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My Mom was sitting at our “breakfast bar” typing out a letter to me.  I was in college at the time, and she tried to write to me about once every other week.  We stayed in touch mostly by phone, but it was more expensive then than now, so the letters were for the longer stories and reports on “home doings.”  The following story unfolded before her eyes on the day she wrote that letter.  She said that Popoki’s thoughts were so evident on her face and in her demeanor, that she was certain  she knew exactly what she was thinking, so I will tell the following story from Popoki’s point of view, and in her “voice” after this incident took place:

Finally all my morning chores were done.  It was time to relax in my favorite non-human-lap spot: the return air vent in front of the refrigerator.  Paula’s Mom was sitting at the breakfast bar.  I knew she wouldn’t bother me while I was trying to nap, getting my beauty sleep.  It takes a lot of rest to look this good, you know.

Wouldn’t you know it?  Someone else decided to disturb me, and started calling me!  “Popoki! Popoki! Popoki!  Here kitty, kitty, kitty!  Come here, Popo, Here kitty. kitty kitty!”  The voice kept going on and on and on!  The racket was almost deafening!  What on earth could be so much more important than my morning nap!  I didn’t think Paula was home – she wasn’t in her bed last night, or I would have slept on her.  I had no idea who it could be, but it sure sounded like Paula.  She is pretty good to me; I decided I had to go see what she wanted.  I thought that it had better be important.  I wish I didn’t feel like I had to take care of my family, but that’s the way it is with humans.  You’ve got to be ready to rescue them.

I stretched first. A good long one.  No sense in making my people feel like I am completely at their beck and call.  I had been so comfortable and warm.  “Popoki! Popoki! Popoki!” the voice kept screaming.  “All right, all right, I’m coming!  Hold your horses!” I called.  Sheesh!  What was  the emergency?  The yelling was coming from the family room, right next door to the kitchen.  I thought it was curious that Paula’s Mom didn’t hear that voice.  Maybe she was pretending not to.  You’d think she would have been concerned.

So I got to the door to the family room where all the ruckus was coming from and looked for Paula.  She wasn’t anywhere I could see, and neither were any of the other members of my family.  Then I turned my head toward where the noise was coming from and I saw at last who had been calling me.  That damn bird, “Pepper.”  (Paula’s Mom doesn’t like it when I use that sort of language, but honestly!  Who wouldn’t if they had been in my place?

What does that bird do next but start to laugh.  Hysterically.  He knew he had me, and he had gotten me good.  I don’t think I have ever been as mad as I was at that moment.  A bird!  A stupid bird!  Since the rest of the family seemed to dote on him so, I tolerated him – usually.  Besides he has a beak large enough to hurt whoever crossed him.  So I generally kept plenty of space between us.  After all, he was with the family before I was.  They weren’t smart enough to let a cat take over first.  Humans!

That bird kept laughing.  I was humiliated.  I decided I wouldn’t stand there and listen to him and watch him gloat.  Gathering up all the dignity I had left, I went back to my spot in the kitchen.  I know Paula’s Mom thought I was stomping back, but really, I was proudly holding my head high.  I didn’t want her to think that I would have been so fooled.  DUPED!  By a BIRD!

So – that’s the story.  The bird finally shut up, and I finally got to nap.  The memory of that embarrassing moment is almost too much to bear.  I’ll probably never live it down.  Sometimes when none of the humans are around, that bird will still laugh at me.  I refuse to give him the satisfaction of knowing that I am still bothered. But,  I’ve got to figure out a way to get that bird. . .

Mom typed her letter and sent it on with her version of the story.  It pretty much lined up with the one Popoki told.  She was always an honest cat.  I miss her.  By the way, Pepper never “got” her again.

Pepper Tohline Calhoun


I wish you all enough. . .