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 30, 2012

Chuck's New Year's Resolution - No Eating of Raw Antiguan Salamanders

A view of the lovely beach at Blue Waters, Antigua

It’s a tradition in our family that we make New Year’s Resolutions, and we take that tradition very seriously.  Life will be better, we believe, if we strive to be better ourselves.

Chuck, our rascal cat, is not excluded from this tradition.

Usually we begin this thought-provoking endeavor well in advance of New Year’s Day.  We know we need time to think about how we want our life to change.

What we didn’t anticipate was how our visit to Antigua, a small island in the Caribbean, would influence us, but it did.

The magnificent flight of the pelican of the waters

Our patio, infinity pool, and view of the ocean in Antigua

Imagine a beautiful tropical island where pelicans fly overhead and  form large circles, then swoop over blue blue water in search of their prey, and dive head first, straight and true.  Refreshing Caribbean breezes blow in from the sea to offset the warm temperatures.  The sun shines brightly.  Blooming red roses surround you.  You lay on your chaise lounge and gaze out over your infinity pool to the ocean.  And do nothing.  At home you would never do nothing.  But here, enjoying the beauty of nature is a worthwhile endeavor.

The lovely all inclusive resort we stayed at while in Antigua

The main dining area is outside, overlooking the ocean

We stayed at an all inclusive resort called Blue Waters.

As we rode in from the airport, we noticed that the houses were smaller than most houses in the states.  Many of the people collect their own drinking water on their roofs because the environment is cleaner. Most have gardens where they grow their own fruits and vegetables.  They raise chickens.  We were told life is simpler here, and that the people were more self-sufficient.

Typical colorful, quaint Antiguan house on the island

We passed a lot of churches.  The people of Antigua have a strong faith.

We passed a lot of fruit and vegetable stands.  Many of the people are enterprising and open up small stands to sell the excess from their gardens to their neighbors.  On the weekends, many people will also do barbecue.  The meat is put on the barbecue early Friday morning, cooked all day so that it is ready to be sold and/or eaten Friday night and into the weekend.

Chuck loved Antigua.  From the  moment we arrived, he loved the sun, the chaise lounges, and the “do nothing,” enjoy nature aspect of the place.

Two days into our visit, when Sally the Salamander appeared, you could say Chuck was in his glory.  He spotted her immediately, and in a flash leaped off the chaise.

“Chuck.  Stop.  Now.”

But my words made no difference.  Chuck saw her and he wanted her.

Chuck's first sight of Sally the Salamander

Now let me make all the positions of all the parties perfectly clear.

Sally the Salamander didn’t trust Chuck.  When Chuck jumped down from the chaise, Sally sincerely believed Chuck was coming after her for dinner.

Chuck’s position was he only jumped down to investigate.  After all, he doesn’t see a lot of salamanders in New Jersey.  He saw Sally and wanted to sniff around and find out everything he could about her.

I believed Sally more than I believed Chuck.

Especially when Chuck extended his paw and tried to snatch Sally by the tail.

I reached down to grab Chuck just as Sally slithered off.

Chuck's last sight of Sally, as she slithered away--up a wall--to freedom

Sally was safe.  Chuck was exasperated.

I plopped him down on the chaise.  “New Year’s Resolution time.  What will it be, Chuck?  What will your New Year’s Resolution be?”

Chuck, of course, said nothing.

I offered him a model.  “I’ve been really impressed by Antigua.  I’m going to change my eating habits.  More fresh fruits and veggies from now on.  I’m going to eat like the Antiguans.  That’s my number one New Year’s Resolution.  What about you?”

Chuck said nothing.

“Here’s my suggestion,” I said, my mouth close to his ear, “No eating of raw Antiguan salamander.”

Chuck shrugged.

He’s a rascal cat and will always be a rascal cat.


       My paranormal romance, Wild Point Island, is now available in ebook and mass market paperback
from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

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