Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Birth of an Obsession (A Dolby Story)

It was Thanksgiving Day, 1995. We didn’t travel that year, owing in part to the recent feline addition to our family. But in my newlywed zeal, I was not going to miss a single detail of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. Mom’s Dutch apple pie, mashed potatoes, squash, homemade stuffing, gravy and, of course, an enormous turkey. Maybe there was a green vegetable in there. Maybe not.

For hours the mingling scents of savory and sweet foods grew and flowed through our apartment. I put out the table ware—it was just the two of us (three?) so I didn’t bother with the formal china, set out trivets to hold all the hot dishes, opened the wine and started the coffee.

Dolby was taut with anticipation. At a mere eleven weeks old, he had, of course, never experienced anything like this and he was understandably curious. He was never far from my feet as I bustled back and forth from kitchen to dining room.

At last, we sat down to eat. I do not remember at what exact point in the meal I invited Dolby into my lap and offered him a taste, but the timing is not important. What matters is that in that moment, Dolby experienced turkey for the first time. And he would never be the same.

We passed the meal in companionable cheer and after pie and coffee started dismantling the spread that had taken all morning to assemble. Dan helped gather serving dishes and trivets, china and silverware and we scooted back and forth to the kitchen to cover various bowls with foil and return the left-overs to the refrigerator.

On one of our return trips to the dining room, we noted the obvious disappearance of a rather large object from the table: an entire turkey leg. Its location was revealed in short order by a small but unmistakable deep-throated growl. We looked down in disbelief to see Dolby, back arched, eyes sparking, jaw locked around a piece of meat nearly twice his size.

Dan and I exchanged glances. What should we do? Well, obviously, we needed to get the turkey leg away from the cat. Dan dutifully bent to pick up the piece of meat and we were both stunned when Dolby puffed out menacingly and let out a threatening yowl, part growl, part hiss, all muffled by the enormous object in his mouth.

We started laughing. Hysterically, I’m afraid. Which didn’t help Dolby’s self-esteem much, but he really didn’t care. A second attempt at the turkey leg resulted in a similar garbled-mouthful-growl-hiss-puff performance which, of course, sent us into paroxysms of mirth. Dolby was steadily backing up, dragging the leg along the floor toward his regular hideout under the corner shelf. I didn’t have the heart to point out there was no way both the cat AND the leg would fit underneath.

On the third attempt, Dolby’s claws went flying, tiny and needle-sharp, and Dan took pause.

“I’m not taking that away from him!” he yelled when he’d recovered a bit from laughing.

“Well he can’t have it,” I breathlessly insisted.

“What am I supposed to do?!?” wheezed Dan.

Then it came to him. He disappeared into the kitchen for a moment and returned wearing two oven mitts. I couldn’t help it. I completely lost it again.

Thus, with mighty oven mitts to protect his hands from being shredded by ten tiny daggers, Dan bravely pried the stolen turkey leg from the unyielding jaws of a ½-pound kitten. His wife was of no help whatsoever.

And from that day forward, turkey was never to be left unattended in the Moir household. Well… maybe a few times.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent holiday post. Cute Dolby! :)