Friday, October 2, 2009

The Greatest Secret in the World

Bella came home last night. The vet gave her an appetite stimulant, among other things, and said she is fine. I just have to make sure she keeps eating and drinking, duh. I paid $500 for this advice, which I knew already. I don't mean to sound so grouchy about it. They did do a lot of other stuff to check on her, and of course I am grateful that she is OK. The vet even deducted the cost of one of the X-rays ($125), which was considerate.

When I brought her home, I put Bella in my room and closed the door, but she wanted out. When I let her out, the little cat was the boldest she has been so far, meowing as if to greet my older cat. I think Cinderella missed her! She is social! What a surprise.

My grandparents had a dairy farm in Hope, N.J., a pretty little town with many stone buildings dating back to the 1700s. It was founded as a Moravian community. My friend Lin lives there, and she looms large in my hopes to find a better home for Cinderella, who is mis-named, by the way.

If anyone ever starts following this blog, please send me some ideas for a better name.

Anyway, several years ago Lin and I went to Hope's annual holiday craft fair, where I bought four wooden blocks, shaped and painted to represent various buildings in the town. One is the arched stone bridge, another the distillery, the Christian church that became a community center in my childhood, and the little red toll house that stands at the upper end of the bridge. There use to be a one-cent charge per cow driven over the bridge. Anyway, I was checking Cindy's litter pan and found the old stone bridge face-down in it. I was horrified, but no damage was done, it's easily cleaned. I put them all up higher on the window sill, a safer place. Through the evening I heard her playing with the dangling cords to the shades, so I put them up, too. Bella used to do that when I first got her.

I remembered a story my grandmother in Hope told me about her mother. When she was a young girl, she went to a county fair. She had 25 cents to spend for the whole day. She walked around the carnival, looking at what she could do or buy with this money.

There was a tent, with a sign outside saying "Learn the Greatest Secret in the World," for only twenty-five cents. How could my great-grandma resist? Her name was Barbara; I was named for her. So, she pays her twenty-five cents, goes inside the tent. The crowd sits down in folding chairs in the dim light. Pretty soon a lady comes out with a cutting board, a loaf of bread, and a knife. She demonstrates slicing the bread.

"Always cut from you; never cut toward you," the lady said. This, apparently, was the greatest secret in the world. At any rate, it became a family story, and probably saved many of us from slicing our fingers off. Many times when we cooked together, Nana told me that story, always with a little laugh and a twinkling eye. I just knew Barbara Coppersmith had shared that story with all her daughters.

Always make sure your cat is drinking water. And eating. Feed moist food rather than dry. Charge: $500. Could this be the 2009 equivalent of 25 cents in 1800s rural Maryland?

1 comment:

  1. Well they MIGHT have said to feed dry food instead of moist. Moist food can aggrevate urinary tract infections in some cats! So there ya go.
    $500 please!