I don't know how it is at your house, but mine seems to emit vibes of welcome to every critter desperate for attention. I get "em all. The proud and profane. The pompous and poisonous. Even the neighbors" beasts hang–out at my house. No matter where I move, it's always the same.
These clever little devils network beautifully. I haven't been able to find their billboards, but I know some must exist. "Mother Cupboard's Critter Resort — Long & Short–term Packages Available — Daycare Options — Cheap Rates — Satisfaction Guaranteed" is definitely advertised, quite blatantly, in some form. I've decided they must use billboards or directional signs, instead of brochures. I'm not stupid. I haven't seen little cameras around their necks, so the brochure method is not possible.
Cats are the creme de la creme of my resortees. They expect — nay, demand — comfort and social director amenities. They love to cha–cha amidst patio flora and exercise equipment. They hunt and stalk in the nature preserve provided by the lawn and trees. They are especially intrigued by the dense forest of bamboo. I refuse to prepare their catch of the day. (How can they possibly think I'll cooperate with their brutality towards other guests?) Their guilt is short–lived as they stretch and groom in preparation for nap time. I hold the cats solely responsible for the death of our celebrity guest. Poor, young, naive armadillo could not save himself from those Persian pussies.
Neighborhood dogs drop by for refreshments and social activities. They are not impressed with the cats. The cats, of course, don't mind this small faux pas.
A riffraff element does occasionally plague my pet paradise when snakes slither in, or pesky insects appear. A quick spraying, and trophy–gathering sorties by the cats generally solves the problem. (I do not bronze the trophies.)
Possums, squirrels, bunnies, and birds are not demanding guests. But the lizards frequently raise my blood pressure. These gentle Jurassic insist on becoming part of the human household. They are fascinated by pillows — especially mine. A head–full of jumbo curlers can turn into an impromptu jungle–gym, when I fail to thoroughly check the folds of the pillow and linens. Eviction, via coffee can, to the resort's strict perimeter is not their favorite form of exercise — or mine. But I applaud their persistence and ingenuity when they cling to the patio doors" screens, and dare me into a duel of wills.
The biggest challenge in critter resort management came recently with the shocking, early morning arrival of an old goat. (No, not that kind of ‘old goat".) I was stunned. Hubby was in stitches. Old ‘nanny" was huge, and sported an impressive goatee. This was madness! I don't stock goat chow, you know, and the lawn did not need a trim. Besides, how"re ya gonna keep "em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?!
I flooded the phone lines, begging for help. Everyone laughed , or thought I was hallucinating. Some had the nerve to suggest cabrito. Happily, our wayward goat left on his own. I later learned he appeared somewhere else, and that the Sheriff's Department was assigned the case.
So you see, resort living isn't all fun and games. If an elephant shows up, I'm definitely moving to a high–rise apartment!
© 1999, Maureen Jackson–Fusco
About the author: Maureen's life began, naturally, as a baby...in Jersey City, New Jersey. Marriage, motherhood, and migration to Texas ensued.
Her professional life has included administrative, secretarial, advertising, newspaper, and vocal work. Putting words into other peoples" mouths has always played a large role.
As a writer her finest credentials are observation, experience, and the desire to be able to communicate at many levels. Maureen ranks her stint as a food columnist for a small weekly in San Antonio, Texas as the best gig she has yet to play.
Maureen is now dedicated to freelance writing. Self–syndication of a new food column called "Mother Cupboard's Comfort Kitchen" is her uppermost goal. Patterned after her previous column, this latest venture combines stories of heart, humor, truth, and dastardly deception with recipes designed to please the palate, rather than the physician.
"The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where we nourish both the body and the soul. So connecting food with the bits and pieces of life's fun, fantasy, and nostalgia is an obvious fact of our existence." This said, Maureen is ultimately hoping to create a cookbook, which will feed the mind, soul and spirit as well as the flesh.
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