28 Jul 2016, 12:36pm
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The Macedonia Hotel, Chapter 2

Macedonia HotelThe Macedonia Hotel

A NANOWRIMO

Relay writing project

 

 

By the Wayne writers Guild

Completed July 2016


The Macedonia Hotel

(This fictional piece is the product of a relay writing project by the Wayne Writer’s Guild In honor of NANOWRIMO-2015.  Any resemblance to real events, people, places, or things is a coincidence and neither intended nor implied to be real and accurate.)

 

 

 

I extend my thanks and gratitude to the contributors who shared their time and talents to make this NANOWRIMO Relay Writing Project possible.

 

The individual chapters are the intellectual property of the author.

 

Special thanks are extended to John Cieslinski for his generous use of the book store’s back room.

–Kate Chamberlin, Coordinating Editor

July 20, 2016

 

 

Wayne Writers Guild

Meets at 7:30pm – 9:00pm, on the 2nd and 4th. Tuesday of each month

Books, Etc. of Macedon, NY

John Cieslinski, Owner

78 W. Main ST. Macedon NY 14502

Phone 585-474-4116

 

 

Chapter 2:

The Zipper Creep

By Kate Chamberlin

 

“C’mon, Sis. It’ll be fun, Grace’s 18-year old brother, Sandy, cajoled her shortly after their parents had gone to see a movie in the West Wayne Plaza Theater. “You spend way too much time alone in this house. Mom won’t mind. You’ll be with my friends and me.”

He playfully punched her arm. He was 13-months older than her and his friends were her friends, too, especially Randy. Sandy loved being the life of every party and couldn’t understand why, just because she was blind, being in a crowd made her nervous.

“You know my friends and there will be other’s there to meet, too. It’s only a short walk to the hotel,” he persisted.

They were suddenly startled by a loud Bam! Bam! Bam! As the front door of their home at 12 Stone Street nearly splintered.

“Let’s go, guys,” their friends, Dan and Randy yelled as they pounded on the front door.

“Here’s your long, white cane. C’mon,” Sandy said as he pulled her out of the faux-leather lounge chair, shoving her braille book onto the end table. “It’s only a short walk to the Hotel where Big Bertha is living.”

Grace knew the party would be noisy and wasn’t so sure there wouldn’t be drugs. The Macedonia Hotel wasn’t known for its “good” reputation. It was even said that it was haunted. The other three really wanted to go, so Grace didn’t feel she could just say no. Besides, Randy would be there. Grace quickly fluffed her long, curly brown hair with her fingers, swiped lip gloss on her full lips, nestled the stylish, reflective lenses on her small pert nose, and tapped her way over to answer the door.

***

They’d climbed the rank smelling stairs to Big Bertha’s 3rd floor room and could hear the loud, thudding music. It seemed to shake the whole building. As they came closer to her suite of two rooms provided by the Social Services Department , there were bursts of loud, raucous laughter. Grace tried to calm the uneasy feeling that was growing in the pit of her stomach.

They walked into the suite and were immediately sucked up by the crowd. People were shoulder to shoulder, butt to belly, and only smoky air to breathe. Randy and Grace became separated from Sandy and Dan, although, Grace couldn’t tell who was where anyway. She was glad Randy had a strong hold on her hand. She could barely hear Randy when he yelled into her ear, “Here’s a chair. I’ll try to find us a soda and be right back. Okay?”

She nodded her agreement and sat down. She checked her talking watch for the time, but could not hear the tiny voice. She thought ruefully how loud it sounded in church when she’d accidently bumped the time button.

“Hi, Grace,” a nameless voice hollered and passed on before she got out her, “hello.”

As people passed by her, she detected a sweet smell. She’d heard that marijuana has a sweet smell and wondered if this was the real thing.

She reached out her hand to try to figure out what was near her. To the left she felt a wall with flocked paper on it. Her chair was a caned back and seat with curved wooden arms and straight legs.

From the arm of her chair, she gently reached to the right. Her fingers felt denim. It was just a quick touch but she recognized the feel of fabric over a zipper. With her face flushed and turning redder, she stammered, “Oh, excuse me.”

A stranger’s thick, deep voice mumbled, “That’s Okay, Honey, I’ll give you a half-hour to stop!”

Grace rushed to get up out of the chair and felt a cold liquid slosh on her head.

“Grace, for crying out loud. Where are you going in such a hurry?” Randy asked trying to keep hold of the red Solo cup of soda she had just smashed into.

“Oh, gosh, what a mess. Do you see a napkin or something?”  She yelled at him to be sure he heard her above the noise.

“I’ll go get something. I found the kitchen on my way to the drinks,” he hollered back.

Grace didn’t know what else to do but to sit back down in the chair and hope the zipper creep had moved on. She sipped her soda but found that it made her queasy. She bit her lip to calm her stomach. She checked her watch again but, of course, it did not speak any louder than the first time she tried it. Her cold, sweating hands stuck on the wood arms of the chair as her fingers rubbed up and down on them. How long had Randy been gone. And, for that matter, where were Sandy and Dan?

To take her mind off her rising frustration and panic, she tried to eavesdrop on the conversations that were around her. The smoke was making her feel sicker.

She heard a boy say, “Randy’s pretty lucky. He can leave this one out here and make it with Big Bertha, too.”

“Yeah,” came a reply. “Big Bertha really knows what she’s doing. What a piece of…” but, the rest of his comment was lost as another conversation burst into loud laughter.

Grace needed to get to a bathroom very quickly. She had no idea where the bathroom would be. She didn’t even know where the door was to get out of the apartment. She stood up and took a step. She felt someone’s foot pull out from under her foot just as she put her full weight on it.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Could you tell me where the bathroom is?” she said as she steadied herself.

“Why sure, Gorgeous, it’s just down the hall. I’ll go with you.”

At first she thought he recognized that she was blind and he was being helpful, but, the way he draped himself on her and sloshed his drink on her, she changed her mind. With a quick “no thanks.” she twisted out of his grip. The twisting motion disoriented her even more.

She really had no idea which direction to go to get to the door. Her panic was heightened as she bumped from person to person. Her shoulder hit something hard and her hip slammed into something even harder; a doorknob.

As she turned the knob, she prayed that this was the door out of the apartment and not a closet. Grace tried to remember if they had turned left into Big BerthaÆs apartment or right. Her breathing was shallow and irregular with her heart thudding in her breast, she opened the door. The cooler, stale air of the hallway hit her face. Once she let go of the door, she’d be in limbo. Her mind was a blur, her hands were sweaty and cold, and she thought she would surely throw up. She tried to think. Did we turn left after coming down the hall or did we go right?

Grace pulled the apartment door closed behind her and stumbled to the right. Big, Rough hands steady her.

“Whoa, too much to drink, little lady?”

Her mind raced as his hands began to massage her arms and pull her in for a hug or something more intimate. She felt the saliva begin to well up in her mouth, her palms began to sweat again, and there was that awful taste in her mouth as all the contents of her nervous stomach shot up and out all over the stranger. Grace never heard the apartment door being flung open.

“Get your hands off of her, fella!” yelled Randy, as he put an arm around her shaking shoulders. “Grace, are you Okay? Why did you leave the party?  I told you I’d be right back.”

“I’d like to go home. I’m not feeling well,” was all Grace could mumble.

***

Alone and curled up in her pho-leather lounge chair at home, her mind wandered from the braille lines her fingers tracked. Grace was confused. She wanted to believe Randy’s explanation of being delayed by giving Big Bertha a helping hand with getting another case of sodas or did he really go up on the roof with her? Everyone knows how easy it is to fool a blind person. So much depends on trust. Could she trust Randy or, for that matter, her brother and Dan again?  Maybe it just wasn’t worth the emotional investment.

A key clicked in the door latch. Grace’s parents had returned home from seeing the movie and sharing a soda at The Hungry House Cafe. Her mom flipped on the light switch.

“Grace!” she said, “Why are you sitting here in the dark? You need to get out more!”

 

Author Bio:

Kate Chamberlin, BS, MA and Dave were married in 1970 and raised three children plus two grandchildren in Walworth, NY. Many of her stories were inspired by family, teaching career, and six guide dogs. When she became blind in 1985, the screen reader on her computer enabled her to become a free-lance writer, newspaper columnist, an on-line literary magazine staff editor, published author, and keep in touch with her ever expanding family. www.katechamberlin.com

kathryngc@juno.com

“Dream it. Write it. Read it.”

 

Wayne Writers Guild

Meets at 7:30pm – 9:00pm, on the 2nd and 4th. Tuesday of each month

Books, Etc. of Macedon, NY

John Cieslinski, Owner

78 W. Main ST. Macedon NY 14502

Phone 585-474-4116

 

 

21 Jul 2016, 7:18am
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Comments Off on the Macedonia Hotel, Chapter 1

the Macedonia Hotel, Chapter 1

The Macedonia Hotel

A NANOWRIMO

Relay writing project

Macedonia Hotel

 

By the Wayne writers Guild

Completed July 2016


The Macedonia Hotel

(This fictional piece is the product of a relay writing project by the Wayne Writer’s Guild In honor of NANOWRIMO-2015.  Any resemblance to real events, people, places, or things is a coincidence and neither intended nor implied to be real and accurate.)

 

 

 

I extend my thanks and gratitude to the contributors who shared their time and talents to make this NANOWRIMO Relay Writing Project possible.

 

The individual chapters are the intellectual property of the author.

 

Special thanks are extended to John Cieslinski for his generous use of the book store’s back room.

–Kate Chamberlin, Coordinating Editor

July 20, 2016

 

 

Wayne Writers Guild

Meets at 7:30pm – 9:00pm, on the 2nd and 4th. Tuesday of each month

Books, Etc. of Macedon, NY

John Cieslinski, Owner

78 W. Main ST. Macedon NY 14502

Phone 585-474-4116

 

Chapter 1

The Macedonia Hotel, Est. 1888

By Chuck Martin

 

The Macedonia Hotel stood ominously in the center of town, on the north side of Main Street, which ran east and west through Wayne County, for the most part, that is. The entire facade was just as dreary as the sides and the back of the building. The only possibly endearing characteristic of the entire structure was the huge gable mounted at the top of the third story with an ordinary nameplate – “Macedonia Hotel, Est. 1888”.

It was a sad looking hotel, with extremely weathered clapboard siding. The current owner, Billy Beckwith, claimed that the weathered siding gave the building character. Most folks thought that Billy was just too cheap to replace the siding. Others thought the structure should just be torn down. The tax assessor even made the claim that the Macedonia Hotel was the “ugliest building in town”.

This did not bother Billy Beckwith one bit. Billy was making a killing on the room rentals, some of which were long term. The longer the stay, the greater the discount per diem.

The parking lot of the hotel completely surrounded it, with parking spaces for a minimum of 55 cars. Since there were 50 rooms, that seemed adequate to Billy Beckwith. A one night stay (or stand) was quite reasonable, if all you wanted was a bed.

The three story structure required fire escapes, per code. These were quite sound, though quite ugly, as they all needed paint badly. “Function first, aesthetics are secondary,” Billy would say, with a smirk to anyone who criticized his property.

Most rooms had a window, but a few did not, due to architectural restrictions. These “restrictions” were caused by the incompetence of the designer, way back in 1888.

There were no elevators, much to the disappointment of many first time tenants.

“The exercise is good for you,” Billy would proclaim, with his usual smirk, which usually brought a grimace back at Billy.

Billy would do his best to keep a full-time clerk on duty. The job was easy, though low paying. It seemed Billy would hire almost anyone to fill the position. The hours were brutal – noon until midnight, five days a week with Sunday and Wednesday off. Billy would often take a 6am to noon shift, then fill in Sunday if he couldn’t find a Temp to work the odd hours.

The stairs to the roof were narrow, but allowed lovers and others to “hang out” up there when the weather permitted. A railing prevented the inebriated from falling off the roof, but it did not prevent a suicide in 1916 on a warm April morning of that year, nor the one that occurred in 1963 just after the Kennedy assassination. No one ever explained the motives for the suicides, nor did they ever prove that those deaths were the result of something even more heinous. But still people were allowed to use “the roof” – no charge.

Most of the hotel rooms were small, but the philosophy of the original owner, Benjamin Black, as noted in his ancient journal, which was always available in the lobby, “If all you need is a bed, what’s the problem?”

Some of this man’s comments were cold, and uncaring when referring to tenants inhabiting his hotel. Benjamin died in 1924, mysteriously. Some claimed that his spirit never really left the dwelling, perhaps due to the fact that his cousin, Boris Black, whom he hated, inherited the hotel. Benjamin had no other family, and left no will; so, Boris claimed the property.

When Boris Black took over the hotel in 1924, the building was still in good condition, although Benjamin had never painted the cedar siding, which weathered and gave it a rustic look.

Cousin Boris thought that he could have done more business if his predecessor had paid more attention to esthetics and modern upgrades. Back in those days, there was a carriage house and a stable. They were long since torn down to make parking space for the more modern transportation, the automobile.

People who passed through Macedon were happy to have cheap rooms available at the hotel. They were tired and sleepy when they came in, and quite often, happy to leave the next morning. Some only stayed a few hours, but that’s another story, or perhaps, hundreds more stories.

Over the years, the Macedonia Hotel got the reputation of being seedy and shabby. Some folks would forego the Macedonia Hotel and continue on to Palmyra, where the lodging was more upscale. Some claimed there was more “action” in Palmyra, whatever that meant.

But in Macedon, one could cross the street and get a drink, or a sandwich at the same little bar. If you were too tired or lazy, you could even have your meal and drink delivered by who knows who, from the Hungry House Cafe, though it was somewhat expensive to do.

Within the walls of the hotel were guests who, it seemed, never left. Folks without family or friends, people who didn’t want responsibility, people on welfare and even a few families resided in some of the slightly larger rooms, hoping that their luck would change soon and they would be able to secure employment, then move to better accommodations; an apartment, a house, or even a trailer which might be better than permanent housing in an old hotel.

Children would occasionally play in the parking lot of the hotel. Street hockey, badminton (sans net), or soccer were favorites. And, occasionally, there was a “near miss” when a tenant came motoring into the lot hurriedly, or worse, drunk. Parents of said children, who were “clean” and/or sober were at wits end as to what to do with the kids. Should they play in the utility rooms? But then, there was always hope. They hoped and prayed, that their life would change.

When the factory down the street, to the east, was hiring, some would jump at the chance to change their lives. If they could secure employment at the “plastic factory” they would be set, or, if they could get employment at the gasket factory in Palmyra, they would be able to get off relief and get an apartment, hopefully.

It seemed that some tenants though, would go up on the roof and drink beer, or smoke pot, even though they appeared to be able bodied, rather than apply for a job. Of course, on the other hand, their mental condition was unknown, and it also seemed that no one cared.

Macedon was a friendly town, but people just plain did not often get involved into other people’s lives. That is, not too much. Therefore, no one knew who was able bodied and who was not, if they lived at the Macedonia Hotel.

Occasionally, an ambulance would wheel into the hotel parking lot. For a while, in the summer of 2015, the local ambulance would go to the hotel almost weekly. Sometimes they were called by a mischievous child playing with a cell phone, once by a distraught wife who thought her husband had abandoned her; once by a troubled man who threatened suicide, but wanted the EMTs to talk him out of it.

One time, a man was taken out on a Saturday night, completely covered by a sheet. The ambulance left with no siren on. No one seemed to notice and no one seemed to care, and, as usual, Billy Beckwith was not talking. Not to the press, the cops, or anyone else.

All he would say to the police was “I know nothing.” That sad event did not even make the papers.

Sometimes the police would stop and warn the children not to play on Main Street. The police were once warned of a drug deal going down in the parking lot. Everyone scattered when the police came and no one was arrested. The police chief was not able to chase anyone on foot, as he was too obese to even think about pursuing any perpetrators on foot.

It was rumored once that a murder had been committed in the parking lot around midnight on a hot July night in 2015. Before Captain Carl, the Chief of Police could get to the scene, a black Lincoln sedan was witnessed leaving hurriedly. No corpse was ever found. Mysteriously, Room 21, which had been rented by a surly young man the night before, was now vacant. No luggage was left behind, nor any evidence of illegal activity.

When questioned, Billy Beckwith just replied “I know nothing,” and “The gentleman paid cash for one night, and now he’s gone.”

Billy commented that he did not need any bad press. None was published either, and life in the hotel went on as usual. And why not? There wasn’t even a police report.

Captain Carl commented to Billy, “I guess there’s nothing to report.”

Most of the time, the skullduggery and shenanigans at the Macedonia Hotel were unnoticed, unpursued, and unpublished by the press. Oh, for sure, some folks knew some questionable things that went on there, but Billy Beckwith would always insist when questioned, “We run a respectable business here.”

Most folks and tenants believed that Billy himself believed what he was saying to them.

Over a period of 127 years, several small fires were reported at the hotel, but were always extinguished by the tenants, as fire extinguishers were readily available, or by the fire department.

Billy posted signs in not-so-conspicuous areas of the building stating “No Smoking Allowed,” although Billy rarely warned anyone about smoking. Of course, smoking was not a good idea, even though a sprinkler system had been installed in the hotel many years before by Billy Beckwith’s predecessor, Bilford (Biff) Boynton.

The inhabitants of the building were the biggest fire hazard of all. Cigarette butts could be found everywhere. Surprisingly, over-sized ashtrays could be found in every room.

One of the spookiest things about the hotel was the basement. It was dark and dingy. Down there, an ancient steam boiler ran from November until May first, no exceptions. The radiators clinked and clanked for the entire six months, much to the chagrin of the tenants.

When Billy received complaints, he replied, “You want the heat on, or off?”

Another complaint was that there were only two bathrooms on each floor, Men’s and Women’s. Within each bathroom there were 3 sinks, 3 showers, and 3 stalls. No one knew when they were installed, but they looked 100 years old, easily. They could get very busy, what with children needing them so often and all.

During the busy times, one might find a lady using the Men’s Room and vice versa. This could present a serious problem at times, not to mention the possibility of hanky-panky.

According to Billy, that would not be tolerated. Although Billy himself was once found in one of the Ladies Rooms, in one of the stalls. He eventually was able to redeem himself by claiming he was working on a toilet, which was leaking. No second party was known to be in the stall, although Mrs. Fisher (Room 27) claimed she heard two voices coming from the stall, but admitted that it could have been Billy talking to himself, as was his claim.

Occasionally, a bathroom would be “Out of Order,” and this would sometimes cause even more problems. When confronted Billy would simply say “Use the bathrooms on the other floors.”

Be that as it may, tenants were able to carry on. Amazingly, no matter what the issue, the crime, or the tragedy, the people lived, visited, or slept over at the Macedonia Hotel day after day, night after night. And Billy Beckwith collected the rent and room charges.

On the evening of November 27, 2015, a young man stopped at the Macedonia Hotel to check the room rates. Billy was working the desk that night, as it was a holiday weekend.

“One person or two?” He asked the young man.

“Does it matter?” was the reply.

“Oh, I guess not. Room 37 has a queen bed and I don’t have anyone to get more towels and soap anyway. You can have it for the single rate.”

“Thank you,” the young man said. “And I see it’s on the third floor.”

Billy smiled.

“And oh, by the way, is there a room up there in the cupola, where the hotel sign is, and the date, 1888? I thought that was odd.”

“No, no room up there. There’s an access way to it, but it’s like an attic.”

“Well,” said the young man, “When I looked up, I could see a face looking out through one of the eights. It’s like there are little windows within the eights, right? I thought it was unusual. I restore old houses and buildings and I’ve never seen any windows like that. I’m sure I saw a face in one of those little windows, you know, looking out at me.”

 

Author Bio:

  1. A. “Chuck” Martin is a charter member and the current moderator of the Wayne Writers Guild. He has contributed to all seven publications of the guild. He has also published two books of poetry of his own, “The Human Theater” and “The Human Theater-Part two”. Chuck has six grown children and lives in an “empty nest” with his wife, Marlene in Marion, N.Y.

camcraftenterprises@yahoo.com

11 Jul 2016, 5:19am
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Cat Chronicles: No More Cats!

Cat Gato-E picCat Chronicles: No More Cats!

By Kate Chamberlin

July, 2016

During our 45 years of marriage, we’ve survived living with cats of various ilk and personalities, but, they’ve all been neutered males and named Gato with an alphabet letter.

As I nestled with my little eight-toed, mitten kitten, Gato-A on my mattress, which rested on the floor of my first studio apartment, his purring lulled me to sleep, as well as woke me the next morning–or maybe it was the troop of fleas he shared with me from the shelter and the itching that pursued.

Gato-A did not like the men I dated, but one of them became my husband. They faced each other like two alley cats about to brawl, however, throughout the years, they came to an understanding: They were both here with me for the long haul. Gato-A ruled our household for about 15 years when he died. Fortunately, my husband isn’t dead yet.

Shortly after Gato-A’s demise, my friend phoned to say someone had dropped off a cuddly, tuxedo kitten in her front yard. Did I want him? My children and I went over to check him out and thought he was the spitting image of Gato-A, even though we knew Gato-A couldn’t have sired any progeny. Gato-B accepted my husband and children as litter-mates. The children loved the cat and even my husband got caught giving him a little pat on the head from time to time.

He still professed to not really like cats and grumbled that we’d not get another one when Gato-B died.

At the loss of our sweet, Gato-B, of course, we wanted another cat, but my husband stuck to his refusal to get another one.

One day after he’d gone to work and the children had hopped on the school bus, I was working in my “command center”, when I heard a little mew. Was I hearing things? I followed the sound to our 12 year old daughter’s room.

Apparently, while waiting for the bus, her girlfriend had brought up a kitten, complete with litterbox and food. They’d smuggled it into her room, fed it, and assumed it would sleep all day until they returned from school. Our daughter intended to tell us a tale we couldn’t refuse! She was right.

Gato-C had a leg that had been damaged during birth or gestation, so no one else wanted him. How could we turn out a gimpy gato? Officially, his name was Milo, but we all called him Gimpy Gato.

Unfortunately, he met his demise as the dinner for one of the roving coyotes. My husband was adamant about no more cats. I quietly started to kid around about getting three little kittens. As an elementary teacher, I wanted to name them Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod. It was Christmas time, so our son and his friend said we should name them Egg, Nog, and Rum. My husband said they’d be named, No, No, and No!

Gato-D came to us via our college age son. He and his intended bride were moving to an apartment that wouldn’t take pets. The previous year, they’d found an abandoned little kitten, nursed its infected eye back to health, cleaned his coat until it was shiny and thick, and fed him. They fed him so well that his girth made his head look very tiny.

Being used to  an apartment, he moseyed right into his new surroundings of our game room. He soon adopted the entire house, the yard, and eventually, commanded the neighborhood. As his territory enlarged, his girth decreased.

Gato-D became a mighty hunter, leaving his trophies on the patio and our front door step. One day I opened the door to let him in and he went directly under the dining room table, instead of rubbing my ankles. Although I’m totally blind, I could tell that he had a mouthful by the sound of his hello meow. Then, I heard him scramble as his prey fluttered up to the underside of the table. His sparrow wasn’t dead! The cat caught the bird, I caught the cat, and they both went right back outside. My husband just shook his head and snickered something about: dumb cat.

Gato-D’s demise was untimely, even though he’d reached a ripe old age. One day, when I let him in, he went directly down stairs and didn’t come back up all day. Usually, he’d come sit with me as I read or wrote my newspaper column. Mid-afternoon, I went to look for him.

As I reached to pet him, my hand felt the wet and sticky feel of his head. He didn’t move, but cried out in distress, as if he wanted to be left alone. Without a word, we rushed him to the vet’s, thinking he’d been attacked by a coyote.

The vet cleansed the three puncture wounds on his head and said that a coyote would never let dinner go. Gato-D had been chased, captured, and shaken by a large dog!

Our neighbor had a big Shepard, so he was suspected of the dastardly deed, but we never confronted the neighbors. We tried to spare our two young children by letting them think that the coyote did it.

It was quite a traumatic end and, as predicted, my husband said: Never again. No More cats!

Now, we are empty nesters. My husband is retired. Our three children of our A-Team are all grown-up and married with children of their own. Even the two grandsons we raised, our B-Team, have flown the coop. Our daughter has carried our tradition of having a family pet to new heights. She has one husband, two dogs, three sons, four cats, a Leopard Gecko, tanks of fish and she thinks we need at least one cat to go along with my retired guide dog and my working guide dog.  My husband says, No way; however the other evening, I caught him googling our local Humane Society. That night I dreamt of Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod.

Our daughter insisted her 8-year old cat could train my young guide dog that cats are family, not dinner. She swore the cat actually thought he was a dog anyway, because he’d been raised by a Great Dane and a Pit Bull Terrier.

The dog training center had signed off re-training Tulip Grace, saying that dogs are descended from wolves and it is second nature for them to hunt small prey for their dinner.

I thought that living with a cat, might help Tulip realize cats are our friends, not dinner. My husband smirked, “A cat training a dog? I don’t think so.”; however, we accepted Gato-E into our family.

He was a bit over-weight, very loveable with a loud, rattling purr and wrinkled whiskers. His almost curly, marmalade and white fur rejected any of my attempts for sleekness, yet, he loved to be brushed and groomed.

On their first meeting, Gato-E raced backwards in panic as Tulip lunged forward to snarl and growl her greetings. from then on, Gato-E avoided going into any room where he detected Tulip. Apparently, the dog had trained the cat, instead of the dog learning cats are our friends. My husband quipped, “So much for cats rule and Dogs drool.”

Sternly saying “Leave it”, became my mantra whenever the dog and cat came near each other. Eventually, my guide dog associated the reprimand with leaving the cat alone.  She doesn’t re-act when Gato-E darts between her legs or butts his head in greeting or jumps onto my lap.

Next week, I’ll start taking her for a walk around our neighborhood to see if she recognizes other cats as family or dinner.

For now, we have harmony within our family. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I found my husband snoring in his heated lounge chair with an orange marmalade ball of fur snoring on his stomach.

   No more cats? Indeed!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Donna Grahmann for some of the warm fuzzes to my Cat Chronicle, and to Edie Pasquini for the photograph of Gato-E.