I have written so many articles about Cleo I’ve lost count. That’s because she takes up a lot of my time and spends all her off-hours thinking of new ways to keep me on my toes. No matter. You may rest assured I shall not allow Cleo to take over my column. For one thing, she does not have the imagination to make up the stories. All that interests Cleo is playing outdoors, sleeping, getting her head scratched, petting when she wants one and getting fed. Besides, her paws will not hit the keys of my keyboard with enough exactitude to make anything read right.
Cleo is giving me a new problem. She has decided she wants to go riding in my car with me. I like to think I can handle nearly any problem that comes along. Besides, I have learned to think in the moment and not allow my past mistakes haunt me. The past is prolog for the future and, although I have made more than my share of dumb moves in my life, I hope I have learned something from my mistakes. For that reason, I live in the moment. With my writing and my family and friends, I am a happy man.
Except Cleo keeps spoiling my serenity. Like a bad penny that keeps turning up, she continues to try my patience and shatter my peace. I’ll give you an example. My old Jeep is parked right next to my front porch. When I go somewhere, all I have to do is button up the house (there’s nothing much of value inside anyway that anyone would interest anyone) and take off. When I leave, I do not worry about Cleo. Cleo will be in her bed above my cargo file box sleeping, or she will be in the yard playing or catching flies.
That’s all right. I leave extra food and water for her. I know she has learned to stay out of the road and, in extreme circumstances, should some stray dog come around, Cleo and Calico Two, my outdoor cat, have trees nearby to climb… or a roof, as Cleo did last week. If Cleo picks the roof for safe haven, now, since her last escapade, she knows I will look there should I find her missing.
Cleo has chosen a Brand New Way to surprise me. This morning, when I got in my car to go to the Upper Lake Post Office and Lakeport to take care of some chores, without warning, Cleo, who had been waiting for me in the back, climbed on my shoulder and sat down in the passenger seat next to me. She had waited for me planning to go with me on my next trip.
I couldn’t have that. She is not one to tie to a leash, and she is unpredictable. If I got to town and she climbed out to explore the world, that would be the last I would see of her.
I picked her up, unlocked my front door, and tossed her into the house. Now, every time I go out, I have an extra chore; to search the Jeep to make sure my cat is not biding her time to hitchhiking. Knowing Cleo, she will find a way to outsmart me one of these days. If that happens and she really gets lost, I shall call on my Lake County friends to watch for her and send her home.