Saturday, January 05, 2013

Travel Stuff and the Cat Named Fred

The rest of the family is now at home so I will go ahead and tell the world that we were all gone for over a week.

Once upon a time I posted about the children feeding the neighbors' animals while they were gone and a random friend of the neighbors said, "Hey, I knew I could break into your house if I wanted to because I read on Life in the Shoe that you were gone."


So I didn't tell the world where we were, so you wouldn't break in and steal my Polish pottery, and also because I was out of wi-fi range most of the time, and also because I would rather talk with my amazing family members than post.

So.  Not that there's anything valuable at our house (besides Polish pottery) to steal, but Steven is home now, so don't try it.

I spoke at a ladies' retreat in Reading yesterday and today, and now after driving down I-76, known as The Turnpike, and then driving in all 4 points of the compass over mountain roads, and crossing Fortune Teller Creek three times, and asking a drawling hunter for directions, I'm in a Starbucks with Amy, who will continue at SMBI and will also haul me to the airport on Monday.

Goodness, how do I even begin to summarize this trip?

A few things come to mind:

Bad: I hate finding my way on Pennsylvania roads.  I cannot tell you how much I hate this.  I say this with venom and bitterness in my voice and heart.  I hate roads that say North but do not go north.  I also hate Google maps.

Good: I like Pennsylvania people.  Like Annette and Jay and their little love-bug Justice, and Curt and Tresa who were in Thailand with us and fed us at Shady Maple, and the lovely ladies at the Cornerstone Ladies' Retreat, and Barb who gives wonderful, detailed directions that are not like Google Maps, and also the drawly hunter at the little convenience store who said I can follow him and he'll take me to 655--with no evil intent, I am positive, but he gave such good directions I declined his offer--and my sister Margaret and her crew, and all the rest of you--you know who you are.

Starbucks is closing soon and I'll lose my internet connection so I will tell you the story of The Koehns' Strange Cat.

The cat is yellow and big.  His name is Fred.

He likes to be held, not because he is loving and cuddly, but because he is a king and this is what his subjects should do.

One day I went up the stairs of the 150-year-old farmhouse to our bedroom.  Fred stood in the doorway and looked at me like Ok, get busy.

Then he went in the bathroom and looked at me again.  I was supposed to do something, but what?

He hopped into the bathtub.  I thought, Ok, this is not what cats normally do.

Maybe he's thirsty. I put in the plug and put in just enough water to make a little puddle.  he didn't drink it.

I brushed my teeth.

He looked at me like  Hello??  O Slave, do you still not get it?

He began licking the drips from the faucet.

Ah ha!
I turned on the faucet just a teeny bit and also pulled the plug.

Fred turned up his head and drank.  Licklicklicklicklick.

He was happy.

I turned off the faucet.

That is an unusual cat, I think.


  1. If you are at Starbucks close to SMBI, you must be very near to my house!
    I like PA roads but I do sympathize with those who haven't grown up with them. I guess it's why I to this day have a poor sense in what direction, say, north is. I just read the sign and go by what it tells me. :)

  2. Ah, Pennsylvania roads! Is there really any map program that can direct one who has not actually driven the road before? I am also very "jealous" that you got to eat at Shady Maple! I live around 8 hours from there (at least according to Google Maps :- )but try and go any time I am on that side of PA!

  3. I'm happy to say I'm your newest follower by e-mail. I received one of your books as a gift from a good friend yesterday and can't wait to get started. It's 'Tea and Trouble Brewing'. I work at the library and have another one of your books on request. Can't wait to get to know you. This may inspire me to start blogging again, who knows? I do it quite sporadically. ~ Beth Russo

  4. Loved your Fred the Cat story! Yes, all humans are cat slaves--even those who don't own any cats but dare to venture into homes where cats rule:) In such homes, even wise dogs know their proper place...
    Have a good, safe trip back home.

  5. That's what I get for not reading all my blogs! I live 20 min from Shady Maple...I might have actually MET you! You were in Reading too...
    I do sympathize w/ you about the roads. N Rt 897 is also named West Swartzville Rd

  6. In the SF bay area -where I grew up- there is a section of the highway used by (at least) 3 differently labeled roads. My dad loved to say that we were driving North on #1, South on #2 and West (or East) on #3
    The East or West was determined by the actual South or West direction you were traveling. I wish I could tell you the exact ## of the roads. It's a section that runs on the east side of SF Bay next to Berkeley.
    Thanks for that memory of Dad