Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chuck Lies In Wait for Santa

“T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house . . .”

I made a big mistake in reading Chuck that poem.

When he heard the tale of how Santa makes the rounds of houses and doles out goodies to good little boys and girls and CATS, of course, he became determined to wait, under our Christmas tree, for Santa’s arrival. Convinced that Santa’s gift to him was going to be, well, STUPENDOUS.

After all, wasn’t he the most wonderful cat in the whole wide world?

I hated to break Chuckie’s bubble, as they say.

I hated to tell the Chuckster the truth that Santa and giving gifts was more of an idea--a fantasy--a symbol of how we should all be generous--not just during the holiday season but all the time. Well, you get the picture.

Frankly, for as smart as Chuck is, I couldn’t quite believe that he believed that some guy would be stuffing himself down our chimney and delivering gifts on Christmas Eve.

Well, Chuck, of course, didn’t believe that part. He had already seen through that ruse and realized that Santa started out from the North Pole on December 1. After all, the whole wide world is a big place and those reindeer can travel only so far on any given evening.

So, imagine my Chuck, with Ella--his twin sister by his side--snuggled under the Christmas tree, night after night, waiting for Santa to arrive. Imagine him waiting in breathless anticipation for the man in the red suit with the long white beard.

“What are we going to do?” I asked my husband, confident that Santa wasn’t going to arrive on schedule, as the belly boy believed.

“Tell him the truth.”

“I can’t do that.”

“He’s going to find out sooner or later.”

Was there some way to avoid the inevitable?

I decided to have a heart to heart with Chuckie. I took him upstairs to my writing room. He often sits on my lap while I’m working.

“Chuck, the holiday season isn’t all about presents. It’s about being thankful for what you already have.”

The kid eyed me suspiciously.

“For example, when you were born, you were homeless. But you were lucky to find a home with us. You and Ella. And your two brothers were also adopted. And now you live in a nice house and . . .”

The squirming started. When Chuck is bored, he begins to squirm. Big time.

I decided to try another tact, realizing there was no way that I could tell the truth about Santa or the lack of his physical existence in this modern world.

“The truth is, Chuck, you will never see Santa. He only arrives when you are fast asleep. I’ve known kids to try to stay awake, but they can’t.”

He jumped off my lap then and scooted down the stairs.

I followed.

There he sat vigil underneath the Christmas tree.

“Chuck, that’s what I call being too stubborn for your own darned good--”

“Leave him alone,” my husband said. “Maybe Santa is coming after all.”

I shot my husband one of my famous looks of exasperation.

My Chuckie wanted to meet Santa. See Santa with his own two eyes. How the heck was I going to arrange that?

Years ago one of my brothers dressed up as Santa, but there was no way he was sliding down our chimney. And not for a cat!

I did not want to see the kid disappointed.

Talk about pressure.

“Well, you have one week to come up with a fake Santa that will fool your cat. One week. One week before Chuck learns there is no Santa . . .”


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