Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

My photo
I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Celebration of Feathers

This is one weekend that cats and birds can raise a toast together.

"The Raven" was published on January 29, 1845 and a phenomenon began regarding the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe. He never had a cat that we know of, but we do know that "Nevermore" was the name of a black cat owned by somebody-or-other, we can't remember who.

I am a cat, not a journalist. Please. I do have another bit of information about the poem, though. Poe published it anonymously and received the hefty sum of 15 bucks for it. Rumor has it that he eventually tamed the raven and taught it to quit repeating itself.

Since we're on the subject of birds and cats, we think it's curious how sometimes cat fur resembles feathers. Look at Angel Vinny's. We know he has wings now, but here it looks as if he has fevvers, too--complete with a sun halo to make each one glow.

Let's celebrate our famous bird day by taking a look in the mirror and admiring ourselves. Whether feather or fur, we are beautiful--furever more!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Shelter Awareness Day

See this picture of me? That's a shelter face!

Vinny was in the shelter, too. Julie volunteered there years ago until it became impossible to go without bringing home a cat.

Any dogs or cats we've had were rescued and that's the theme of this very important day. If a pet is not in your future, then give to the local shelter. It'll do your heart good! They have need for the simplest of things; just give them a call and find out what you can do.

Taking care of animals is all part of responsible citizenship. Spaying and neutering is so important. Education is even more so, as children grow up to either respect the animals that share the Earth with us or they don't. It's up to us.

No matter what our circumstances, most of us are living a pretty good life. Let's share it!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Morning Happy Dreams

I am so tired!

I got excited over the news about the Nevada Humane Society's first ever Cat Convention. They found furever homes for 57 cats! Whew!

They have a no-kill shelter in Reno and are so happy at the thought that they now have more room at their facility for both kitties and woofies! You can find the link here: "">>
(I hope I did this right)

So, I'm going to dream the sweetest dreams for all those lucky kitties and throw in a few purrayers for those who are still waiting. Your time will come, dear ones!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Cuppa Tea & Suspense

I like doors. I think most cats do. If they're open wide, it's even better, no matter which side you're on. This is one of the many back and side doors we have around here. It's not used very much.

Here we are around the back of the church. This is the door that leads to the sacristy where the priests started the whole idea of layering (bet you didn't know that, he he!) with one thing worn on top of the other and prayers in between.

This was the door left open on that fateful day when Father Will got the bejesus scared out of him...

From A Temptation Tale..

Already late, Will rushed up the steps of the church’s back entrance which faced the rectory. As he pulled open the door, the organ music of the morning’s service roared over him as only age-old pipes can. Tom slipped in but Will stopped on the threshold.

What day was this? Did they somehow see him coming and decide to “play him in?” Maybe the organist just wanted to get things started. Any kind of music, rising slowly, had a soothing effect on those who waited. Nuzzling notes calmed the impatient for what was to come. He could picture each parishioner facing front, shoulder to shoulder and focused. He had missed the warming up exercise. Blasted by sound on top of being late, he became even more rattled, not to mention cold. In his haste, he had forgotten to throw on a jacket.

He strode over to the cabinet that contained everything he needed. He had to be quick. Pulling out the scapular drawers, he lifted out an amice and adjusted it on his shoulders with a quick, requisite prayer, then the alb. It wouldn’t take two seconds and a couple of prayers, he thought, to put everything on over his clothes. As he fumbled with the cincture, he heard the voice of Jack addressing the congregation in welcoming benediction.


He had to stop and think. Did he say something last night about taking the Mass for him? At the time, Will was only half-listening. Obviously.

Feeling ridiculous only half-dressed and standing there, he began to take off each piece of religious garb and put it back. He latched the cabinet door.

Enjoying a reprieve and relieved that he hadn’t embarrassed himself, he barely heard the sound of squeaking hinges behind him.

He froze.

In his haste, he had flung the back door shut when he entered, but it remained ajar. He found himself face-to-face with a total stranger just as startled as he.

He wished he still had on at least a few holy items for Mass. It would give him some security as he stood there, wondering what to do next. Regaining his composure somewhat, he decided to speak.

“Is there something I can do for you?”

His visitor stood there with the late morning light behind him, blocking the doorway. In shadow, his features were indistinguishable. His manner indicated an uncertainty as he mumbled something and strode toward Will. He was remarkably deft in his movements.

Will stepped back. He noticed how everything about the man was dark--his hair, overall clothing, and shoes. A sinister harmony approaching the priest. As he drew closer, Will could see into his eyes. There was no expression in them whatsoever, not that he expected any. Either the man had a purpose that was all business or Will was in big trouble. With fluttering stomach and trembling knees, he was about to find out.

The man was older than he, that was obvious. He was spindly, too, and had a strange smell to him, reminding Will of cloves. There was a dampness to the fragrance. It was amazing that in a matter of a few seconds, the mind absorbed those details that had absolutely nothing to do with determining either one’s survival or one’s demise.

For some strange reason that Will couldn’t fathom, the man was keeping his hands in his pockets and doing more looking around than anything else. He would give Will a deep look, then take in the cabinets and check out the rest of the room. As his head turned, turtle-like, his long neck stuck out of an oversized sweater, a thick wool number with rolled up sleeves.

Jack stopped talking for a moment. Nobody moved. The altar’s back room was still as if they were both waiting for something to happen.

The muffled voice of Jack resumed. Will found a strange reassurance in it. He backed up in that direction as the man advanced toward him. As Will moved, the stranger moved. Will watched him then ease around the table, light and silent on his feet.

He was almost within an arm’s length of the priest. Will was scared. He got closer to the sanctuary door. Trying to keep calm, he was picturing the knob in his head, attempting to figure out how to open the door, with it right behind his back. Would he turn it left or right? Should he just turn quickly and pound on the door and yell? What if the organ were to suddenly erupt and nobody heard? He decided on gambling with the doorknob. He reached behind him.

The stranger, discovering his intention, stepped forward more quickly and, as he reached Will, a familiar voice called out.


~~~~~> Let us know if you enjoyed this excerpt. Hope it didn't add to your wintry chills!

Tom & Julie

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Saturday Funsies!

This very Saturday is a special day at Jenkinson's Aquarium in New Jersey. It's Penguin Awareness Day! There will be festivities, a feeding schedule posted, penguins to meet and greet, and a general euphoria over anything penguin.


I decided to have a Father Tom Awareness Day right here at Temptation Parish starting at 9 a.m. Everyone's invited (including penguins). A donation of $10 is suggested, although my cat and woofie furriends can get in with just a bag of treats or a nip toy.

All the fun will be broadcast live on radio station "scratchin' up the hits" WALC-FM featuring announcer/comedian--wait for it--Hullabaloo Harry and his Alley Cat Band. Jack mentioned they had a zither. Good going, Jack!

My feeding schedule is as follows:




There will be a mid-afternoon snooze-over for all my furriends.

I don't want to forget yummies for our special guests direct from Mary Lou's parish kitchen. Shown here are her famous shrimp hobby horses.

And, last but not least, there's Father Will who'll be down in the church basement. He knows he's got the blood pressure of every female pulsing over his baby blues, even if he is a priest. He'll be in the dunking booth with a big bag of stilettos right by the tank. A dollar a throw!

It should be fun! Hope you can make it!!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Laser Therapy

Here's a sight that got me tingling in my claws and wishing cats could wear Foster Grants!

I came across this picture of Vinny with laser eyes and I couldn't believe it. I don't think I've ever seen him look so powerful and heaven-like, especially with his bountiful furs. To think I once called him a golden haybag, tsk! tsk!

This look can be very celestial, the kind that fires up halos and creates strong sun rays across a marble floor and empty church pews. I'm thinking maybe it's Vinny who should've sat in the confessional with the priests instead of me. With those eyes boring through to the soul, all sins would be on the table.

Vinny was smart. Nine lives? He could multiply those by two and get one left over. He was always getting out of scrapes in the nick of time and I know those eyes must have given him the edge over the tough cat down the street, even though it turned out they didn't fight. Hey, who would fight someone who can cook your innards with one glance?

Anyway, I wanted to share this picture 'cause I think it's probably the only one I have of the old boy that shows him in the best light...light, get it?

By the way, Patsy's been over here at the rectory so many times, I've lost count. As you might recall, she was Vinny's mom. I've heard a lot of sniffles and offers for me to go over and keep her company. I'm relieved that she hasn't taken anybody up on the offer. I don't want to be around Vinny's things. I'd rather curl up on my pillow and dream of fun times.

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Funny Angel

Imagine if this angel flapped all his wings at once. First, he couldn't get off the ground, or up from wherever he was; and, second, he would probably knock himself out. You know that commercial where the guy tries to eat the chicken wing and it keeps slapping him? That's the one. It kind of reminds me of that. It also reminds me of Vinny and how he used to make fun of that stained glass angel, wondering about it. He loved the colors that would play on the church floor, though. I caught him in a patch of blue one time and he looked very strange!

I guess reminiscing is part of letting go of an old year and bringing in the new. I am grateful for new friends, the cat blogosphere, woofies I am really, really getting to like so much (wasn't always that way), and visiting. So, a very, very happy New Year to all, and thanks again (I can't thank you all enough) for all of your purrs, prayers and kind thoughts you all took the time to express!

Onward! Would you believe Mary Lou spent an hour--yes, an hour, cleaning my catbox room this morning? What a dear! She scrubbed, sprinkled talcum around (it's a linoleum floor) which made it smell yummy and then made it shine? She said a new Year was as good a time as any to give my hindquarters a fresh start, hehe!