Part One, in which we learn about Human Winter Holidays….
Banana and Cheese were sitting at the patio door, watching the snow fall. Banana sighed deeply, flopped onto the floor, and put her head on her paws. “Well Cheese, that’s it. No mores squirrel-chasing for a long time!”
Cheese looked questioningly at Banana. “Why can’t we chase them? They’re right out there at the feeder, eating corn and shaking their tails this way!”
“Well, duh, Cheese—our paws will get too cold in the snow! I’ve tried to walk through the snow, and I’ve lasted about 20.6 seconds—Karen had to come out and get me because I was stranded under the picnic table!” As Banana remembered her ordeal, she shook herself, then started licking her white paws.
“Well, some animals aren’t so delicate—here comes that dog from across the street!” Cheese peered through the glass door, then looked again in surprise. “What’s that on her tail?!”
Dog-from-across-the-street walked toward the patio door, tail held high in the air. “Hey cats! Happy St Nicholas Day! Did you remember to leave a shoe out last night? I borrowed one from my person (don’t worry, it wasn’t his best-tasting one), put it outside the door, and look what was inside this morning: a tail bell!” Dog-from-across-street wagged her tail, and there was a loud jiggling sound.
“THAT. Is THE MOST frightening thing I have ever SEEN!” Cheese turned and ran.
“Ignore Cheese, Dog-from-across-the-street,” Banana explained. “He ran and hid during the loud Diwali celebration hosted by the Roys last month too. He just does not enjoy noise very
much. Candles make him nervous too, so even though Comet Cohen invited us to tonight’s Hanukkah celebration, I will have to go without him.”
But Dog was not listening anymore; “Squirrel!” she barked, and off she went.
Banana sighed and settled down for another long winter nap….
One week later, Banana and Cheese, still sleepy from the night before, when they celebrated the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe with Blythey Soto and her people, were stretched out on a heat vent. They took turns wandering from window to window and wishing they could be outside. But there was still snow everywhere, and even though each cat tried, they couldn’t last more than 20.6 seconds outside—their paws just got too cold.
“Cheeeeeeese! Think!” Banana whined. “There’s got to be something we can do to get outside! Maybe we could ask Karen and Gale to build us a….” Before she could finish her thought, Banana heard the doorbell. Cheese had started running for the basement, but Banana ran to look out the window to see what friend was coming to visit.
“Cheese! Stop! It’s just Lucy Carlson and her people. Ooooo….wow….” Banana stopped talking as Lucy walked in, wearing a bright red sash.
“Do you like it?” Lucy asked. “Today is St. Lucia Day, and all the young girls in our family get to wear these this morning. It’s so soft and makes me feel so pretty…” her voice trailed off as she stroked the sash for the 22nd time that morning. “But enough chit chat! Have you two scratched your message to Kitty Klaus yet?” Before Banana or Cheese could answer, Karen called them into the kitchen so they could try the tasty Swedish cat treats Lucy brought to share. Yum! There was plenty of fishballs for all!
Another week passed; it was a busy week of birthdays—first Erika’s birthday, and then Peter’s birthday. The cats were thrilled with the smunchy wrapping paper and the licks of ice cream they stole from dishes when nobody was looking.
On this day, the whole family had gathered in the living room. They were napping, reading, wrapping gifts, batting at decorations on the Christmas tree, chasing balls of ribbon, but in the midst of all the activity, Banana was doing what she had been doing for weeks now—staring outside, wishing she could find some way to be playing in the snow and visiting her birds at the feeders.
Cheese, who as taking a break from decoration destruction, was startled when Twitch jumped up on the ledge on the other side of the window.
“Hey!! Cheese!! Happy Solstice!!” Twitch looked so happy, but Cheese just looked….puzzled.
“What is Solstice, Twitch?” Cheese made himself comfortable, for he knew this would probably be one of Twitches’ long stories.
“Well,” Twitch began, “Solstice is a holiday some humans celebrate—for them, it’s a time to celebrate the Return of the Sun. And, as all outdoor cats know, tonight will be the longest night of the year, BUT beginning tomorrow, each day will be a little longer…and warmer!’ Twitch purred in happy anticipation. “Evergreen Marsh has invited me to his humans’ bonfire tonight…he says they will be burning a Yule log. There will be food and heat! Want to come?”
“Ohhh….no thank you,” Cheese shivered at the thought of all that fire. “Banana and I have….um…we’re….uh…scratching our wishes to Kitty Klaws tonight! Yeah! That’s what we’re doing—scratching our wishes…” Cheese was relieved he had thought of something to do, so he wouldn’t have to tell Twitch that he was really afraid of the fire. Besides, they really did need to figure out what to say to Kitty Klaws.
“Well, suit yourself,” Twitch shrugged. “I plan to be warm tonight, and then tomorrow, it will stay light a little longer, and before we know it, Spring will be here and there will be lots of little ones running through your back yard! Yes indeed, this is a very important night for all wild animals like me. Well, see you in a few days—I can’t wait to see Kitty Klaws either!” With a happy flick of her tail, Twitch was gone.
Cheese sat at the window a little longer, thinking about all the human holidays that were celebrated this time of the year—there had been so many already, and Cheese knew of even more holidays to come: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year. Each holiday was special to some group of humans, and the humans had unique traditions for each holiday. But no matter what holiday the humans celebrated, they were convinced their cats should be included, because of course cats did not have any holidays of their own, and would probably be sad this time of the year if they weren’t included in whatever the humans were doing.