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Night Sounds

by Uncle Bear

It was the night in some households when gifts were traditionally given, and in others where children and some adults hear sounds not normally heard. Even the night of a magical kiss....

Considering the day and the date, I decided it might be a wonderful idea to give her a gift I had been saving for her. After what took place in the middle of the night and that morning I find myself wondering what in the dickens got into me?

She's small, covered with golden fur and has the loudest "meow" I've ever heard from a domestic cat. In addition, while she's only one and one half human years in age, she has managed to wrap me around her tiny paw.

In naming her I chose the human name, "Eleanor." There are three reasons why I did this. First, when she sits in a regal manner, she reminds of an Eleanor who once resided in a White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Next, is when my little kitten is being rambunctious and grinning from ear to ear with the joy of simply being alive, I'm reminded of a young woman I know and how she radiates her love of life.

There is a third reason that I must bring to light. Normally I do not call my kitten Eleanor. (I've never stopped considering her a kitten - perhaps when she's 14-15 human years old I will.) The name I use is "Ell." The shameful part of this is what I'll sometimes add. For example because of my unhappiness with Eleanor's conduct, I might say something like, "Ell, if you don't stop that you're going to ...." Or "Ell, what the _ _ _ _ has gotten into you?"

Watching Ell wait quietly for her treat, I decided it would be the opportune time for gift giving. At the same moment I'm relatively sure a great deal of my sanity went out the window. What in the world ever possessed me to give a pint-size feline a brand new toy mouse that contained catnip no less, late in the evening is totally beyond me. My only excuses are the season, folks giving gifts, and the look in her eyes as they became big with sparkle and radiated the joy I loved to see.

All went well for some time. Ell grabbed her new toy, shook it forcefully, and disappeared into one of her secret spots to become better acquainted with it, and I retired for the night. Much later Ell decided it would be a great time to get some physical exercise. Having securely stashed the toy mouse where no one but she could ever find it, she began racing around the house. My problem was not with the physical training, but the sounds it produced. I could have turned on a light and stopped the action; however, I chose not to do so. Rather I lay in the darkness, with my eyes closed; trying to visualize what was taking place.

What a loud metallic sound a cat's claws can generate when they land on a steel folding chair. Or the jarring noise produced by aluminum can as it hits an uncarpeted floor. Still, nothing restores the peace and tranquility in the human soul as realizing nothing had shattered and no liquid had been splashed or spilled.

Later, as it became quiet and still, I began to drift back into slumber. My last recollection was of a tiny sandpapery tongue bestowing an "I love you" kiss on the tip of my nose.

all quiet now
All Quiet Now

Uncle Bear is a writer and researcher in North Carolina. He can be reached through: