Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Matinee

One cold, Saturday morning, Banana watched as Gale walked, back and forth, across the backyard.  Back and forth, back and forth she went.  She appeared to be carrying things, but mostly Banana noticed the back and forth motion, and the footprints Gale was leaving in the snow.  Soon a little path was worn in the snow, and Banana began to wonder if….maybe…she could sneak out…and…skip along the head-high (for her) snow tunnel Gale had made…
All of a sudden, it made sense; Banana knew what Gale was doing, and she ran off to find Cheese.  She knew right where he was—snoozing in the sunbeam—and, because she was so excited, Banana rolled to a stop…on top of Cheese. 
“Ooooooph!” Cheese snorted.  “Get. Off.  What is wrong with you?”
“No time for chit-chat, Cheese!”  Banana huffed.  “You know those treats you have hidden in your secret place on the bookshelf in the basement?”
“What?!” Cheese exclaimed.  “How did you….Banana! I thought I hid them really well this time!”  Cheese’s whiskers twitched; he was angry and surprised.
“No time to talk about your lack of imagination now!  Hurry down and get them, then meet me back at the big window.”
“Ok,” Cheese stretched. 
Banana “helped” him along by giving him a shove.  “Get all of them!  We may be there a while!”
5.3927 minutes later, Cheese struggled up to the floor-to-ceiling window where Banana was already sitting, tail twitching behind her.  He gently dropped the bandana full of cat treats on the floor beside her. 
“Now will you tell me what’s going on?” Cheese demanded. 
Banana shushed him.  “Quiet!  The show’s about to start!”
Cheese looked around.  “Where??”
Banana slowly brought her paw to the window.  “There!  And be quiet.  And hand me a tuna one.”  Her paw slowly moved from the window to Cheese’s bag of cat treats. 
Cheese looked in the direction of Banana’s point.  
“Ooooooh…” was all he could manage.
“Squirrels...I’ve missed them so!” purred Banana.
Indeed, it was quite a show outside the window.  Gale had put fresh corn cobs on the Squirrel Wheel.  The cats watched as the squirrels spun the wheel round and round, in an effort to get kernels off of the cobs.  Cheese noticed the hungry look in Banana’s eyes, so he handed her another tuna treat. 
Gale had also filled the bird feeders.  The two cats didn’t know which way to look as the window suddenly filled with the speckled brown birds (Starlings).  As they landed, Cheese tried to count them, but they were hopping and flitting around too quickly.  “3, 4, 5…11!  Drat!”  In his frustration, Cheese hit his paw on the window.  The starlings scattered.
“Well, thanks to you, it’s Intermission!” Banana growled at Cheese, “I’ll be back in a minute….I’ve got to use the litter box.” 
When Banana returned 3.896 minutes later, it was Cheese’s turn to shush Banana.  “Slowly come up to the window, and quietly look toward the string line.” His paw inched toward the clothes line, where Gale had hung the suet cake.  Banana’s eyes grew bigger as she looked at the black and white spotted bird (Downy Woodpecker) hanging off the wire feeder. 
“I haven’t seen one of those in ages!” Banana excitedly whispered. 
As the afternoon wore on, the cats enjoyed quite a show.  They nibbled treats as they watched all the birds flying up to, and off of, the rapidly emptying feeders.  The cats couldn’t name them, but there were White-Breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, House Finches, and House Sparrows.  Occasionally, their gaze was drawn up into the trees, where the bright red male Cardinals were resting. 
As the shadows grew longer across the yard, and the cats began to feel drowsy, Cheese reached for one last treat. 
“Hey!  What???  Banana!  Did you eat them ALL?”   His paw moved all around inside the bandana, but all that was left were the crumbs.
“Well,” Banana started to explain, but Cheese’s frantic movements had frightened the birds, and there was a flutter of feathers.  “Cheese!  Drat!  I think our show just ended!”  Banana looked sadly out the window.
“Oh, cheer up, Banana.”  Cheese pointed at some slow-moving birds under the feeder.  The pair of Mourning Doves were joined by some very fat Robins.  “There are still a few to keep you occupied while I….um…look for a new place to hide…errr…store…THESE!”  With that, Cheese jumped up and ran toward the basement, three small treats clutched firmly in his teeth.  They had been hidden under his back paw all afternoon, because, well, Cheese knew how much Banana loved treats. 
Distracted, Banana thought about following Cheese, but in the end, she turned back to the window. 
“I’m too full,” she burped.  “Besides, it’s time for the next show.”
And indeed it was “time for the next show”, as four squirrels scampered down from the back fence and up to the Wheel.