Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

February 16, 2012

On The Bright Side Feb. 15, 2012 By Mary Howell

On The Bright Side

Feb. 15, 2012

By Mary Howell

Mary’s note

The following column was written by my niece, Kay Murphy Fatheree

Half a “stache” is better than none at all

By Kay Murphy Fatheree

It was inevitable, and I am not afraid to admit it. I am a cat lover. My brother, Doug is one too. We must have inherited this trait from our parents, Neal and Clara, as I think back on all the felines that have found their way into our homes and hearts over the years.

When I was about seven and little brother was four, we acquired two new pets; a pair of handsome, young brothers, who were about three months old.

None of us is able to recall who we got the cats from, possibly the friend of a friend, but we drove for what seemed like an eternity, clear across Houston to arrive at our destination.  I don’t remember the people that we got them from, but I do remember the gentle and friendly pair of beautiful black and white brothers that Doug and I chose. We cradled them in our arms like newborn babes as we entered the back seat of our Ford Fairlane. We soon began mulling over names for our new pets as we began the long trek back home to Bellaire, Texas.

When I asked Dad what breed our new cats were, Dad said they were “alley cats.“ I figured that the term referred to black and white cats as they both had black fur over about two-thirds of their bodies with white making a nice contrast. The white covered their bellies, necks and part of their faces and they both donned white “socks” of varying lengths.

The one I was holding had a solid black nose with a white line going upwards alongside his right nostril and he had a bright, white “smile,” adorable white cheeks and big, round green eyes.

Doug’s little guy was most handsome and had one very unique feature. He had a solid white nose that ended in a point perfectly symmetrical between his sparkling, yellow eyes. His chin and neck were snow-white along with his “smile” which seemed never-ending.

The markings on his face were perfectly symmetrical with the exception of one little feature: he had a perfectly formed black moustache just on the right side of his nose. We all commented on how cute his little half moustache was.

We debated on a few names, but nothing seemed to fit. Finally Mom called out from her position in the driver’s seat, “How about Mush and Puff!”

I said, “Those are perfect names, since Doug’s has half of a ‘mushstash.’”

The word “moustache” had not come up yet in my list of weekly spelling words. That word probably didn‘t come up until at least, fifth or sixth grade. I thought that the word was pronounced and spelled “mushstash,” and that Mom was suggesting the name “Mush” because he had half a “mushstash.” It was perfectly logical for my seven-year-old brain and second-grade spelling level.

“No! I said ’Muff’ and ’Puff,’” Mom exclaimed as she turned her head towards the back seat so that I could see her mouth more clearly as she over-emphasized the “F” sound in the name.

“But I like Mush and Puff,” I said. “See his half a ‘mushstash,‘” I said. Doug agreed and soon we convinced Mom to let us keep the names. After all, she was the one that had suggested them.

And so, we had the perfect names for our new additions.

Mush and Puff were some of the most gentle cats we ever had. The brothers, who grew to be fairly big boys, loved being petted and would sit in our laps for as long as we would sit still. They even slept with Doug and I.

They really loved the Christmas season. We always got a real tree and they were particularly fascinated with the shiny ornaments and silver tinsel. Mush especially loved to play with the ornaments and I remember Puff shimmering up the trunk of our tree one year.

On occasion, one of them, and we never knew which one, would  tear open some of the beautifully wrapped gifts laying underneath the tree.

Just thinking about Mush and Puff brings a smile to this cat lovers’ face as I am typing up this story for my aunt, another cat lover.

Over the years, I have ended up with cats named Punkin, Shadow, Zoe, Miss Kitty, Mama Cat and Lucky (who ended up not being so lucky) and all of them hold special places in my heart, but none of them ever had such a perfectly suited name as our Mush.

Currently, I am going through cat withdrawals because I had to leave my cats behind when my husband, Lester, and I relocated from Wyoming to Abilene a year and a half ago, (but that’s another story for another day.) As soon as circumstances allow, I know that I will have another cat, or two or three or more, some day. I have told Lester many times that, if anything ever happens to him, I will never remarry, and will probably end up as some crazy old lady who lives out in the country somewhere with about 5,000 cats running around the house, plus a few more sleeping in her bed!

For now, I rely on my cat memories like Mush’s bright half moustache to sustain me! And yes, I have since learned to pronounce and spell “moustache” correctly.

The moral of this story would be to embrace the uniqueness of all those around us, whether they are human or feline. Mush’s remarkable “stache” was a shining example of seeing things as assets that others might consider flaws.

Whether you are a cat lover, dog lover, are young, not-so-young, can grow a full beard or moustache, only have half of a moustache, or have no hair at all, try to bring out the “bright side” in others and always let others see “the bright side” in you.

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