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.

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)


Sweet Purrfections said...

And for the joy you bring to others.

Kjelle Bus aka Charlie Rascal said...

I miaow just like Truffle and Brulee :)


CATachresis said...

Echoed here too!

Brian's Home Blog said...

We sure did enjoy reading this!

Tamago said...

I agree it's a good idea to repeat and share stories and photos. And this is such a beautiful story of angel Tom's imaginary trip. Love the conversation between him and the writer.

Mary said...

Beautiful post, Julie! I have tears in my eyes as i think of both Salinger and Tom. Write for the joy. So very true. Hugs to you and your kitties!

(angel) Grrreta and Fam said...

What a lovely story.

Cathy Keisha said...

I don’t remember reading this and thoroughly enjoyed it. What an important lesson for us all.

Cats Herd You said...

We weren't reading your blog when this originally posted, so it was new and made us smile for the first time today. Such a wonderful scene!

The Island Cats said...

Thanks for sharing this with all of us again.

meowmeowmans said...

That's purrfect and lovely. Thank you for such a thoughtful and beautiful post, Julie.

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

What a good story!

Avalon's Garden and Mewsings of Garden Cottage Cats said...

Beautiful~ we enjoyed this post furry much! ^.,^ x5 so did de mom ;)

Miss you Tom ♥ ^..^ x5 ♥♥♥♥♥

Unknown said...

OMC this is beautiful! It made me all teary-eyed but in a good way. I am imagining these two wonderful characters have had a chance to meet again.

Shaggy and Scout said...

Lovely post & rememberance.