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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From...The Sound of Mewsic!

Friends and furriends,

Those who know me are painfully aware that I can never leave lyrics alone.

To the tune of "My Favorite Things," here is:

by Julie Mackenzie

Anastasia and Tinker
And Chopin and Bridgie
They are delinquents
Their sins make me itchy.

I tape the cabinets
All across in red
To keep my Chopin
From clawing instead

Stasia all fluffy
And slow as molasses

Bridgie the baby who
Catches long passes

All of these characters
Stuffed with herring
These are a few of my
Favorite beings

When Chopin bites

When the Tink sings

When I'm feeling sad

I simply remember my favorite beings
And then I don't feel so bad.

Merry Christmas, peace and blessings in the New Year from all of us ~ our angels, too.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

From Mugshots to Sheer Heaven

Chopin here ~

Remember this mugshot of me at the shelter?

And that photo of me with Mom Julie after she fell head over paws (I'm so glad)

It's been a whole year today, my Gotcha Day and I've never been happier.

I spend a lot of time on the porch where I can pretend I'm in the jungle.

My big brother Tinker is my guide:

Me: What's that over there?

Tinker: An ugly, hairy critter who likes to nibble on cat ears.

Me: Oh, no! I'm glad I'm safe in here! (I knew he was just pulling my leg)

Then, for the first time, I met the "red dot." Tinker was trying to catch it as I watched.

I have been very happy with treats, good livin' and lovin' and a family and home to call my own.

And this is just the first year, my furriends.

Life is good.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Some Quiet Thoughts

Feeling such sadness over the loss of Sparkle while hurting over what we are so helpless to control,  I had to put the following down and make a thought-provoking connection:

As I was responding to a post by fellow blogger Julia Williams about how some people seem to think "a pet is just a pet," I was thinking how shallow so many assumptions like this really are. Some people have that attitude, but I hope to blazes it is a minority. Anyone who thinks like that has no sense of spiritual value or depth of feeling. They probably look at an old person and think they're "just another old lady or old man," and insignificant.

I have news for them. They are the ones who are insignificant. We can do without those who lack compassion and appreciation for those companions who are there for us when we're sick and serve as calming guides through a life fraught with uncertainty and pain. I know I couldn't ever face the inhumanity so prevalent on so many levels were it not for the comfort of a four-legged friend or friends.  Someone who dismisses an animal as inconsequential, is probably the type of person no animal or human should ever trust.

Our pets are instinctual, perceptive. Their place in our lives and our hearts are accepted routine as the days, months and years go by. Then, the shattering reality of their passing. An indescribable sadness falls over everything. It's such an emotional adjustment to eventually realize they will remain with us, but in a different way. For us though, because we appreciated their special place and recognized their value to our souls, will be blessed with a spiritual companionship until our own meeting with Fate.

A companionship some people will never know.


RIP ~ Sparkle

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I really like the concept of going back and repeating a story or sharing a photograph. Especially with how the world is today, it's nice to think of a calmer time when looking over your shoulder meant making sure loved ones were keeping up, not whether they were safe.

Going back means revisiting past church cat Toms - this entry in particular, written after J.D. Salinger's death when Tom, firmly believing he is as good a catcher in the rye as anyone, takes an imaginary trip to the writer's home:

I met him years ago but I don't remember
how or when.

I do recall wandering a long, overgrown drive thinking how his crowd of admirers had turned into a company of weeds. But, that was the whole point. I stopped to take in the house on the hilltop. That, too, appeared left to its own devices.

You wouldn't think someone like me, short and covered in fur would have easy access to one of the greatest writers of our time and a recluse, at that. But, I did. All I needed was a doorstep.

"Well, what have we here?"

He unlatches the door to let me in. There are papers everywhere. Magazines. Books. One without a cover. I notice the door has a cat flap.

"Haven't seen you around here."

Mr. Salinger, I came specially to see you. I must discuss writing.

As with those who constantly converse with inner thoughts, he is in tune with mine.

"Write for the fun of it," he says, shuffling over to the cabinet. He wore his aura like a cloak.

What about recognition?

I knew this was a sore spot, but I had to ask.

"Well--" His voice became hesitant yet at the same time contained a vehemence restrained. "It's something you need as a writer but can't control it once you get it."


There were sardines now heaped upon a saucer with tiny white flowers in a blue border. As I ate, I thought about what he said. It was true. If I became famous, it would change everything, every part of my life. I picked up the last crumb of fish.

It can still be enjoyable, can't it?

I looked up. He had left me alone.

I turned the corner and entered a cozy area filled with ever more papers, books, and pillows in dazzling, reflected light. My famous author and benefactor was absorbed in his work. There was a calm, as if he were some creative sculptor absorbed in the modeling of his own imaginative clay.

I turned to leave.

"Write for the joy," I heard behind me.

I smile as only a cat can, with backside for emphasis, a gesture to which he can undoubtedly relate.

Rest in peace, kind sir. The sardines were delicious.

(from January 30, 2010)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hurting, But Still Here

I knew I had to face and make it through the first year anniversary of Tom's unexpected passing. He has never once left my mind nor my heart and probably never will. It pains so much to write this, but I know he is physically around me, guiding my determination as I muddle through a most challenging period ever in my life. They say not to look back with regret, but focus forward. I'm trying my best to do that.

In my writing, I know I create a sort of immortality. Tom continues to have adventures, make people laugh, and seek out those who need a comforting purr. He also inspires some really out-of-nowhere creativity like the poem below. If you remember "Dog and Butterfly" by Heart, you can appreciate my attempt to have the same lovely tribute to cats everywhere:


The cat and dragonfly
Never really tell me why
The cat and dragonfly
Want to keep their secret
In hushed and still reply.

The cat and dragonfly
They’ll share it with the sky
The cat and dragonfly
Whisper it to birds, but why?

The cat and dragonfly
They’ll never tell you or I
The cat and dragonfly
They’ll keep their secret
Til they die
Til they die
Then watch the sky

6.17.14 ~  ©Julie Ross Mackenzie

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just One Look

Our Anastasia has made it onto the Cat Blogosphere calendar for today and we can just feel the tingle of celebration in the air and the high anticipation of a blog post after all this time. Our little purr muffin is the reason we've finally gotten our act together.

Please allow us to share who she is in one sentence:

She is our overseer, cuddlebug and hissing Rasputin all rolled into one.

Tinker will humbly accept a wink and a nod when she finds it in her heart to dispense favors, cuddling for photo opportunities which, of course, sends the poor man--weak at the knees--over the moon.

A ladycat deserving of all things, especially our affections.

Oh, by the way, her veterinarian pronounces her name Ah-nah-stah-si-a, explaining that she prefers to say it the Russian way. Her royal highness says that's fine with her. :)

Hope you all are well, especially knowing spring is coming with its warm sunpuddles and flowers.

Take care,
Chopin, Tinker, Anastasia and Mom Julie