Have you ever received a gift that you weren’t expecting? That you weren’t sure whether to be excited or annoyed about?
For our Mom Mom and Pop Pop, that gift was Winnie.
Winnie was delivered to their house by our mom’s oldest sister and her family as a birthday present for Mom Mom and Pop Pop (both have late October birthdays) two years ago.
They and their Jack Russell Terrier, Midge, stared uncomprehendingly at the little ball of fur.
“You got us.. a kitten?” they asked.
“Mew,” responded Winnie.
They tried to play it cool, but they loved that cat from the get-go.
When she was a kitten, Pop Pop would nestle her into the crook of his arm while he was sitting in his recliner watching TV. He would scratch her stomach and delightedly watch as she tried to grab his index finger with her paws.
As Winnie has grown, so have her classic cat tendencies. In other words, her “Imma do what I want” attitude has come out in full force.
Phone calls with Mom Mom are often interrupted by her chiding the cat.
“Winnie, don’t you punch out that window screen. …Trying to get at those beautiful Cardinals sitting at the bird feeder… You just leave them alone! I’ll be darned if I have to chase you around the yard.”
“Winnie, stop eating the dog’s food! No wonder you’re getting so fat! You’re eating dinner twice! My poor Midge isn’t getting anything.”
“GET DOWN OFF OF THE CHINA CLOSET. I’m warning you!!!”
I think my favorite conversation interruption came during last holiday season.
One thing you need to know–Mom Mom is a deeply religious Catholic. But she married a Protestant, so she doesn’t have any actual ill will against Protestants.
“GET AWAY FROM THAT. Julianne, she’s trying to lift the Baby Jesus out of the Advent wreath. WINNIE, YOU STOP THAT. Oh dear Mother of God, I’ve got a Protestant cat. DON’T BEHEAD THE BABY JESUS!!! SHOO! THAT WAS MY MOTHER’S ADVENT WREATH! Julianne, I’m telling you, I’m going to be the only woman in Hell on account of a cat. GO IN THE OTHER ROOM AND BOTHER THE OLD MAN, YOU DAMN CAT. What did I ever do to N** to deserve this??? One of these birthdays or Christmases, she’s going to get a surprise regift. In the form of a cat. I’m telling you! I’ll do it! Just you wait! N will get a gift she’ll never forget! WOULD YOU LEAVE THE BABY JESUS ALONE?!? ISN’T IT ENOUGH THAT HE DIED FOR OUR SINS?? He doesn’t need a damn cat giving Him any trouble!!!”
**Our cousin, whose bright idea it was to give them Winnie.