Wednesday, July 14, 2010

cat s***

I had a friend in West Virginia while I was a priest there who looked, for all the world, like my imagination of Icabod Crane from The Headless Horseman and once said 'cat s***' in a sermon.

It was like this: he was preaching about the raising of Lazarus and he was trying to think of a way to describe how L. might have smelled after being dead for three days in the heat of Palestine. Unfortunately, he'd not prepared his sermon faithfully, having been visiting the sick, comforting the dying and doing the kind of pastoral work that is the bedrock of being a priest. So, on the spur of the moment the best he could do is "Cat S***".

Well, you might imagine that someone called the Bishop and the Bishop called Lowell (not my friend's real name since we must change the name to protect the Cat S*** sermon people) and warned him magisterially never, ever, not ever, never again to say Cat S*** in a sermon.

Can you imagine the pressure that put on Lowell? He was not the brightest globe in the chandelier and really wasn't a great preacher--though he was a marvelous priest. Once the Bishop put in his head that he couldn't say "Cat S***" ever again, every word that was about to come out of his mouth of a Sunday sermon began with Cat and ended with Shit.

We used to have four cats. Catherine, Millie, Chuck (or 'Fatty' as we called him in our good our bad moments it was "Fat F***") and Luke. They all died in the last year and a half or so except Luke. They actually died--the three that did--in adverse order of our love for them: Katherine (Millie's mother), then Millie (pitiful she was) and then Chuck (who in anyone's estimate, even devoted cat lovers, was mean, disgusting and awful.) But he died hard and suffered more than we should have let him.

So, we're left with Luke, who we call Puppy Cat because he comes when you call him and is a dog in cat's fur. He was our favorite always (BY THE WAY, HAVE I BLOGGED THIS BEFORE? I'M HAVING DEJA VU AND AM GROWING OLD AND FORGETFUL....)

But, going from 4 cats to 1 we've gotten lax about the litter box--we used to have two and cleaned them daily. Luke is fastidious and likes a clean box. When he sees me change it he goes right in and forces himself to expel waste, whether he needs to or not.

So, Luke has, several times now, left the waste product poor, benighted Lowell used in his sermon in places it doesn't belong. I believe he's become more fastidious without those other cats around and can't abide a moderately used litter box. So, since I'm retired and looking for stuff to do, I'm going to clean it everyday and pray he doesn't s*** on the couch again.

But Lowell, God love him, was right, something that's been dead for three days probably does smell as bad as Cat S***.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.