Thursday, July 7, 2011

Feline Fourth Festivities

Helloooo friends! Welcome to another action packed edition of Josie Tales. I hope you had a fun and colorful 4th of July! I know I did! Well, I’m not going to keep you in suspense – let me get right to my story!
Mom and Dad announced that they were heading out of town for the 4th of July. It may be a national holiday, but to them it’s more importantly their wedding anniversary – Dad said he wanted to lose his independence on Independence Day…Dad is very funny. Since my brother was working all day on the 4th, I was going to be left to my own devices, which meant I had to start making plans. I could go out of town myself to visit some friends, or perhaps invite some friends here to attend some events with me. When I turned to head out to the deck to relax and plan my holiday, I saw a pathetic little kitten face staring in the door. It was Squeakers/Ginger/Hey You, who had taken up residence on our deck. I would hate to leave her alone on her first holiday. Besides, she needed to learn about things that matter to humans, so that when she is finally adopted she will fit in easily with her new family. She needed someone smart and savvy to teach her about the world. That sounded like a job for me. That settled it - I would spend my holiday with Squeakers/Ginger/Hey You.
After I bid adieu to my parents, I headed to my storage room to get supplies for the day. I sorted through my vast collection of hats and picked out some for S/G/H and I to wear. The first event on our agenda was the downtown parade. We needed a ride to the parade so I sent S/G/H to ask my brother if he could help us out. Who could resist that insanely adorable kitten face? Not my brother! He gave us a ride to a location right near where the parade was going to pass.
The loud noise of the marching bands scared S/G/H at first, and she hid behind me. She slowly became braver and braver and eventually she was marching in place and waving her little American flag.

S/G/H had such a great time, she thought that was the end of the holiday. Little did she know there was so much more to do! Now that I had her interest stirred, I took the opportunity to explain the history of the holiday on the drive home.
I told S/G/H that the 4th of July celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. She asked from what we had needed independence. I told her that our forefathers sought to break from England and start their own country. S/G/H looked puzzled. She told me she has watched BBC America through the back door, and the British seem so smart and funny – why would we want to break away from them? I tried to explain to her about unfair taxes and restrictions that the British were imposing on the colonists, but she seemed horrified to think that we had been unkind to the British. I told her we were all friends now, so it turned out okay. I reminded her of the BBC America Top Gear episodes where they came to the United States. They wouldn’t have come here if they didn’t like us. That seemed to placate her and she decided our independence was worth continuing to celebrate.
When we arrived home it was time for our next activity. I told S/G/H that a popular meal on the 4th was hamburgers and hot dogs. While those foods are tasty, we were going to have something more feline oriented. I pulled out the chef’s hats and we got to work. S/G/H liked being my assistant chef as we grilled up some beautiful tuna steaks. Since it wasn’t traditional food, I put little American flags in them to make them more 4th of July-ish.

When the steaks had those beautiful grill marks on them, we took them off and chowed down! We had to be careful to remember to take the flags out of them or in our fit of hunger we might end up eating one! The steaks were delicious and we ended up eating them all!
We were so stuffed we could hardly move! S/G/H asked me what activity was going to be next. When I told her swimming she nearly jumped out of her skin with excitement! Our neighbors were leaving town for a few days and they had offered their pool to us to use whenever we wanted. I wanted S/G/H to get the full 4th experience so it seemed a no brainer that we would take a dip in the pool.
I had a swim cap to cover S/G/H’s delicate kitten ears and an inner tube in which she could paddle about the pool. She asked if we could swim now and I told her we needed to wait an hour after eating before swimming….with all we ate, maybe even 2 hours. S/G/H looked devastated. She asked me why in the world did we have to wait so long. It was hot now and a swim would be so refreshing.
Staring into those big kitten eyes, I could not for the life of me remember why. I excused myself to go inside with some dishes, and I made a mad dash to Mom’s laptop computer. I know I’m not supposed to use it when Mom’s not around, but this was an emergency. I tippy tapped as fast as I could to find the answer to S/G/H’s question. Aha! I got it!
I scurried back outside, though I made it a point to look cool, calm and collected as I stepped back out on the deck. S/G/H asked again about the one hour wait after eating. I was ready. You see my young friend, if you swim too soon after eating you will get a cramp in your leg and drown…or get a cramp in your stomach and drown…or the food will make you less buoyant and you’ll sink to the bottom of whatever you’re swimming in and drown. I was running out of reasons so I threw in one of my own. You will be too full and when you do a belly flop you’ll lose your lunch in the pool so everyone will have to get out….and you’ll drown.
S/G/H didn’t say another word. She just went to find a shady place to stretch out and take a nap. I used the time to clean up and rest a bit. After an hour I awoke my young friend and we headed excitedly over to the pool.
I put little S/G/H into the inner tube and gave her a gentle push. She paddled as fast as she could all over the pool. She liked making little waves that made her bob up and down. I asked her if she liked waves and she exclaimed “Yes!” I decided I would help her make some waves!
I climbed up on the neighbor’s deck and walked all the way back to the house. I ran as fast as I could and just before I reached the edge of the pool I jumped so I would go right over S/G/H as I yelled Caaaaaannooooooonbaaaaaaaaallllll!

I hit the water and made a huge splash. S/G/H giggled as she wiped the water out of her eyes while she bobbed up and down on the big waves I had created for her. “Again! Again!” she squeaked. No one needs to twist my arm to make me do cannonballs. I cannonballed again and again and again. Finally, I had to stop as it was getting late and there were other activities in which we needed to participate! I had to practically drag S/G/H out of the pool to dry her off so we could get on with the festivities.
My parents don’t let us fire off the loud, popping, dangerous fireworks, but we are allowed to use sparklers. Mom had left us a few boxes to play with and I thought it was a good, typical, 4th of July-only sort of activity that S/G/H should experience. I lit the sparkler with Dad’s lighter and it took a moment before it sparked up, making S/G/H jump back. Her eyes were huge and her mouth hung open as she stared at the light dancing in my hand!

When the first one burned all the way down, I lit another. When that burned down, I lit another. S/G/H just continued to stare in amazement. I finally asked her if she would like to hold one. She hesitated, but didn’t want to disappoint me, so she took the sparkler. She cringed as I lit it, but seemed delighted when it started.

She just stared and grinned as I lit one after another. It’s a good thing that we didn’t have more boxes or I would have spent the rest of the night lighting sparklers for S/G/H!
There was one more very important event that S/G/H had to experience. The beauty and wonder of a fireworks show. We live near Ft. Bragg, so we can see the magnificent display they fire off every 4th. We had to wait until it was dark enough for the show to start so we hung out on the porch keeping a close watch on the sky.
Suddenly, Malcolm appeared out of no where. He popped up over the side of the railing and grabbed my Dad’s lighter and lit a little red, what looked like a piece of paper. When it caught on fire he threw it on the deck and it exploded making the most awfully loud sound. S/G/H and I jumped back in surprise.

Poor little S/G/H started to cry. I scooped her up and hugged her as I gave Malcolm a very stern talking to. I think he was mad that we didn’t save him any tuna steaks. He probably saw us grilling and was hoping to get a free meal. I told him that he was very mean scaring a poor little kitten like that and he needed to apologize. He patted S/G/H on the head and mumbled something that could have been an apology before he and his firecrackers went slinking out of the yard.
I took S/G/H inside for some milk and managed to calm her down. Soon we saw flashes of light outside the window and we rushed out on to the deck as a bright burst of red light exploded in the sky. Ooooooooooh! We both said. I saw someone coming up the deck steps and prayed it wasn’t Malcolm again. It wasn’t. It was dear Steve. We invited him to watch the fireworks display with us and we all settled down on the railing.

We oooohed and aaaaahed through the whole show. We were disappointed when it was over, but it had been a lot of fun. I looked over at Squeakers/Ginger/Hey You and she was fighting to keep her eyes open. Such a busy day for such a little kitten. We said goodnight to Steve and I carried Squeaker/Ginger/Hey You to one of the deck chairs and laid her down gently. I believe she was asleep before she hit the chair!
I found myself yawning, so I headed inside to bed. Tristan arrived home from work in time for me to tell him about the fun that was had by all. He was sorry he missed it. He tucked me into bed and said goodnight.
What a nice day Squeakers/Ginger/Hey You and I had. It’s fun to watch someone experience things for the first time! Aaah, I remember the days when everything was new to me. I hope I taught her a thing or two that will help make her a well rounded cat!
That’s all for this week. Have a great week and I’ll see you again next Friday!

Love & kitty kisses,

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