So, I saw the Jacksons coming down the street last night walking their extremely lethargic Greyhound, Joseph. Greyhounds as you may know are famed for their ability to run very fast, especially when chasing mechanical rabbits. There are even places that a person can go and watch them race. I suppose a cat could go too, but I don’t know why one would want to. If greyhounds aren’t chasing mechanical rabbits, they don’t want to move at all. Anyway, when people go to these dog tracks they bet money on which dog will be the fastest. I’ve heard Mike say that there is a dog track in Alabama not terribly far from here where people go and lose their hard earned money. It’s a kind of addiction I guess, an obsession of the mind. It was chilly last night, so Joseph was wearing his ridiculous multicolored blanket-coat that serves to keep him warm in the cold weather. He kept his head down as they walked by. He knew what I was thinking, and I knew that he knew what I was thinking. And of course he knew that I knew that he knew what I was thinking; which was of course that he looked absurd wearing that stupid coat. Another bad moment for a dog. Life is good.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Joseph isn’t the greyhound’s name at all. His name is Bubba. I just call him Joseph because the coat reminds me of that Bible story about Joseph, the next to the youngest son of the Jewish patriarch, Jacob. Jacob was a complicated dude, and it’s worth looking at him more deeply; but first, the coat. I don’t know if you have seen the wallpaper theme on Mike’s phone. I don’t suppose you could have but it’s probably on many others. It’s a Samsung, maybe a 5 or 6. It’s a geometric pattern with many colors going from various shades of yellow to orange to red to purple to green and blue. Joseph’s coat is kind of like that except the lines are more curved than straight. There is also some reflective thread woven in to it so that if they’re walking at night he can be seen easily when car headlights strike it. Not that he ever goes out walking by himself, but considering what a bad idea the coat is, this part of it is probably a good idea. Unlike Joseph “Bubba”Jackson, Joseph the son of Jacob, loved his coat. For one thing it was very attractive and expensive. For another, it signified that he was the favorite son of his father and it symbolized all the privilege that he held in the family. But all that glitters is not gold and later in the story the coat, soaked with blood, shows back up on Jacob’s lap together with a big lie that Joseph must have been killed by a wild animal. One thing about the Bible is that it doesn’t always reflect the patriarchs or their offspring in a good light. In fact, it’s clear that people were just as rotten then as they are now, thousands of years later. Maybe worse.
At this time of year in the Jewish calendar the story of Jacob comes up. He is sent to a relative to find a wife. Jacob also needed to get out of Dodge because he had cheated his older brother, Esau, out of his birthright. His brother came home from his day’s activities tired, hungry, and thirsty, and traded his birthright for a sandwich and a beer; or something like that. He also tricked his father, Isaac, who had lost his eyesight, with his mother’s assistance and encouragement, into giving him his blessing instead of giving it to Esau. But it’s obvious from the text that Isaac knew it was Jacob and not Esau, so what’s up with that? Rachel’s relative, Laban, cheats Jacob and makes him work for him for 14 years before he can marry his daughter Rachel. In the meantime Laban tricks Jacob into marrying another daughter, Leah, who must not have been as pretty as Rachel. More trickery ensues and Jacob tricks Laban into giving him most of his flocks of sheep and goats. If this is hard to follow, don’t worry about it. You get the idea. After 20 years of this, Jacob decides it’s time to go home, reunite with his family, and make peace with Esau. But he has no idea if Esau is going to accept his apology. It seems that Esau doesn’t know either, and there is a good likelihood that he is going to cut Jacob’s throat. The night before they get back together Jacob goes off and sleeps by himself. A being comes to him in the night and they wrestle for hours. Jacob’s hip is dislocated in the fight, but neither prevails. At daybreak the being insists that he has to leave and that Jacob let him go. Jacob demands a blessing in exchange for his release. The being blesses him and tells him that he now has a new name, Israel, which translates from the Hebrew to “he wrestled with God”. This is a marvelous story with all kinds of spiritual and psychological implications. I particularly like the name change which signifies that he is transformed into a person with heightened spiritual awareness and a sense of humility and purpose. As Israel he is able to meet with his brother and make peace with him. I think that neither one of them are actually that crazy about each other but they don’t fight any more throughout their lifetimes. The story has all the classic elements of a heroic quest. I might talk more about this some time. In my grandfather Black Jack’s story “Autobiography of a Georgia Cat” he relates our most important feline myth, the Tale of First Cat, who through his heroic actions, guided by spiritual forces, saves the world; and in the process his name is changed to Follows the Sun. If you are interested, look it up. You might enjoy it.
But enough of that for now. When I got home I went into the family room and Mike and Judy were in there watching a little TV. The other 3 cats were also in there nosing around. There is a big chair in the family room that has an Afghan draped over the back. The Afghan is extremely soft. Ladybug was on the Afghan making biscuits very slowly. People refer to the kneading behavior of cats as making biscuits. Kittens knead their mother’s tummies to induce the release of milk. Domesticated adult cats retain the kneading behavior. It seems to calm us down and give us pleasure. It is often accompanied by loud purring. I don’t think feral cats make biscuits but I’m not sure. I’ve seen cats making biscuits on other cats, blankets, the furniture, people, and even dogs. It was obvious from the look on Ladybug’s face and her demeanor that she was having a relationship with the Afghan. She was really deep into it when I got there. It reminded me of Tiger who used to have a relationship with the same Afghan. Tiger is no longer with us. You could tell that he was having a relationship with the Afghan because as he was making the biscuits you could see his little erection appearing all pink and everything under his tummy. Mike and Judy called this behavior making wiener biscuits.It was pretty funny. I heard about some guy that got caught texting a picture of his own private parts to some woman, not his wife. I think he was some big shot in Washington DC or New York or someplace. Mike told me his name was Mr. Weiner. You can’t make this stuff up.
I’m sure that you know that wiener is another name for a type of sausage commonly known as a hot dog. Mike grew up in Chicago which has a rich hot dog tradition. He and his friends used to go to a Vienna Hot Dog stand on 83rd Street where they would gorge themselves on these delicacies. Traditionally, Chicago-style hot dogs are all beef, steamed, and served on a poppy seed bun. The bun is then piled high with chopped white onions, yellow mustard, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, sliced tomato, celery salt, and pickled peppers. Notice that ketchup is not included. To this day Mike does not put ketchup on his hot dogs. When he and Judy were in Chicago a couple of years ago he made a point of treating her to a Chicago-style hot dog. I think they had the meal at the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you are ever in Chicago, I suggest that you have a local hot dog experience. One of the things Mike likes the most about traveling is eating foods that he can’t get at home, and may never have tried before.
This might not mean anything to anyone else, but I would like to make note of the fact that I have been blogging now for one year. It’s been a lot of fun and I plan on keeping it up. There is too much good stuff going on in Happy Meadows to keep it all to myself. Here’s wishing merry biscuit making to everyone, and to all a good night.