February 04, 2023

New Year’s Day Stormy Cat

By Curt Swarm

Stormy our cat has been with us exactly two years as of New Year’s Day 2023. He celebrated his birthday by tearing down the Christmas tree. Stormy came to us in a snowstorm (hence, “Stormy”) on New Year’s Day 2021. I was installing a wireless doorbell that Ginnie gave me for Christmas. (It’s noteworthy that I was at the front porch. We seldom use the front porch.) It was snowing and blowing. I heard a mewing and there was a small kitten huddled in the corner. I hollered for Ginnie because I knew she wanted a cat.

I coaxed the kitten toward me. When he got within a couple feet, I snatched him up. He rewarded me by clawing and biting my hand to shreds. But I had him. His eyes were matted and he was gaunt. Probably a roadside drop-off, Stormy spent the rest of the day hiding behind a couch. He thawed, ate some tuna, and slowly warmed up to us. He now owns the house.

Stormy is my cat — probably because I rescued him. This upsets Ginnie to no end because she’s the one who buys him special treats, which he accepts like it’s owed him, and then curls up on my lap.

I’m a firm believer in what you do on New Year’s Day sets the tone for how your year will go. This New Year’s Day, which was a Sunday, I made sure I got in my hour of exercise on the elliptical machine and then went to church. Alone. Ginnie stayed home getting the house ready for her family’s holiday visit. She actually hurt her back baking cookies. No fool’n. I told her that if she’d come to church with me like she was supposed to, she would be feeling fine.

And then Ginnie’s car had a rattle toward the front-end dashboard area. It was driving her nuts. Click, click, click. She looked and looked, and had me ride with her to try and determine the source of the clicking. I rode with her and, atypically, heard it. We looked all around, in the glove box, in the cup holders — nothing. I thought it was something in the air ducts. Maybe a mouse had gotten in there and chewed things up. I told her she’d better have our mechanic look at it before it got worse. I used to be a volunteer fireman and knew that car fires can start from mouse damage, which can then take down a house.

We were actually on our way to the mechanic. I figured he would have to tear the dashboard out to find the noise. I leaned forward in the front seat and noticed a small Lego decoration Ginnie had hung on the opposite side of her windshield rear-view mirror. She couldn’t see the Lego. It was clicking against the backside of the mirror.

I took the Lego down. The clicking stopped.

Ginnie was speechless (unusual) and slapped herself in the head.

I told her she was lucky I found the source of the noise instead of the mechanic and suffered the embarrassment, plus a $200 charge. She agreed.

But Ginnie is making her third batch of crock-pot chocolate peanut clusters, so I’m a lucky guy. Chocolate peanut clusters are my favorite holiday candy — year-’round, really.

Back in my day, if Christmas and New Year’s fell on a Sunday, the next day, Monday, was a workday, by golly. No ifs, ands or buts. There’s something not right about the Rose Bowl Parade and the Rose Bowl being held the day after New Year’s. (We were watching for the Pella High School Marching Band, but never did see them.)

Because of all that, I forgot to eat pork and cabbage on New Year’s Day for good luck. However, I have been making four-leaf clovers out of rusty horseshoes. That and God should be all the good fortune Ginnie and I need. Let it be for ‘23.

Contact Curt Swarm at curtswarm@yahoo.com