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Its Time For Mr. Stripey Pants To Come For A Visit!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s Time For Mr. Stripey Pants To Come In For A Visit!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Right after I did the piece on postcards and letter writing, this arrived for Mr. Stripey Pants — a personal note from Dick Van Dyke himself (did you know Mr. Van Dyke was born in Missouri?). I remember Dick Van Dyke most for The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Poppins, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But why is he writing to Mr. Stripey Pants?

Well, it’s time for Pants to go in for his Senior Exam. It’s true what Mary Poppins says — a spoonful of sugar really does helps the medicine go down. But Pants doesn’t mind the vet. It’s Chaco who gets freaked out.

Anyway, as Mr. Stripey Pants prepares for the fall elections, we’ll be taking him in for his Senior Exam. He’ll be 11 years old in November. And when cats start to age, it’s more important than ever to catch things early.

But what about this mail thing? Pets are becoming so important in our electronic (and increasingly isolated) day-to-day lives, that we’re receiving slick, 4-color magazines as appointment reminders from veterinarians. But is it really right that Mr. Stripey Pants receives more personal mail than I do?




Mr. Stripey Pants Goes Postal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mr. Stripey Pants Goes Postal, Pants preparing to read his mail from Dick Van Dyke, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



      Pants Paw-ses To Read His Mail, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Stripey Pants Snuggles Up To Dick Van Dyke, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Its Time For Mr. Stripey Pants To Come In For A Visit!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, September 7th, 2008

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I don’t remember the last time I felt this scattered. I don’t remember what time I went to bed last night. I don’t remember the color of the frosting on the last birthday cake someone presented to me. I think it was an ice cream cake. No, that was the one I gave Liz for her last birthday earlier this year. We spooned it up into Tupperware sized chunks and stacked the containers in the freezer. Once in a while, she’d take one of the delectables out of the freezer and munch away in front of the TV. I was delighted that a birthday cake could last that long. I recommend ice cream birthday cakes.

I don’t remember the alarm going off yesterday or any of the 3 cats stirring in the night. I do remember Chaco bolting across my head to get to the prime night view out the bedroom window near the corner. The cats like to stare out the back windows. There is a tan rabbit who lives in a burrow there. We saw her sunning herself last summer, stretched out near a pile of weathered boards and brush, just like the cats would stretch out. She was licking herself. We named her Tawny. Even though she is wild.

Yesterday we got a letter in the mail from the new vet where we took Mr. Stripeypants last week. He had a urinary infection and at 9 years old, we decided to give him the Senior Package physical. He was scared. But I couldn’t believe how good he was when we were in the waiting room with a large Golden Lab, longhaired Persian, and that vicious little Min-Pin.

The letter, I was struck by it. We laughed our heads off. It was addressed to Liz and Mr. Stripeypants in the Dear section. What section is that, the opening or salutation? The bones of a letter. Hmmmm. Anyway, the rest of the letter was full of references to Mr. Stripeypants. We read it out loud to him and kept laughing about it all night. They said we got the best prize for the best name.

Liz got a ribbing at her office the other day when she was making the vet appointment. When the vet assistant asked her the name of her cat, she slowly spelling out, Mr. S-t-r-i-p-e-y-p-a-n-t-s. Her office mates teased her about it the rest of the day. So now in the morning, we get up and say very slowly, Mr. Stripeyp-a-n-t-s. But we call him – well, we call him Pants.

I don’t know why I’m writng about Pants. He’s an adorable cat and a source of joy for me on a daily basis. I don’t remember the last time I bonded to a pet like that. I had a 13 year old cat named Sasha. She died shortly after I moved into my apartment in 1992. I was still in art school.  And fresh out of a long, long relationship. It was very sad for me. And I was already depressed.

The vet let me take Sasha’s body home with me so I could bury her where I wanted. I sat with her for a while there on a yellow terry cloth towel and cried my eyes out. Later, I would go north with my ex-partner to bury Sasha on the cabin lot at the shore of Deer Lake in Wisconsin.

I don’t remember the last time I wrote about that. You never know what’s going to come out in a practice.


Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
 

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