The snow flies, and I have sad news.
Ampersand has not been home since mid-September. Because I live in the country, and my cats do tend to roam, I try to hope for a return as long as possible. But it snowed several inches yesterday and last night, and I think that a cat who doesn’t come in from the snow, can’t. Yesterday we also saw two quite large coyotes a couple hundred yards up the hill from our house. I’m afraid Ampersand will not be returning. I’m sorry to have to tell you this.
Spook, his brother, has taken up the post of office cat, even to the point of draping himself over my shoulder while I try to type. Sky has also begun sleeping in my office while I work – normally she likes to sleep on the bed because daytime is the only time when she can have the pillows.
I am grateful still to have Spook, who has attached himself to me in the manner of a familiar. He’s my soggy moggy, who comes in wringing wet from the rain, who paddles in the water before he drinks, and who wants to be my towel when I get out of the shower.
I’ve also lost another writing companion. Ann Moore was a member of the Bawdytalkers forum, to which I’ve belonged for the last five years or so. When I and three fellow writers from the Thessalon writers’ group did the Three-Day Novel contest, Ann joined us remotely from her home in New Hampshire. I phoned her at the beginning of the event, at the end and once in the middle. She wrote a sharp little whodunnit, with an amateur sleuth who was also a journalist, as Ann herself had been. Ann and I swapped manuscripts for critique, and I was quite impressed with her story. Like any first draft, it needed work, but I believe she had a publishable murder mystery.
Ann died on October 2nd. We only found out on Thursday, and we found out because we had missed her on the forum and began to wonder if she was all right. Not everyone posts all the time in an online community, so it often takes a while to begin to think something may be wrong. One of our members found her obituary.
It may seem frivolous to compare a cat and a human being, but both Ann and Ampersand were support and comfort to me in the often solitary occupation of writing. Ampersand may not have cared what I wrote, as long as he could drape himself over my shoulder, but Ann was proud of my work and of my accomplishments as a writer, and she cheered me on tirelessly. Her last post on Bawdytalkers was encouragement for me.
I will remember them both with love.