Sometime in December 2021, my hubby M (not only for his first name, but also for MAGNIFICENT), a very large, Jewish man with a pretty big sweet tooth and a sad dearth of suppliers, bemoaned the lack of Christmas cookies that would be finding their way to his table and tummy for the holidays.
Cue the baking.
Four batches promised and produced by yours truly, with help from one youngling, who is speedily maturing out of that term. (No need to mention the proof-of-principle batch that ended up in the trash. Ooops!)
Given the time of year, reflection on the situation was inevitable. How did it come to pass that a Jewish home would be the center of Christmas cookie cookery? As with all things in Pandemica, it basically gets down to increased social and physical distance. Our circle has changed.
In the very best of times, which all times are and are not at the same time, it is rare and special for people to stay in one’s orbit permanently, consistently, constantly, a lot.
Adam and Steven, two of the longest-term Tabby’s Place residents, are familiar with the ebbs, flows, and tides of ever changing companionship (although they are far less familiar with Christmas cookies).
Former suitemates, whether cherished friends or nemeses, are sometimes relocated, like Pepita and Rose, both to the Lobby.
Some slip away from us in a too-final, too painful way, as did sweet Jimmy and my beloved Abey-Baby (you may refer to him more simply as Abe, if you wish).
Some time ago, in the eons that preceded the pandemic, or maybe about 3 or 30,000 years ago, Wonton was brought under the sheltering bough of suite A and began to take comfort from Steven’s calming presence. (Steven has been key to Wonton accepting approaches, then pets, and affection from mere humans – at least this one.)
Forever and a day ago, Roxy quietly took up vigil in the cat tree near the hallway window of suite A, never blinking or budging as Adam slimmed down, lost too much weight, and then rebounded to full-size lovability.
Gator has taken up residency, often preferring the heights of the ramp to the solarium. More observation is required to determine the precise, ongoing impact of this introduction.
Carbon in, Carbon out (adopted), Carbon back in (returned, quacking all the way). Carbon adopted again!
Mishush in, Mishush escapes into hallway (multiple times), Mishush back in.
Adam still there. Steady as ever.
Steven still there. Steady as ever.
There is both comfort and fear in the continued presence of these long-timers that are aging into old-timers. The comfort is in the reliability of their “being there” for a pat, a chat, and a recurring poetry recitation.
The fear is that, as Adam and Steven age, they will reliably remain in suite A, unadopted and dealing with the things that aged cats must deal with. Also, as they age, there is fear that they will become less comfortable with the shifting seas of their sweet world, even as they physically change under the weight of increased seniority.
The exact trajectory of change in suite A can not be foreseen.
However, it is certain that, one day, someone who is around now no longer will be at some future time. One day, Adam’s and Steven’s sources of Christmas cookies will dry up. But, that’s the way these things crumble.
Despite everything that has, will, and can happen, for now these two old pros will keep baking up something good for themselves, their suite-mates, and us.