between the bags of leaves and cedar chips. He was sound asleep. Occasionally he would mutter and cry out, but his eyes remained closed. Sidney, Raymond and I decided to play a game of poker. After a few paws, Clarence joined in. Helen has a strong dislike for card games but she watched and meowed now and then. Eventually we all lost the fur off our backs, so to speak. "What are you thinking about, Raymond?" I purred.
"Well, if you really must know, Pussycat. I was thinking how wonderful it would be if Rumsfeld, here, could find a person who would love him and give him a nice home. Then his days of roaming the streets and raiding garbage cans for his meals, would be over." Raymond looked at me. "He is really a nice kitty." He pulled gently on my whiskers. "Maybe that could be our project for the coming year....."
I nodded. "Could be....and the name is Henri, Henri of Twin Brook."

"Whatever you say, Pussycat!"

Rumsfeld,aka "Scarface" is a cat who was found by Officer Stephani Johnson of the New Haven, Connecticut Animal Shelter. He was lying on the street, sick and injured. Officer Johnson brought him back to the shelter where he was cared for and fed by a devoted staff. He regained his health and was then adopted by a kind and thoughtful woman who agreed to give this lucky cat a permanent home.

Helen, Sidney, Stella, Clarence of Belden, Shirley, Raymond and I wish every cat and person a wonderful holiday season! May everyone be blessed with love, warmth and caring friends!!

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