January 29, 2000
Skeeter is not entirely happy about the way we live. For example, he doesn't like my going to work. With more justification, he disapproves of some of my attitudes. Most of my experience with animals is with dogs. In a relationship with a pet, I elect myself pack leader. Cats are not pack animals. Skeeter, a democrat, considers us equals and resents my bumptious ways.
This is particularly true when it comes to food. I buy various kinds of food for Skeeter so he won't become too set on one type or flavor. I had a friend in high school whose cat, Sparkles, would eat nothing but Kitty Queen Tuna. No other brand would do, even people tuna. Kitty Queen Salmon would not do, either. My friend's family had Kitty Queen Tuna crises, when none could be found. "Did you try the all-night drugstore?" "We went there last time, remember? They don't have it." The cat probably would have starved before it ate anything else.
My friend's mother had a strange relationship with the cat. She believed Sparkles to be the reincarnation of her own mother, long deceased. So the cat ruled the household. I am not going down that road with Skeeter.
A gauntlet has been thrown, though, regarding turkey. Till last week, he ate it with obvious enjoyment. The two cans I've given him this week have gone untouched. Someone said it might be spoiled, that I should smell it. A longtime vegetarian, I think meat always smells spoiled, but I gave it a whiff. Disgusting, but not rancid. I won't buy it again, though, if he feels that way.
This morning he got beef, which he accepted. In fact, he made a pig of himself. After breakfast he returned to the bedroom, belching alarmingly.
"Would Monsieur like a potato with the steak next time?" I asked. "Perhaps a small glass of red wine?" Monsieur looked interested. "A salad?" No sale.
I think I'll continue being pack leader. Like all despots, I perpetuate Skeeter's servitude by monopolizing the means to freedom: the checkbook, the car keys, the can opener.
It's unfair that I should be the leader just because I'm bigger and smarter and have opposable thumbs. But it's going to stay that way as long as I can manage it. If Skeeter is the reincarnation of my mother, she can learn to eat what she's given.
NOVELS BY ANNE L. WATSON
PACIFIC AVENUE. When young Kathy Woodbridge steps off the bus in San Pedro, California, she is running away from her past in Louisiana -- a past burdened by family tragedy and the imprisonment of the man she has loved. Soon she meets Lacey Greer, who can sense the young woman is deeply troubled. But before Lacey can help, she must uncover just what Kathy is running from.
JOY. In the Oakland, California, of 1989, Mirai San Julian is a young woman with a fascinating life and a rich past. She restores historic carousels -- her dream career -- working from her own studio in a former roller skating rink. But why is everything suddenly falling apart? Mirai knows how to restore a carousel, but can she restore relationships with those she loves?
CASSIE'S CASTAWAYS (ISLAND WOMEN, BOOK 1). When Amy Bendbowe receives a call for help from her dying mother, Cassie, she rushes from Washington's San Juan Island to Mobile, Alabama, to see her. But Cassie has other ideas. Before letting Amy visit the hospital, she wants her to sell off or give away all the stock from Cassie's secondhand store. Is Cassie trying to keep the distance that has long separated her from her daughter? Or is this her way to help Amy finally understand her?
WILLOW'S CRYSTAL (ISLAND WOMEN, BOOK 2). Rai Ireland has built a respectable life for herself as a novice real-estate lawyer on Washington's San Juan Island. But when her hippie mother, Willow, comes to stay with her, Rai finds herself stretched between the Rachel she calls herself now and the Rainbow her mother thinks her to be. Besides, it hardly seems fair that Willow adjusts so easily to island life, while Rai still navigates the narrow straits of dating on a small island.
BENECIA'S MIRROR (ISLAND WOMEN, BOOK 3). Susan Jarvin could hardly be more surprised when her elegant musician mother, Benecia, accepts her invitation to visit Washington's San Juan Island. But more surprises are in store, as Benecia shows a new, strong interest in Susan's young son, and then starts dating his diving instructor, a man more than a decade her junior. It's all a bit much to cope with, on top of dealing with an ex-husband that Susan never quite stopped loving.
A CHAMBERED NAUTILUS. When Nita inherits her childhood home in New Orleans, she finds the house occupied by ghosts of her past, playing out scenes of the life she fled forty years ago. What are they trying to tell her? Will they ever leave her in peace? And are they really spirits, or only visions, emerging from sealed-off depths of memory as from the shell of a chambered nautilus?
FLIGHT. Linda Farley of San Diego is now living as Lainie Foster with her mother and brother in Olympia, Washington, under rules she's been given for being in the Witness Protection Program. But questions confront her at every turn. How could her loving father get involved in a Mafia money laundering scheme? Why is her mother so familiar with their new city? And who is that dark-haired woman she keeps spotting in front of the house?
SKEETER: A CAT TALE. When a stray kitten romps into Lynne's life, she has no idea what she's getting into. As Lynne describes in letters to her friend Angie, Skeeter is all cat -- high-spirited, contrary, inventive, and so goofy that he reminds Lynne of her own nuttiest escapades. No one who meets Skeeter will ever be quite the same again.