Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Ralphie Boy



As dawn broke over the mountain and lit the way just enough for me to make my way to the coffee pot I spied something shiny in its reflection. At the same time a rooster crowed across the Chattahooche River, I heard the same noise that had tried to penetrate my dreams the night before and my bare foot slid when it touched down upon something foreign to it. 

Belech! Belech!

I'm not sure which cat it is from but from past experience I knew it would be my big boy, Ralphie. He's a thrower-upper, a puker, a master of the upchuck and it's always in the most obvious place waiting for my foot to join with it. It could be worse, I guess, it could be on the computer or in the center of my bed. That's the one thing about my boy: he's considerate of his Momma G.

We are not at home right now but it might turn out to be our new home in the next few months. We like it here: There's a screened porch for sitting; a swing for swinging and best of all, rivers for floating and fly fishing. The screened porch offers both of us the chance to be outside to watch the birds, the bees, the deer, and the occasional bear to wander by. It's isolated and private and Ralphie really likes it here.

Belech! Belech!

I follow the sound with my freshly poured cup of coffee in hand and spy my Ralphie sitting under a chair on the screened porch. My other foot lands in a slimy puddle and now I, at least, have a matching pair. Where did I put those slippers?

"Hey, buddy, you got an upset stomach?" I ask him. He responds in one of his more lyrical voices. It's hard to describe Ralphie's vocal sounds. They range from a howl, to a full-throated serenade and when he's really in great voice to a "Shut UP, RALPH!" (I'm not kidding!) Yes, sometimes he has to be scolded. I don't call him Ralph Malph for nothing.

He comes out from under the chair and jumps up on my lap as I sit down to enjoy the morning air. The porch is soon colored in morning sunlight and I can see several more piles of vomit on the floor. "Looks like we're going to have to go back to the vet," I tell him. No response from him other than a quick turn of the head as a bird lands on the railing outside the screen and sings a morning greeting.

"Oh, God," I hear from from inside. "Who's been throwing up? Is it Ralphie?"

"Yes, I think so,"  I reply. "He's gotta go back to the vet."

"Crap."

Crap indeed. For the vet is 75-miles away and the only way to get there is on mountain and curvy winding roads. Did I mention that Ralphie isn't a very good traveler? He's a puker, a thrower-upper and a multiple user of the litter box on any journey near or far.

Belech! Belech!

Three hours and many upchucks later, we have settled back in at home and Ralphie has been to the vet. He has an over-active thyroid and will have his medication increased. He also received a shot to settle his stomach.

A few hours later, Ralphie no longer looks green and is back in his favorite resting place: the clothes hamper. I'm suddenly not feeling so well and feel the dry mouth and pangs in my stomach at the same time.

Belech! Belech!

I make it to the bathroom just in time to lose my lunch (bad Chinese?) and hear a voice from the other room. "Oh crap, not you too?"

Crap indeed. It is me but I'm too unwell to answer back. I hear a noise and then feel the soft brush of my Ralphie Boy as he rubs against me. In a matter of a few hours our roles have changed. "Meow," he says in a half purring tone.

"Thanks, buddy," I said. "Let's go take a nap. I'm wore out."

"Meow," is his reply.

Even though he communicates in a different way, at that moment, we understood each other. He's my Ralphie Boy and I'm his Momma G. We belong to each other.

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