When I opened the Petwarmers story today, there was a surprise waiting. I submitted this story about 5 years ago, maybe more. And here it is unexpectedly with fond memories of Chickie, and delight in our mornings together. I had actually forgotten many of these details, and it’s a treat to see them again. Enjoy!
STARTING THE DAY WITH A SMILE by Marian Hale
6:10 a.m. — another weekday. The alarm rings, and I hit the snooze button for ten minutes of dozing. Both cats are on the bed, and the younger noses in under my arm for a purring hug. Lovely.
Chickie is the elder, about 11, an orange tabby with thick, soft fur and an endearing expression. Pepper is five years younger, a black/brown tabby mix with a beautifully marked and chiseled face. She has smooth, fine fur and chats with me every morning.
They soon succeed in getting me out of bed — Pepper rakes her claws down the venetian blinds if I linger too long. Their fresh water and food will be my first order of business. After that, it’s into the shower with them waiting on the mat just outside. As soon as I’m sitting on the side of the tub drying off in a big bath sheet, the real fun begins.
I start the hair dryer — that’s Chickie’s signal to leap briefly into my lap on her way to the sink. One advantage of having a tiny bathroom is that great roosting places are close together. She settles comfortably, then purrs to encourage me to blow warm air onto her back and sides.
With the other hand, I reach into the medicine cabinet to retrieve one of the little gold foil balls waiting there. Pepper assumes the position of Yogi Berra at the bathroom door, and I let go with an underhand throw. If I’ve judged it right, it sails over her head by about a foot, and she leaps into the air to bat it away with her paw. What fun! She chases it down the hall or into the living room — careful not to send it under the couch — picks it up lightly in her mouth and returns it to my feet!
I’m drying my hair, warming C’s back, and ready for another throw as soon as P returns. This play continues until one of us tires, and then back goes the ball into the medicine chest, ready for tomorrow’s game.
Right before I brush my teeth, I tell Chickie it’s time now, and she stands up in the sink for me to lift her down. We’ve done this ever since she slipped on her descent a while back and landed not so well. We both look forward to this elevator move now.
Is it any wonder that I start each day with a smile?