There is too much to write. The dry island of writer’s block is now overrun by the volcanic eruption, the rivulets of lava, like details on the page, pour across the canvas fighting for their own purchase . Where do I even begin?
Saturday was the big day. Between five people, we filled 70 boxes with belongings, shredded 60 pounds of decades-old documents, moved furniture out of the house into two piles–keeping or not–rearranging the rest on both floors of the house. It was an emotional day for everyone as we uncovered memory after memory: old letters from my siblings and me, and their kids, all written as small children or young adults; cards full of the kind words from old friends; art projects from elementary school; my parent’s wedding album; Dad’s chemistry textbook, and his precisely-written notebook, a complete analogue with perfect manuscript, documenting his high school classes; it’s eerily similar to his final resume, a bound book chronicling the successes over his career; baby clothes that were either my mother’s or her parents, beautifully kept, but time disintegrating the fabric between our fingers nonetheless; speeding tickets and court appearances of my Dad’s, never mentioned, the fact he had a lead foot discovered sixteen years later by his youngest daughter; model train magazines from the 50’s; my grandmother’s set of Windsor tea cups, long forgotten in the back of the cupboard, carefully wrapped for their imminent journey to their new home in DC. The list of treasures discovered is immense.
It was fun to discover an essay I wrote in college, although, I question whether my writing was better then. The sentences were written in a simple and straightforward sequence, a true moniker of how unaffected, how unfettered, my life was back then. I thought I would share one of these old stories. This one is from my sophomore year of college.
This is dedicated to K.T.
A Turkey In Charge
For someone who never had a cat before, this was quite an experience. It happened two years ago, when on Thanksgiving Day, I was given a little tiny fur ball that could fir in one hand. Turkey, as she was appropriately named, was a longhaired white kitten with chestnut and grey calico spots and blue eyes. At first, Turkey would sleep constantly. I attributed this to her small size, because after she put on a little weight, she became Turkey the Terrorist.
First, it would begin by her climbing up the leg of your jeans to your shoulder. She could do it so fast, that you almost couldn’t stop her. I thought this was real cute, until she tried to do it when I had shorts on. But those she most terrorised were Barney and Autumn. They were the dogs that belonged to my roomate. Barney was a Peek-A-Poo, older, cranky, and set in his ways. We called him Barney the Bohemian Peek-N-Snort because of all the lovely noises he liked to make. Autumn was a middle aged Cocker Spaniel that would pee at the dop of a hat.
Barney didn’t like this newcomer in his house. He used to wait for her to come out of my room, so he could chase her. Turkey didn’t mind though. In fact, she thought this was great fun. She would peer around my bedroom door, and then make a run for the couch in the den. Barney would be right behind her, running as fast as his short little legs would go. He would run so fast, his belly looked like it was touching the ground. Turkey would run under the couch to safety, but this did not last long. Eventually you would see a little white paw sticking out from under the couch, usually swaying at Barney to get his attention. Barney would get so mad that he would run up and down the couch, crouching to try and see her. Sometimes Turkey would climb up the back of the couch and sit and watch Barney as he ran back and forth wimpering to get to her. She would then make her position known, and really irritate Barney. Barney once tried to climb under the couch to get to her, but he got stuck midway. Only his back legs were sticking out like frog legs trying to get himself out from under the couch. My roommate and I left him like that for a few seconds, partly because we were doubled over laughing, and also to teach him a lesson. We had to lift the couch to get him out. Needless to say, he never tried to crawl under it again.
Turkey really liked to antagonise Barney, probably because he was infatuated with her. One time she decided to sleep in his food bowl. She curled herself up all nice and cozy, and went to sleep. At first she went unnoticed, but then Barney saw her. He walked over, and looked at her, and then he started to circle around her, growling. Then he began to bark nonstop. Turkey never moved. She didn’t care. I think she did it just to irritate him.
Autumn really liked turkey. I think Autumn though she was her puppy. She would just lick Turkey until she was sopping wet. Turkey thought this was great fun, because then she would jump on Autumn’s head and attack her. Turkey loved to play with Autumn’s huge ears. All three actually got along well. When nobody was around, they would all three sleep together. As soon as Barney noticed you were there, he would jump up and chase Turkey away. He liked her, he just didn’t want to admit it.
Since we lived over a horse barn, Turkey would spend most days outside finding lots to do. She would scamper through the barn attacking horse blankets that were hanging up or anything else that looked good. If there was a horse in the aisle way, it had to be careful not to swish its tail in fear that turkey might attach herself to it. She did like to swing from the horses’ tails. She had no idea that she was suppose to be scared of them. She would really antagonise the horses when she would hide in their hay in their stalls. A horse could be munching away, when you would see Turkey get down in her pouncing position. With her eyes set on the horse, she would pounce out from under the hay, attacking the horse’s face. Most horses would just pin their ears and look disgusted. One day, when it was really cold outside, I was walking down the aisle way, when I noticed a little white furball all cuddled up on one of the horse’s backs. She was just a happy camper, all warm and cozy. The horse never felt her.
Turkey spent most of her days entertaining herself in these ways, but like all good things, everything must come to an end. College would be starting for me in the fall, so I had to take turkey back to Texas to get acquainted with her new living conditions, and my parents, who would be taking care of her. I wasn’t sure how Turkey was going to take to the domestic life. After all, she wouldn’t have any horses to amuse her. She would have our dog, Bonnie, to keep her company, but Bonnie didn’t like to play with cats.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Turkey adjusted just fine. She would harass Bonnie by grabbing her leg as she waked by but Bonnie didn’t pay any attention. There were also small lizzards to be caught in Texas. Turkey substituted these for the barn mice. Turkey fir right in, and started to takeover the household. She instantly became my dad’s alarm clock by sitting on his face when it was time to get up. Turkey learned Bonnie’s tricot get someone to let her inside. She would sit at the kitchen window, that went almost to the ground, looking in at everyone who would be eating breakfast at the table. If this didn’t get your attention, then she would start climbing up the screen. As soon as you got up to go to open the door, Turkey would run around to seet you, just like the dog,
Now every time I call home, I have to listen to cute turkey stories from both my parents. It never fails. After fifteen minutes of “Turkey this” and “Turkey that”, then its “Oh, by the way, how are you doing?”. There really is a Turkey in charge.