Charley watching over her pride | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley watching over her pride | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(The continuing adventures of Charley, the little black cat that Tim sent me the day after he passed. Read all about her shenanigans here. -jb)

Ok, first of all, I can’t believe I haven’t posted a Charley story since August. That’s when a bat got into the house, Charley turned into Tippi Hedren, and chaos ensued.

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In my defense, I spent a good portion of the fall hauling and stacking firewood, in addition to all the other chores. Tim was always in charge of the wood detail, so now that falls to me. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but I also find it therapeutic. The meditative nature of moving and stacking firewood is a good way to work through grief. More on that anon.

Also, I’ve had so many stories and opinion pieces come in about Township news – namely, the winery lawsuit and Seven Hills issues — that much of my work-time has been delegated to writing and editing those. While Township news is important, I need to do better at balancing it out with other stories, like Old Mission history, recipes, people profiles, photos and, of course, Charley stories. Going forward, I will do better. I don’t want you leaving in droves.

I also have a lot of emotional anniversaries in December and January, including losing Tim on Jan. 5, so sometimes it’s tough to push through all of that and be productive. But I’m working on it. Partly because it gives me something to focus on, and partly because, well, I still have a mortgage and bills to pay (thank you, dear readers, for supporting local news).

Add into this the fact that my son Will and I have been sick, and it’s been a challenge to get much done around here lately. We tested negative for Covid, so I guess it’s one of the hundreds of other bugs going around right now. Something in between a head cold and the plague.

Anyway, everyone is dealing with their own personal brand of grief and loss, so we just do the best we can and keep moving forward, right? Right.

My Charley story today actually involves me and Will convalescing with the head cold/plague. If you’ve been reading the Gazette for a while, you know that Charley has always stuck close to me if she knows I’m having a sad day or a rough spell. She’s very intuitive that way.

Well, she had her work cut out for her the past few weeks. First, Will got sick, and she was pretty much glued to his side for the duration. When he started feeling better and I got sick, she turned her magical healing powers to me, sticking close to me for the duration. And by “close,” I mean as close as she can possibly get.

Charley sticking close | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley sticking close | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley sticking close | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley sticking close | Jane Boursaw Photo

Sometimes, she’s just a little too close. My friend Madison says this is when they want to be near but don’t want to talk.

Charley sticking close. Very close. | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley sticking close. Very close. | Jane Boursaw Photo

I know that animals have an intuitive sense about their humans. They know when we don’t feel well or when we’re feeling sad. But, it turns out there’s more to it. Further research reveals that cats will always protect the weakest member of the pride.

This cheers me for a variety of reasons. One, yay, we’re part of her pride. Don’t we all need a pride to be part of and to help each other? It reminds me that I’m part of several human prides, too — my family, my writer friends, my church family, my hiking friends, my neighbors, various OMP groups …

I hope you are as blessed with prides as I am, people who will check on you if they don’t hear from you for a day or two.

And really, being part of the OMP community is a pride unto itself. If you put a call out for help, someone will always respond. In fact, lots of OMP’ers are just waiting for a situation where they can be helpful and ready to jump at a moment’s notice. That’s comforting, because, well … see above regarding all of us going through loss and grief.

Back to Charley, or perhaps, your own cat. Have you noticed that sometimes when you wake up in the morning or from a nap, they’re staring at you? There’s a reason for that which, hopefully, doesn’t involve bodily harm. This website says they not only protect us when we don’t feel well, but also while we’re sleeping.

“Being cautious and aware while their owners sleep is one way cats defend themselves. Due to their sharp senses, cats are adept at seeing any changes or potential hazards in their surroundings. They may take up a clever posture so they can keep a close eye on their sleeping owner, such as on the edge of the bed or in a nearby spot. They may become more alert and show symptoms of sharpened awareness if they see something strange or feel a potential threat. They may also release low growls or hisses to ward off any impending danger.”

Charley staring into my soul | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley staring into my soul | Jane Boursaw Photo

Will and I often say that Charley could kill us if she wanted to. That’s a little unnerving. Especially when you wake up and she’s staring into your soul. But since we’re now part of her pride, hopefully she’ll only go into kill-mode if an intruder enters the house or if a Flicker sets off a red alert outside the window.

Now that Will and I are better, she’s back to hanging out at her favorite spot. Onward we go into the second half of January.

Charley and her woodstove | Jane Boursaw Photo
Charley and her woodstove | Jane Boursaw Photo

SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT LOCAL NEWSPAPER: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

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  1. Charley has done her job. And now she must toast in front of that cheery wood stove. Glad you and Will are well. Hello from my peninsula to yours!


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