While there are many things we should all be thankful for, I, myself was thankful for one little stroke of luck on Thanksgiving afternoon.
I was able to keep our cat away from the turkey.
To understand why I was thankful for such a strange, and seemingly simplistic matter, you have to understand the psyche of the male cat we have in our house.
Like all cats he thinks he owns the place. Cats are very different from other animals. My dogs always act like visitors. They run when I yell at them and always seem to have looks on their faces like they are on the verge of being thrown out of the house.
As for my son's Iguana, which he has had only two weeks, I can't tell about him yet. He has seemed rather stoic about the whole idea of living a new place. Some carrots, lettuce and water, and he seems okay. Somebody asked me what we would do if he ever got out and I said "Look for him I guess."
But my male cat, he rules the house. When it's time to feed the dogs, he pushes them out of the way to get to the food bowl and eats the food they are suppposed to be devouring. Then he later gets fed himself, but keeps all other creatures away. When the dogs have a toy he wants, he takes it away. If they are sleeping somewhere he wants to sleep, he bugs them until they leave, or he bugs me until I make them leave. I could understand the dogs fear of him if he had claws, but he doesn't. He's like one of those old, ugly, fat politicians who has been reelected for 42 terms to congress. When you see that type of person on television it's hard to figure out how they ever got elected in the first place and how they were able to build the power base they have to do almost anything they want without repercussions. I guess it's a matter of control over a long period of time. My cat has that same quality.
When I look into my cats eyes, there is no emotion there. I look into my dogs eyes and they always smile at me, even if I am berating them for chewing on a CD or carrying around one of my shoes. When they are guilty about something, they act and look the part. But my cat could be the best poker player in Las Vegas. He's has the same expression, rain or shine, hot or cold, in trouble or not. He is the perpetual bluffer.
So it's Thursday afternoon about 3 p.m. and dinner is scheduled an hour later. Since we are coming close to empty nesting it these days, we found ourselves not wanting to just share our dinner with each other and the animals, so we invited a few people who didn't have anywhere else to go to come over. Two of them, however, being international college students, didn't have a way to get to our place so my wife had to go pick them up.
"The cats are out of their room (yes the cats have their own room at my house, which shows the weak political power of the dogs who have to share space with us)," said my wife before she left. "The turkey is on top iof the stove so don't let them get into it while I'm gone. And stir the potatoes when they start to boil."
At the time I was in the middle of trying to start a fire in the fireplace in our living room.
"But I'm in here trying to start fire and you know I don't like to leave it before it gets going," I said. "Let's put them away."
"You put them away, I'm late," she yelled as she went out the door.
However, despite the allure of food that I use to get them into their room, it is sometimes harder to "put them away" than one would think. Unlike the dogs, which come when you call them no matter what the reason, my male cat likes to hold back until he sees if you are trying to fool him. And I am not good at fooling anyone much less this wiley creature.
As the fire started to flare, I ran into the kitchen. There sat my cat looking up at the stove where the 22 lbs. of luscious bird sat. His eyes were big, so big the turkey reflected in them. He looked at that turkey much like I look at a '69 Shelby Mustang, something I would like to have but never will. However the glimmer of overextending himself was there in those never blinking eyes. I could tell he was willing to risk his entire future for just a few minutes of pleasure.
"Get away from there," I said as I walked toward him menacingly. He didn't run; instead he came over and rubbed against my legs, trying to disarm me with tenderness. I looked down at him with contempt. "I know what you are thinking, but it's time to be locked up."
As I bent down to pick him up, I heard a crack from the fire in the other room. I had not put the screen in front of the hearth in my haste to protect the turkey so I ran into the living room to see if a log had rolled out of the blaze and onto the carpet. The living room wasn't on fire, it was just some popping wood. I hurriedly ran in and put the screen in place and then scurried back to the kitchen.
The cat had leaped up on the counter and looked poised to tear through the cooking bag that still surrounded the fowl within. My life passed before my eyes. I would be the dead meat if the cat got into that delectable bird. I clapped my hands and yelled some obscenity at him. He must not have seen me coming because I startled him so much that he jumped straight up banging his head on the kitchen cupboard and then in midair darted toward the hall. I chased him into his room and shut the door.
Just then I heard the back door open and it was my wife with a guest. I ran to the stove to stir potatoes that I had been instructed to watch and had completely forgot about during the cat debacle. My wife looked at me.
"You managed I see," she said.
"Yes I managed just fine," I said putting on an air of nothing-at-all was wrong..
Little did she know that if things had been just a little different, I would have been the turkey of the day.