“Bikini season” is a foreign concept to felines.
Muffin would be especially puzzled by this case of foolish human beanery.
Life experience has a way of throwing things into perspective. There’s a good reason there are no atheists in foxholes, or prima donnas in refugee camps, or almonds in Mounds. But I digress.
Muffin experienced a lifetime of experience with her pre-pre-TP people. Her pop – let’s call him Lt. Muffin - had fought for freedom in World War II. The years had slowed the good Lieutenant down, and the loss of his wife – Muffin’s (human) momma – was a harder blow than any he’d taken on the battlefield. It was at this point that, in failing health, the old patriot enacted another feat of courage. Unable to care for his furry companion himself, but unwilling to abandon the cat his bride had cherished, he made way for Muffin to come to Tabby’s Place. At times like these, we want to rename the Exceptional Circumstances Program the Great American Hero Haven.
And so Lt. Muffin made his tearful farewell, and a fortunate set of circumstances brought a plump and doughy little cat to Tabby’s Place. Tabby-and-white, with a face as round as a doughnut, Muffin was sweeter than a sprinkle and better for body and soul than all the bran in the Eastern theater. (Fortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a geopolitical conflict over high-fiber grains. Yet, anyway.) Fearful at first, and missing the home and the senior soldier she’d loved, Muffin slowly and surely crawled out of her foxhole cubby and into the whirl of Suite C.
Today it’s fair to say that round little Muffin is a four-star general in her suite. There are some kooky quirksters in Suite C, but the gentle little cat with 50’s vintage charm and Donna Reed manners holds her own. I imagine it’s not always easy living with five-pound dynamos who fire diarrhea all over the house at will – and that’s just the staff Hootz. Then there’s cranky Katrina and break-the-sound-barrier Russell. Even under the best of circumstances (which this might actually be), going from an only-cat reign to the wild west of having 10-15 batty roommates can’t be easy.
But it can be good – and, by Muffin’s lights, it’s a whole lot of deep-down goodness. This is a cat who genuinely enjoys the softness of each blanket, the warmth of every touch, the ever-changing view of the lobby, and even the melodies of chattery Mango. Muffin has learned that the secret to success is contentment.
I have a feeling the good Lieutenant taught her a thing or two about that.
So I can only imagine how perplexed Muff would be if she should overhear humans whining about their…well, muffin-tops. Her round-faced wonder would say it all: Is this really your priority? Is this what matters in life? Doesn’t the joy in your universe crowd out that flapdoodle and jibber-jabber?
And most to the point: Don’t you realize this is war, human beans?
She’s right – this is a battlefield. Every day we choose whether to curl up in fetal position and let little lacks and losses batter us…or to fight for the hard-won, unstealable contentment of a round-faced cat (and a good many wise-hearted humans). I’m certainly no consistent victor in this war – “the Big One” if there ever was one. But Muffin, and Lt. Muffin, urge me forward.
This summer, Muffin, you and your pa are among my heroes. We will weep when you leave us for that inevitable forever home…but most of all, we’ll hang onto the joy you choose to claim every day.
PS: Special thanks to The Bravest Man In All The Land for snapping the photo of Princess Muffin; to Karen for staging that photo; and for Muff herself for permitting it!