Monday, November 15, 2010

The Clementine Open

I went to the local market the other day to get some provisions and ran across some clementines. Once upon a time you could only get the little gems during Christmas - they were a very special treat. I still consider them a treat and nabbed a bunch before they ran out (an old habit). While I was waiting in line I started thinking about the clementines... and cats.

I don't have a cat right now, so I can only just imagine them. There was something about seeing those  clementines in a bowl on my table with a couple of cats that got me to chuckling. There's no way I could keep a bowl of clementines in a bowl on my table because I would have taught my cats how to play table tennis with those clementines and they would have been really good at it, and extremely competitive. I can imagine this because believe it or not, we had a cat that learned to fetch a cigarette pack wrapper, trot it back to us and drop it on the floor at our feet.

When our kids were toddlers, our big excitement for the week was watching King Fu on TV with our neighbor Ron. On one of those nights during a commercial break, Ron taught our cat to fetch a cigarette pack wrapper (remember those?). Here's how it worked:

Play started by stripping the crinkly cellophane off one of our packs of cigs (I haven't smoked for 30 years), which immediately piqued the attention of our soundly sleeping cat. He'd be up and off the couch and at our feet in a flash. Next, we got him all excited and circling neurotically around our ankles by rolling the crinkly wrapper between our palms. It made a heck of a racket - probably a lot like those chip packages everyone is complaining about these days.

Then we'd get down on the floor with the cat, eyeball to eyeball, and set the crinkly ball on the floor between us. The cat would stand there and stare at it with her Bjorn Borg-lack-of-interest-like-she- could-have-cared-less expression. We would make an O with our thumb and index finger, and shoot that ball of cellophane a bloody mile. The cat would take off like streaked lightning, bat that crinkly ball around a bit and, sure enough, pick the blasted thing up, and with it in her mouth like a dog, trot back to us and, I repeat, drop it right at our feet.

This is a true story.

The Clementine Open, 8" x 8" watercolor on paper • Framed to 12" x 12" • $200

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