Labor of Love

imageI started writing this post in my daughter’s apartment while watching a pair of male cats and the NCAA Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Faith was away, and those boys needed to be fed – they always need to be fed. Those two knuckleheads have the “oh-my-God-I-am-starrr-ving” look down to a T. I entered the apartment to a chorus of “please plee eeease, feeeeeed us. We haven’t eaten in daaaaaazz.

The boys are Moncton and Preston. Moncton is a handsome black and white tuxedo cat in the great tradition of tuxedo cats in our family that dates back to Oreo.

Oreo was an emaciated black and white kitten that wandered into my cabinet shop a day before we closed the doors forever. I picked him up, looked him in the eyes and said “the last thing I need right now is another mouth to feed.” Still, he wouldn’t give up. He cried and cried “I want to be your kitty.” I called home. My wife said “we can’t afford a cat” and she reminded me that she was allergic to cats. Yeah yeah, I took him home.

All the way home, he rode on my shoulders, bumping my head with his. When we got home, my wife opened the door and Oreo leaped from my hands into her arms. When I reached to pet him, he slashed out at me with his claws, as if to say: “you found my mom; you can go now.” Cats are like that.

We have had black and white tuxedo cats ever since.

The other boy, Preston, is a ball of beige fluff. Preston is the color of everytimagehing. He blends in with the carpet, the couch, the walls and, as you can see, the sides of a box. Preston is also crazy. Faith shared photos of him when he cornered a live mouse behind a piece of cardboard but got distracted by a stuffed toy mouse. The real mouse escaped.

As for the football game, I wasn’t thrilled to see this game on WVU’s schedule. I’m not sure who thought a team that has struggled to beat Marshall for 3 years in their opening game could beat the Crimson Tide. WVU (that’s West Virginia University, a.k.a. my undergraduate alma mater) was 4-8 last year.

Alabama, on the other hand won 11 consecutive football games to start their 2013 season. Their march to the SEC (Southeastern Conference) championship playoff game was terminated in bizarre fashion when Auburn, Alabama’s in-state arch rival, ran back a missed field goal attempt for a touchdown in the final seconds of a game known as The Iron Bowl.

I’m no fan of Alabama. I spent one year at the University of Georgia, and one year in the SEC was enough to form a healthy dislike of the Crimson Tide. I’m no fan of Auburn either, but when that kid was runing the missed field goal back for a touchdown, I was screaming “War Eagle” almost as loud as my friend Laurence Hart.

Cats go well with football. First off, despite all their imageclamoring, they can wait until halftime to eat. More importantly, they do not interrupt the game. Other than blocking the signal from the remote, the worst thing they do is to land on your lap and demand attention. After almost 30 years of being owned by cats, I can scratch a kitty while watching TV. In addition to Tuxedo cats, we have had 4 Irish Setters in the past 30-some years. Mitzi, Rielly and Mollie accompanied us to 2013 when Maddie arrived. Dogs have no respect for football. Dogs are all:

I need to go out. I don’t care if the two-minute warning just sounded, I. Am. Going. To. Poop. On. The. Floor. If you don’t take me out now!

The boys and I ate early during the game. Faith left me with many cans of the boys’ favorite food. My food, on the other hand, met with some resistance. I had picked up a pizza on my way over on Saturday, planning to eat half and reheat half on Sunday.

Guys can eat the same thing two days in a row. Guys can eat the same food forever. Make me a meatloaf and I will eat meatloaf and meatloaf sandwiches until the meatloaf is gone.

Anyway, my wife was concerned because when Faith was born, also on a Saturday, I left the hospital for home pretty late. When I arrived, I popped a few slices of leftover pizza in the oven. Then I called my brother to tell him our good news. We talked. It got late. I went to bed. Monday afternoon, when I brought mother and baby home, the first thing my wife said was: “what’s burning?” The oven had been cranking at 450° for about 45 hours. The pizza had a Biblical ending, as in: “…and to dust you shall return” but no real harm was done. OK, our electric bill may have spiked a bit.

I will never live that incident down.

Alabama beat WVU 33-23, nowhere near covering the 21 ½ point spread given by the odds makers. That’s a respectable showing for my team. If WVU can hang tough with the Crimson Tide, maybe they can finish 2014 with a winning season. Happy Labor Day, and thanks for reading.


  1. “what’s burning?” LOL LOL

    If I start commenting on this one, I’ll be writing for days. Suffice it to say, sometimes I think Hub and I switched “gender habits”.

    Except neither of us has given birth :-)

    Great post. As usual :-)


  2. You seem to know respectful cats . One of my two ( not the tuxedo ) either sits just in front of the TV screen , or crawls behind and manages to loosen the cables just enough to screw up the reception . Out tuxedo cat will , meanwhile , be sleeping .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe the key here is to have tuxedo cats. If you notice, it’s the ball of beige fluff that’s blocking the remote. My father would have said “you make a better door than a window Preston.” Thanks for dropping by.


    • Oooh, serious rivalry for you. I only had to worry about this game. WVU is unlikely to play the Tide again for a long time. I am optimistic that WVU can do well in the Big-12 this year. I am cautiously optimistic that the new playoff scheme will work better too. I don’t have a big interest in the SEC, but I might be happy if a few SEC teams beat up on Bama this year. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy late Labor Day to you, Dan, your family, and your readers!
    I LOVE cats. I grew up with cats and even in Paris we had cats. One came with us to the U.S. Later I found one at my children’s school and of course coudn’t resist and adopt it the adorable ball of fur. We kept Sugar for many years until she wandered too far from home one night and was caught by a coyote. That’s the sad part of living in the wild Sierra. My kids were devastated and one of them took it really hard. At about the same time we found an abandonned Lab and we adopted her too. We have also had lots of hamsters and even a horse until my oldest daughter went to college.
    But cats…ah, cats are so special. I loved watching TV with my cat and despite what dog people say, cats can also be extremely attentive companions. On their own terms but still very much in tune with human feelings.
    American football? No comments from the French who still prefers soccer. Probably because I understand the rules.
    Good to read you on Labor Day evening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. You sure have owned enough animals to be considered an expert – cats rule. I was going to re-post an entry from 2012 about Labor Day, but the boys seemed to be saying that they deserved a post. Do you travel with your cat?


  4. Love the rescued kitten dialogue, “you found my mom!” lol
    My husband was pleased that our girls were born during football season. This meant he got time off work to sit in the hospital and hold them while cheering.
    You’re right about dogs. Our dog goes out like clockwork, but now and again, she comes to me and STARES intently. It usually takes me a few minutes to figure it out. At our old house, she scratched at the door. She never does that here. *shrugs*


    • For years, that rescued kitten sat outside our bedroom door and latched onto my foot and bit my ankle each morning. My wife adored him and he treated her like she was his mother. Our dog sometimes goes to the door but sometimes just barks like a jerk. Sometimes, I look at her and ask “what do you want” and she looks back like I am stupid. Thanks for dropping by.


  5. I like the part where the cat left the live mouse for the toy mouse. Did you watch the movie, Stuart Little? A family adopted a mouse for a son, but Snowbell, the family cat, could not stand having a mouse for a master. So he told his friend Monty, who took him to an alley-hardened gangster cat to contrive a means of getting rid of Stuart. The movie is based on E.B. White’s book, and it is good. The cat drama is elaborate.


    • I did not see the movie, but I recall reading the book. Looking at the pictures my daughter was sending at the time was hilarious. The toy mouse and the live mouse were about 12″ apart, separated by a piece of cardboard. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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