Archive for the Critter Tails Category

Snake Oil Saleswoman?

Posted in Call Me The Seeker, Critter Tails, Everday Living, Munchable Memories, Soul Food Cafe Fun, Stuff And Nonsense with tags , , , on 29/06/2010 by gwenguin1


Snake Oil


comes from the 19th-century American practice of selling cure-all elixirs in traveling medicine shows. Snake oil salesmen would falsely claim that the potions would cure any ailments. now-a-days it refers to fake products.

“why did you buy that snake oil? it does absolutely nothing!”


Medicine or therapy that doesn’t work.

Most of the stuff sold at health food stores are snake oil products.


any dubious or fraudulent remedy or cure (The route of the fraud the word is derived from resulted from a misunderstanding of a traditional Chinese joint and muscle painkiller derived from the skin of the Chinese water snake)

That snake oil is so obvious. When will people learn?

con faker snake-oil snake oil salesman snakeoil

A woman that likes to cause mischief and sexual deviance

Stay away from her, shes a real snake oil girl

jezebel jade trollop vamp wench




Steve Earle Snake Oil Lyrics

Ladies and gentlemen, attention please
Come in close so everyone can see
I got a tale to tell
A listen don’t cost a dime
And if you believe that we’re gonna get along just fine

Now I’ve been travelin’ all around
I heard trouble’s come to your town
Well I’ve got a little somethin’
Guaranteed to ease your mind
It’s call Snake Oil y’all
It’s been around for a long, long time

Say, your crops’ll burn if it don’t rain soon
Ain’t seen a drop since the tenth of June
Well I can open up the sky
People never fear
If you ain’t impressed yet, just tell me what you wanna hear

Well you lost your farm so you moved to town
You get a job, they shut the factory down
Now you sit around all day long feelin’ sad and blue
You need Snake Oil y’all, tell you what I’m gonna do

I can heal the sick, I can mend the lame
And the blind shall see again, it’s all the same

Well ain’t your President good to you
Knocked ’em dead in Libya, Grenada too
Now he’s taking his show a little further down the line
Well, ‘tween me and him people, you’re gonna get along just fine


Those of you that have known me for more than a few month know my abiding interest in ‘Alternative Medicine’ .  My family has come to love and accept that part of me, so much so, that they will choose my herbals over prescription medications for pain relief.  My brother Matt, has taken to calling my Bay Leaf Massage Oil ‘Snake Oil’.  Bay Leaf Oil is good for so much more than sore muscles, it kicks migraines right out of my head, soothes allergies, and you can use it (from a seperate bottle of course) to braise a beef roast before popping it in the Crock=Pot to simmer all day.

Both my Mum and brother Matt ask for that oil frequently, and when I say I can make them up a small bottle to use when they need it, they both say, “It only works when you do it!”

I also keep a tiny spray bottle of Bay Leaf oil handy for our cats, I use that instead of a poison treatment for ear mites.  It washes all of the ear mites out of their ears, and it isn’t dangerous to the cats’ health, in fact, it helps them pass hairballs easily.

Another way to use the bay leaf oil is to soak it into the wood of cupboards and drawers, bay leaf oil is an amazing insect repellant, and is safe for food, kids and pets.

 Mum, in particular, appreciates it enough to spring for the oil and herbs to make my different oils.  She especially appreciates the Sage Oil I make for her psoriasis, and the Arthritis Oil of Bay Leaf and Chillie Peppers.


The marvellous thing about these herbals is how easy they are to make and use.  All you do is take a quart bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, add 12-18 large Bay Leaves (Laurus nobilis), and sit the jar or bottle on a sunny windowsill for 4-6 weeks.  Be sure to label the bottle without covering up the sides.  It is safest to use both the common and scientific name when labelling herbals; the common name may change from region to region, but the scientific name remains the same all over the world.



How The All-Mother Got Her Cloaks

Posted in Call Me The Seeker, Critter Tails, Hestia's Hearth, It's In The Cards, Soul Food Cafe Fun, Tarot Journey, You can do these! with tags , , , , , on 05/05/2010 by gwenguin1

How the All-Mother got Her Cloaks


All-Mother was always her happiest when she was with all of the lovely animals She and All-Father had created for our blue-and-green jewel in a far-flung arm of the Galaxy and Universe.  She would walk through the wilds and Her animals would put aside their daily lives and follow her in growing parade; where wolf and deer, bear, Cougar and sheep walked peaceably with small furry things, lizards, snakes, birds and frogs chatting as they scurried in the leaf-mould.

The larger birds all wished to perch on her shoulder in a friendly manner, but she had to remind them frequently to take care with their talons on her bare skin.  All of the animals knew that they could wound All-Mother without meaning to, despite being as careful as they could.

At night, All-Father and All-Mother rested beneath a blanket All-Mother had woven from bits of the animals’ shed fur that was caught on thorns.  She spun it in the evening, singing a wordless lullaby in time to her foot on the pedal of her spinning wheel.

One such night, while All-Father and Mother slumbered, the animals met deep in the forest.

 “All-Mother needs some protection, not just from our claws, but from the weather as well.  In deepest Winter I have watched Her shiver as She scattered food on the snow so we would not starve.”  Bear spoke in his slow, deep-thinking way.

 “What can we do?  Any of us would gladly give Her our skin, but She would not allow us to harm ourselves so.”  Wolf’s yellow eyes were sombre. 

“Some of our hides would do less than nothing for our Dear All-Mother!!”  Chipmunk’s busy little voice was barely audible.

“My hide would not protect our All-Mother from the cold.”  Snake’s words were sibilant and hypnotic. 

“Agreed, my skin will only repel water.”  Salamander ‘s words were mournful.  “That would not keep her warm at all.”

“No it would not work for warmth, but she would appreciate shelter from the rain.”  Owl spoke from his perch on a hollowed oak.  “Perhaps what we should do is this…” He laid out a plan all creatures thought was brilliant, and all agreed joyously to participate in.

Night after night, every animal in the wilds passed by Owl’s tree to contribute to the gifts for their All-Mother.  Every animal gave a piece of hide; each allowed their own choice of where the hide came from.  Almost unanimously the animals chose a place closest to their hearts to show how much they loved All-Mother and Father.

 Pride after pride of Lions strode to the secluded glade; those noble kings donated two kinds of hide.  The males shared their glorious manes, and the females shared their bellies, warm and golden. That is why to this day Mother Animals will have bare places on their bellies.

The Zebras all offered either white or black stripes, so that their stripes could be reproduced.  On the soft ground their hooves made no sound as the herds deposited their gifts

Bears all shared their shaggy hide, whether it be black, white or any colour in between, they took the hide from nearest their hearts, to show their love for All-Mother.

 The wee rodents also offered their hides; tiny bits could be added together to make a section of squirrel, or chipmunk.  There were also small pieces that fit a place too small for a large animals’ hide.

Other great cats, the leopard and cheetah, jaguar and tiger also gave of themselves happily for All-Mother’s comfort. 

 The wee housecats also gifted their fur, and stayed to encourage others when they came, as well as guard the glade from All-Mother during the day.  Their defence consisted of racing through the trees until they met up with All-Mother, and then they tripped her up ecstatic snugglings, silken head-butts and purred cries for attention.

Wolves, by the pack, or the Lone Wolves who forsook their solitary ways to give their coats to All-Mother, even the cubs added their baby fluff to the Wolves’ donation.

 Dogs trotted in with their tails wagging and tongues lolling, as happy as could be to be serving the All-Mother.  The ones with the greatest hearts remained to soothe the tender places left after the bit of hide was gifted.  They also set themselves to lead All-Mother astray from the glade; they would easily inveigle Her into a game of tug-of war or chase-the-stick

The horses trotted through, gifting from their long, graceful manes to trim the fronts of the cloaks, they studied the growing pile of gifts and nodded their heads approvingly.  They also offered to carry the hide from animals that could not travel on land.

 The seals, sea lions and Walruses gave their waterproof hides to go around the face of All-Mother to keep ice from forming.  Their barks of happiness could be heard in the faraway glade.

When the parts for the gifts were all together the insects took every little piece and cleaned off any mess on the skin, and then combed them with their legs.  When everything was perfect spiders took their turn, as did the silkworms.

 Slowly, four magnificent cloaks began to take shape; all of them held a small piece of every animals’ hides.  The spiders and silkworms sewed them together, with all of their eyes focussed on how prettily the pieces were fitted, and how the patterns and colours complemented one another.

Often the spiders and silkworms would stop to exclaim in delight at how well certain pieces of fur would match.  ‘Look here, how the mane of the lions looks with the coat of the panthers next to it’, or, ‘Doesn’t the red of Foxes’ coat look even more striking next to Zebras’ stripes.’

Two cloaks were all of fur, warm and comfortable; and would fit All-Father and All-Mother perfectly.  The second pair was of the skins of snakes and reptiles, and rubbed to a soft gloss with the oils donated by otters, beavers, and other water mammals.

The birds were unhappy about being unable to contribute to the cloaks, until Owl told them what they could do for All-Mother’s comfort and pleasure.  Bird after bird perched next to Owl and pulled soft down from nearest their hearts. 

The Spiders and Silkworms wove soft grasses, and then they were stuffed with the down to form a soft bed for All-Mother and All-Father.  There was enough of the soft grasses and down to make small cushions for them to rest their heads on as they slept.

Finally all of the gifts were ready.  The animals were all in a swivet awaiting All-Mother’s response to their generosity.  The next day as All Mother visited Her creations the animals began to slowly lead her in the direction of the cloaks.

 The flowers scattered petals on All-Mother’s path, as they always did, as the leaves on the trees danced for joy when All-Mother came their way.  She would pause to smell a flower here, and embrace a stout tree as She was led by the parade of animals closer to the Glade of Gifts as it became known.

The All-Mother entered the Glade and stopped with Her mouth open; from sturdy branches hung two cloaks in a patchwork of all of Her animals’ fur, more branches held the cloaks of reptile skins; before this was the soft cushions full of down.

“Oh!  My dear Creations, such love is in these gifts!”  She turned to the animals with tears in Her eyes, now She could see the small patches where they had donated their hides for Her comfort. Overflowing with love and reverence All-Mother healed all of the small patches, leaving them bare.

 And that my loves, is why all of the animals will have a bare patch somewhere on their body.  So now, when you see your animal’s bare spot you will know that the All-Father and All-Mother do exist and that they love us very much indeed.

 What has this to do with our Tarot Journey?  The High Priestess is the one that teaches us how to honour the All-Father and All-Mother in everything that we do.

Mysteries are not communicable

Save to those who know.

Steve and the Neighbours

Posted in Critter Tails, Everday Living, Family History, Misspent Youth, Photo Phun, Playin' with my PSP XI with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 09/03/2010 by gwenguin1


This post has two ‘prologues’:

The first is over 20 years ago, when we were living in mid-Mesa, AZ.  We had a trio of cats.  The first was Kliban, the result of a shameful mesalliance between a noble Siamese Queen and a charming rogue of an Alley Cat.  Kliban was a lovely light red and cream tabby cat, with the delicate face of a Siamese, oh, and the voice.  Well to be honest, he was all Siamese, except for the markings.  To anyone that didn’t know Kliban he was an utter terror, to the fortunate few who were accepted into Kliban’s ‘family’ he was utterly devoted, adoring, and protective. 

When our niece, Kryssi, was born we were concerned about how Kliban would react.  He stared for the longest time at the tiny, blanket-wrapped bundle before he moved close enough to smell.  He finally crept close enough to identify the bundle as a human kitten, and not just any kitten, one of ‘his’ human’s kittens!

From that moment on he was the human kitten’s knight-errant.  He defended, groomed, and listened to the baby, when he heard the hungry or dirty cries he would run in search of the nearest member of his family to take care of the baby.

At the same time, Kliban had a couple of cat buddies that lived with us, Boynton and Steve.  Boynton was a long-coated grey tabby that had appeared at the door one day, and moved in as soon as the door was opened.

Steve, like Kliban, belonged to a neighbour to start with, but he chose us over his first home.  Steve was a snow-white short-coated cat with slanted yellow eyes; he was also about half the size as a normal cat.  Boynton was normal-sized and Kliban, well Kliban weighed about 35 pounds (2 stone plus!).

Steve first met us when his human, Y____, brought him over when he visited, Steve found our home so relaxing that he would go home as a limp scrap of white fur, draped over Y___’s arm like a towel over the arm of a waiter in a fine restaurant.  Y___ would look down at his kitten and say, “Steve!  What will the neighbours think??”

The second one is much more recent, last Christmas as a matter of fact.  Mum was given a 2010 Kitten-A-Day Calendar, and she has torn the pages off one-by-one.  I found one of the pages on the floor and it looked like Steve, and was draped over a roll on a cat tree.  I picked it up, began to laugh, and ran for Matt’s room.

I was so excited that I dropped the picture facedown on the floor.  Matt was leery so I picked it up, got it set right, and proudly displayed it while chanting, “Steve!  What will the neighbours think??”

Matt was completely delighted, with it, so I scanned the pic, and started playing with it in PSP.

I added the mask below…


 So I then had this image to work with.


 At which time, I reduced the size of the image, and renamed the image.  I also added the words I wanted to be a part of the finished product.  I used the font ‘Magneto’ and matched the colours to the colours I had used for the backgrounds I wanted to use.


 I made my first background layer by opening a blank page in PSP, flood filling with the yellow from Steve’s eyes.  I then added another mask to the 1st background.



 For the base I used the background below:

The second layer was another blank image, this one was flood filled with a green from the background of the Steve image.

 I then added a third mask to the green layer.



 I resized it to fit the composition I had in mind.


 I then assembled all the images into the composition I wanted, the font provided some needed motion to what was otherwise a rather static image.


I resized the entire image to a more manageable size.


And what was the first name I added to the tag??

 The fully finished project.

Nursing Home Halloween

Posted in Critter Tails, Everday Living, Family History, Misspent Youth, Old Deep Roots, Reviews and Previews, Scaddy Kiddies, Stuff And Nonsense with tags , , , , on 31/10/2009 by gwenguin1

Once upon a time, not so long ago in my family’s history, my parents were already separated, and Mum was working three part-time jobs to support us. We already knew quite a few of the patients, we went there after school and played with the patients until Mum was finished with work and all four of us walked home together. 


Often we would stop at the house and get our silver-and-black Alsatian (German Shepherd), Tina and take her to the nursing home, where she would make the rounds, visiting with every patient that responded to her presence.  I still remember her sitting by the side of someone confined to a wheelchair and resting her head on their lap, they would beam and stroke her gently.


I think the supervisors turned a blind eye to our visits and our dog’s because the visits became something for the patients to look forward to.  When we would arrive in the dayroom, there would standing room only of the folks that came to called Grandma or Grandpa, play with ‘grandkids’, and pet the dog instead of sitting in their rooms waiting to pass over.


One of my personal favourites was Grandma Buddha, with her crown of silver braids that wrapped around her head twice, she would chatter blissfully away in Hungarian and I would sit next her nodding and smiling.


I learned my first word in Hungarian when our cat Toulouse followed us all the way to nursing home, and in as well.  Grandma Buddha took one look at Toulouse’s handsome steel blue and silvery white markings and his wide bright golden yellow eyes, and began calling, “Macska!”


Toulouse found visiting the nursing home to be delightful, He, too, like Tina, would go from patient to patient, and be petted and called by the names of cats long-since gone on to be rosebushes and memories.


Halloween came and we needed costumes for school, as well as for trick-or-treating.  We didn’t have the money to buy the costumes so Mum got creative. I was Holly Hobbie, replete with the bonnet that Holly wore, brim stiffened with a paper grocery bag.


My brother Matt became a small, slender Frankenstein, who wheezed his way through school and trick-or-treating, before going to the hospital to get injected with Adrenaline, and then Susferin, before he and I stayed up all night, watching spooky movies and laughing at them.


Jim had the costume of the year, at the nursing home, at school and trick-or-treating.  Mum had gone through the nursing home’s bedding, and torn the poorest of the sheets into strips, she used these to wrap Jim, who was clad in pink long johns, left over from the year he went as a baby.


When Mum finished wrapping Jim he started walking down the hall in the Nursing Home, known as “Bare-A## Manor”, one of our favourite patients, Leila, took one look at Jim and pointed a long, slender chocolate coloured finger at him while going, “Oohh!  Oohh!  Oohh!  Oohh!!!  Babybabybaby…” 


Jim went over close to our friend and Leila patted his wrappings and murmured wordless distress for almost five minutes before she lost interest, and began trying to free herself to wander the halls in the altogether.


The ABC’s of Halloween

Posted in Critter Tails, Everday Living, Family History, Misspent Youth, Stuff And Nonsense with tags , , , on 31/10/2009 by gwenguin1

A: Actions to suit the month, whether it be wearing costumes or watching your spooky favourites for the umpteenth time. ‘Tis time for buying some new horror films, stock up on munchies and soda, and settle in to scare yourself silly.

B: The Bean Sidhe, wailing her warning across the Emerald Isle and far beyond. Like all good legends she has cried across the planet, and people who have never been to Erin’s Green hills know her name.

C: Cats, especially black ones with eyes like steady flames, arching and hissing in the dark. Their lithe movements on silent paws, and delicate whiskers are full of the grace of a true predator

D: Darkness, darkness, surrounding you and hiding what could be after you. Oohh what shadows can become when you add just a little imagination to the mix!

E: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks, and plenty of them, the closer we get to Halloween night, the more there is. From horrible masks and stage blood to gauze-wrapped mummies, there is plenty to shriek at.

F: Fear, shivering along your nerve trunks and roiling slowly in your belly. Nibbling your fingernails and shakin’ in your shoes at the drive-in scary- still the best way to see a movie.

G: “…ghosties and ghoulies, and other horrors that we carry from our childhood and teen years. Every Town U.S.A.’s The Ghost of Mr. _____, The Killer on ________ Road, Ghostly Hitchhiker, and other urban legends to share with the next generation of locals.

H: Halloween, the night we all wait for, when we play at being something else, and blow off our diets for ‘just a couple days’. Will there be a full moon? Should the kids wear sweaters under their costumes? Maybe we should just throw a party here instead of trick-or-treating. When I was a kid-kid that was the awfullest of sacrileges!!

I: Ideas, the kind that get stuck in your brain and repeat mindlessly. Like… If you look at it this way doesn’t that grain pattern in the bathroom door look just like a werewolf stalking you? And there’s another one, and further up a third werewolf growing out of the wood!

J: Jack-O-Lantern, the iconic grinning pumpkin, hollowed out and carved to frighten away the restless, unhappy spirits. The first ones were hollowed turnips, and held a wee candle. Today you can buy pre-carved faux Jacks-O-Lanterns…. Ick.

K: Killers, psychotic and otherwise that have films released at this time of year. Michael Myers in Haddonfield (no relation to moi) is still going strong after 30 years. So is Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees, and there is always the killer du jour being touted at the theatre.

L: Little Green Men, exiting their spaceships with evil intent, and super-weapons to destroy us with. Whether it be Martians, the Pod People, Klingons, ET, the Drakkon or H. R. Giger’s sleekly deadly creature of Ridley Scott’s “Alien”, aliens can be counted upon to supply all sorts of interesting twists

M: Monsters!! Like the Mummy, Werewolf, and Count Dracula, creeping up to the newest ones. The classics didn’t scare me, I thought Dracula was the coolest, the Wolfman’s howl set my pulses racing, and to be a Mummy, surely it must be bliss to a Mummy.

N: Necromancy- the Black Art, and its practitioner, the Necromancer. There will always be the bad seed, how can we choose to serve the good if we don’t know what the bad is? Seeing the glimpses of a psychotic killer’s life would surely cure one of self-pity.

O: Overnight parties, piled into a bed with family and friends, scaring yourself silly with one horror film after another. There is always the one who will, if dared enough, go outside and make that scary noise from the show we wasn’t apposed’ta watch outside the girls’ bedroom window.

P: Popcorn Balls, wrapped loosely in plastic wrap, made by hand the day of the celebration. They are best fresh from the kitchen, hot and buttery, their scent finding every corner of your house.

Q: Queer ideas, that circle ‘round your brain a-widdershins, shadows in a private balefire of madness. I wonder if you could get rid of a body with pool acid? How nasty does oleander taste? I wonder if someone could really kill a person with fish filter charcoal?

R: Rotting corpses that are always left where the unsuspecting townspeople will be sure to find them. Not one of the victims in the ‘slasher’ movies is given a decent burial. Nope, they just hang around and decompose!

S: Scary Decorations-and Haunted Houses to shriek your way through. From Hospital X-rays’ bats made from old films, to the charmingly lopsided older child’s’ first pumpkin carving attempt.

T: Tombstones- old and new, bidding the dear departed to Rest In Peace, instead of haunting us. The neat rows of a new graveyard, with flat plaques on the ground look desolate, while the genteel, wandering grace of 19th century Cemeteries announce their place in the cycle of life proudly.

U: Undead, the drinkers of Blood, pointed of tooth and pallid of aspect. They stalk our sleeping hours away. Blessed with so many facets by their Dark Gift, and cursed to never see a sunrise or sunset.

Villains: Whether it be ‘Pinhead’, “Hannibal Lecter’ or the Blob, the villains are always lurking in the shadows. The bad guy lurks in our subconscious always ready to take over our rationality. W:

Werewolves, howling, and hunting their prey under a cold, uncaring full moon. You know them, the pack that lives in the wild places near your home. Have you ever felt the pull of their hunting song? Your soul has wanted to sing back to them, I can see it in your eyes.

 X: Extra-scary, the scenes in the movies where we jump and scream, then laugh shamefacedly; or worse, crawl into bed with Mum for security. That scene that sends your worst fears gibbering mindlessly your mind, yes… that one.

Y: Yelling, “Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat!” And then later, happily swapping candy with your siblings and friends. How many hours have been spent in happy arguments over the benefits of Mounds over Milky Way, or plain M&Ms versus Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

Z: Zombies- Groaning and lurching their way into your subconscious, hungry for living flesh, and brains. They are comical in a mindless, appetite-driven sort of way… I think….

Cannery Cat

Posted in Critter Tails, Everday Living, Scaddy Kiddies with tags , , , on 24/09/2009 by gwenguin1

You kids asked me why I insist on getting all my pets from the animal shelter? Let me tell you why:


She wasn’t a purebred cat, just a smallish white cat, with winter blue eyes and a sweet, soft trill for a mew. She appeared at the cannery at the beginning of third shift one Friday night as the rain poured down and the temperature dropped. One of the ladies in prep, Anne, smuggled her in, in her oversize purse, and the wee kit was adopted by third shift.


She filled out on a diet of trim from the meats canned, treats from the workers, and steadily increasing diet of unwanted rodents. She would appear as soon as second shift had all left, and disappear before first shift started arriving. As she hunted the entire cannery, she would stop at each station and accept the attention she knew was her due. She seemed to be happy with her life, and the humans that loved her dearly even the professed cat-haters warmed up to her.


She was so important to third shift that she was taken to the vet, spayed, and given all her shots as well as the microchip tag under her skin. She never grew big or bulky so she fit the name she answered to; ‘Miss Wisp’ made the lonely hours of third shift sunshiny and more than bearable.


The myth that third-shifters were a pack of insensitive loners was proven wrong by the tender care they showered on Wisp; that crock was started by those lazy lumpuses on first shift that left their work for second shift to finish, who then had no choice but to leave their work for third shift (without apologies or thank you’s).


Third shift had been finishing all of their work and part of second’s for years, without complaint, for one big reason- The Boss, he was a wise boss, he kept an eye on everything that went on with ‘his people’; he knew what first and second shift did to his night crew. He made a point to come in to work very early and help the night folks finish up, as well as bonuses for everyone on the roster. He made a point to thank everyone personally, and shake their hands while praising their tolerance and hard work.


If you had a boss like that wouldn’t you be willing to go the extra mile for ‘em? He met Wisp one night, and instead of telling third shift to get rid of her, he praised them for their love of God’s Creatures, and their foresight in adding a cat to hunt rodents to their crew. When he arrived early in the morning Wisp would greet him with silken head-butts, and a sweet flurry of delighted trills. She would then lead him to her pile of dead rodents; The Boss would then pet her and praise her effusively.


Well, time does what it does and passed. One morning The Boss didn’t come in, and by third shift everyone knew that he had died peacefully in his sleep. Not only had he been a well liked and respected boss, he was a true family man, and good neighbour, as well as being a philanthropist for the whole town.


On the day he was buried nearly every one in the whole town showed up at his funeral, and everyone had kind words to say. The students from the art camp he funded had painted a mural of his life for the library that bore his name. All of the musicians in town that he had funded their education and instruments played for him that day, and the testimonials went on for hours, with a lot of sniffling, and outright tears. No one noticed a dainty white cat watching from the distance, with downcast ears and half-lidded eyes.


When the cannery started back up, with a new boss, things began changing for the worse, quotas were upped to almost impossible levels, and all shifts were stripped to the bone. Third shift tried courageously to do all the work they were burdened with, and Wisp would pass the now-empty stations crying pitifully and searching for friends that would never return. Soon the ‘New Boss’ (the epithet was rife with anger and frustration now) hired men to ‘keep an eye’ on every shift and report directly back to him.


Third shift was cursed with a hulking, callous brute who found black amusement in catching people in embarrassing situations, and laughed when he caught animals and threw them into the steam cleaner. Wisp became painfully wary, and she slinked through the factory, eyes, nose, and ears always ready to catch the slightest hint of The New Boss. Her fur began to look bedraggled, and there were nights she didn’t appear at all. Those sweet blue eyes were filled with sorrow and fear when she did appear, and her voice was almost soundless, when she did speak.


Anne had smuggled her in, years ago, now she began to ask Wisp, “Sweet kitty-girl, would you like to come and live with me? You can stay inside where it is warm, and be safe for the rest of your life.” Everyone agreed that would be the best thing for their Wisp.


At last, the time was short, Anne was told she was to take early retirement, so she made a point to bring in a cat carrier, with warm, soft bedding and a tempting catnip toy in the back.


As Fate so often does, The Old Hag conspired against Wisp, and her salvation. Not only did the the Boss’ Snitch come in early, Wisp was delayed by a particularly sneaky rat, that she didn’t catch until it was almost time for the night crew to sign out.


As Wisp was racing across the floor with her trophy, she was yanked unceremoniously up by her scruff and swung in a dizzying circle. She wailed and struggled, but the Boss’ Snitch had her in a tight hold and refused to give up his toy. “Ah finally gotcha, ya worthless bag a fur!!” His coarse voice rose in delight.


He had known of the third shift cat for months, and had been trying to catch it since he had first seen it. Eyes glowing with soul-deep meanness he flung the cat onto the toothed conveyor to the steam cleaner.


As Wisp was dragged closer to the steam, impaled on steel teeth, and unable to free herself, the Boss’ Snitch laughed aloud. The crew heard Wisp’s cries and ran to the cleaner, in time to see her dragged into the steam chamber, and heard the despairing wails, they mercifully stopped quickly.


As Anne screamed in horror and ran to rescue the cat, although she knew it to be too late for Wisp, a deep low growl filled the cannery as the mist from the steam began to coalesce. Gradually the form of a gigantic white cat, with baleful eyes like embers of a funeral pyre bared teeth that were nearly four feet long.


Anne spoke to the giant Mist-Cat. “I tried to save her but I am too damn old to run fast…” A gentle brush of the Mist-Cat’s cheek, so like Wisp that the lady began to weep silenced her. The third shift handyman put a shaking arm around her waist, as he too, wept for one little white cat.


The Mist-Cat turned her attention to the Boss’ Snitch; she began to stalk him with intent motions. Before anyone could say or do anything, the Mist-Cat caught the Snitch by the back of his neck and shook him violently, before impaling him on the steam cleaner’s conveyor.


The entire third shift heard an imperious “get out” in their minds, and they felt/knew/understood that the warning was from the Mist-Cat. As they all fled the factory, they could hear steam valves screaming under increased pressure, and machines juddering apart.


Without knowing why, Anne took a moment to claim the cat carrier, now closed, as she ran for her car. Anne looked back, and saw the form of the gigantic cat pouncing the cannery to rubble. She started the car and sped towards home, praying aloud as she drove.


She put her car in park when she was in her driveway, and found she was shaking too badly to stand. She froze when she heard something moving in the back seat, and was sure she had gone mad when she heard a tiny mew, eerily like Wisp’s. She opened the back door, and gently removed the cat carrier, staring in wonder through the barred door.


There, sitting patiently was a tiny kitten, who could have been Wisp when she was still with her Momma Cat. Anne stared in wonder, as three more faces appeared from the shadows, all white, with light blue eyes, watching her with expectant faces.


“Welcome home babies!” The minute she opened the carrier door the four kittens tumbled out and surrounded her feet, mewing happily. Over the next hour, her three best friends from work all stopped by, and went home with one of the kittens, each of whom chose their person before they stepped through the door.


Across town, an eerie mist hovered over the remains of the cannery, eerily similar to a cat in shape, until the draggled remains of one tiny white cat were removed, and given a loving burial by the third shift crew.


Nowadays, there is no sign that the cannery ever existed; no business was ever built on those haunted grounds.


Today an animal shelter thrives there; “White Cat Animal Rescue” is a no-kill shelter that is well known for the gentleness and dedication of its volunteers. Anne and ‘Wispetta’ are the Grand Dames, loved by everyone who has ever come to them for help or to adopt an animal.

What I Am Grateful For

Posted in Bombazilla, Bookworm Tales, Critter Tails, Everday Living, Family History, Gwenerella, Misspent Youth, Munchable Memories, My Inspirations, My Soapboxes, Old Deep Roots, You can do these! with tags , , , , on 22/11/2008 by gwenguin1

I would be poor indeed if I did not list the things I am grateful for:

The 10 Things I am grateful for:
1) Hope
2) Loving and being loved
3) Friends
4) Family
5) Laughter
6) Pets of any kind
7) Music
8) Books
9) Colours
10) Faith