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, November 11, 2012

Chuck - The Biggest Fan of Mickey Mantle

Marsala, Sicily--one of the main streets

        We were immediately suspicious.
Why did Chuck want to visit Marsala, Sicily?
        Can you guess?
Was it because:
A.   Marsala is known for producing Marsala wine, which
              is like “port,” and used in Italian cooking, ie. 
              Chicken Marsala or the yummy dessert Tiramisu
              AND Chuck loves to eat  OR
        B.   Marsala is famous for the landing of Garibaldi in
              1860, Italian general and politician, who is best 
              known for the unifying of Italy AND Chuck is a 
              history buff OR
        C.  In the last 200 years, Marsala has recorded three 
             earthquakes of medium to high intensity range 
             AND Chuck likes to live dangerously OR
        D.  The Church of Purgatory is in Marsala AND Chuck
              wanted to see the paper mache statues the
              townspeople carry through the streets during the 
              procession on Holy Week.
             Well, as it turned out, Chuck had a more devious scheme in mind, but we didn’t discover his true intent until the end of our day in Marsala.  

The Church of the Purgatory
Close-up view of the lovely Baroque style architecture of this church

More lovely architectural details on display

      We arrived in Marsala and proceeded to the Church of the Purgatory to see the statues that our guide was raving about.  It seems that the townspeople had constructed near life-sized statues out of paper mache, which they carry through the streets in what we would call a parade or procession during Holy Week.  It's a big deal.  

You can see the paper mache statues that are carried through the streets during the Procession

The Church of the Purgatory

The statues were magnificent.  And even though Chuck did not, at first, appear interested, once he heard the story, he seemed interested in the concept.  Did he see himself walking through the crowds, carrying a statue in his paws?  As crowds of people lined the streets and waved?

The elegant city gate the Garibaldi and his volunteers wearing red shirts marched thru to unify Italy

We left the church and made our way to Porta Garibaldi, walking along Via Garibaldi, through the elegant city gate, which was constructed in 1685 (one of three which enclosed the city) and named after Garibaldi after he made his entrance into the city through the gates in 1860.  To honor Garibaldi, his picture was hung on the gate, because Italians will never forget the part he played in making Italy a country. 

Close-up of Garibaldi in all his glory
We then crossed the city and decided to visit the Pellegrino factory, where they manufacture not only the Pellegrino water, which we know so well in the United States and drink incessantly, but also the Marsala wine.  

The Pellegrino Factory in Marsala

Finally, Chuck looked like he wanted to be there.  He began to eagerly listen to our guide, who spoke perfect English.  She explained the history of Marsala wine and the process of manufacturing it.  

Inside peek of the Pellegrino factory in Marsala, Sicily

And then it happened.  It all became clear.  Why Chuck had been so eager to come to Marsala.  It wasn’t for the wine.  It wasn’t for the water.  It wasn’t for the paper mache statues, and it certainly wasn’t to see a photo of Garibaldi and walk through the gates. 
Chuck’s a baseball fan.  He loves the Yankees. He loves to sprawl out in our Rec Room and gaze up at the screen and watch the guys in their uniforms swing at that tiny ball as it comes whizzing by.  

Mickey Mantle, famed NY Yankees baseball player, signed the cask in 1977

It seems that Mickey Mantle had been to Marsala and signed a wine cask and Chuckie is such a fan, such a groupie, he wanted to touch that cask, and, of course, SNIFF around it.  For Chuck, the rascal cat, it was a thrill just to be where the Mick had been . . . once upon a time. 
       The mystery was solved!
Chuck is such a CAT!
       To read more about Chuck and his adventures, log onto www.katelutter.com 
       My paranormal romance, Wild Point Island, is now available in ebook format and mass market paperback at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com  

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