A Lighter View. . .Reilley

A Lighter View. . .Reilley

By Karen Morris

By Karen M. Morris

Freelance Writer

When my daughter, Leslie, called and announced she’d made me a grandma, I was shocked. How did this happen? Don’t misunderstand, I’m not an idiot. I’ve read Beautiful Butterflies…Busy Bees. But I went shopping with the girl last week, and while I was sampling perfume testers, Leslie was modeling bikinis for Vegas.

“We named him Reilley,” she gushed.


“No. Reilley. And he was the cutest one of the litter.”

“Please tell me he’s a cat.”

“He’s a cat. But not an ordinary cat.”

“What do you mean? He’s a brick layer? Film star? Has only three legs and goes by the nickname Scooter?”

“I was referring to his pedigree. He’s a domesticated shorthair Barnyae, and the breeder said there wasn’t another one in the city of Chicago.”

Apparently, city people call barnyard cats Barnyaes. And unless a farm springs up across the street from Marshall Field’s, Reilley will remain the only Barnyae in downtown Chicago.

“Ahh, my first grandkitty,” I chuckled, “and a domesticated Barnyae to boot. I couldn’t be prouder if I’d been diagnosed with gum disease.”

“Once you meet Reilley, He’ll break your heart.”

“What else will he break?”

“You need to address these negative feelings and spend some time with Reilley. Fortunately, he’ll be free next week to visit you when Patrick and I go to Vegas.”

“No one will take him, huh?”

“You got it. He’ll be on the 9:30 bus with everything you’ll need.”

At the bus station, I watched as the motor coach doors opened. Young men raced to kiss their sweethearts as the poor things stumbled down the steps. Elderly couples piled out in tropical shirts they’d purchased on their “Sexy Seniors” cruise. And freckle faced children hugged their nanas and papas. I was greeted by a bouncing cage with an unhappy Barnyae named Reilley inside.

For carry-on luggage, Reilley had a backpack of toys, a camera and a book to journal his daily thoughts. His other personal effects were stored under the bus–an aluminum foil lasagna pan, a bag of litter with a hole in it, some Yummy Kitty Chow and $50 of spending money, in case Reilley wanted to go bowling or take in a movie. (A baseball team doesn’t take this much equipment when they go on the road.)

The week…according to Reilley.

Saturday: Buses are dreadful. I requested a window seat but was forced to ride under someone’s feet. Fortunately, he had tassels on his shoes, or I don’t think I could’ve kept my sanity.

I groomed myself and then Grandma’s nose. I accidentally spilled my water dish eight times. I deliberately spilled my Kitty Chow because it’s fun to bat the food around the linoleum.

I like Grandpa. We both have unruly whiskers in our ears and like to nap on the couch. He played with my toys all night. Is he a Barnyae, too?

Sunday: Grandma’s bed is huge, but I couldn’t find a place to curl up. I tried to be polite. When I walked over their heads, I’d purr and swat them in the face with my tail. Grandpa put me at the end of the bed so I could bite his toes. Then he put me in the kitchen. I spent the whole night scratching their door and calling them. They thought I was someone named Shut Up.

Monday: Grandma is using a disposable lasagna pan for a litter box. So, I’m not burying my poopies in case she’s confused. My box is starting to look like Stonehenge.

Leo thinks I’m cool because my eyes glow in the dark. Grandma made him stop driving around with me in the back window of his car.

I jumped over a five-foot cardboard barrier into the dining room. Then I crawled into the refrigerator, discovered curtains made great scratching posts and practiced staring. Grandpa calls me Satan.

Tuesday: Last day. Out of treats. Grandpa ate them all. He thought they were M&M’s. I’m getting a cold. I drank some of Grandma’s coffee and sneezed all over her.

Played with a string and practiced walking with a swagger. A smudge on the floor tried to attack me. I hid behind a paper cup ’till Grandma wiped it up. A giant monster was on the deck, so I hissed and puffed my back up. Grandma said I saved them from a dog. Inspected all the closets and got trapped. Grandpa rescued me when he saw my paw sticking out from under the door.

Leo bought me a new toy. It’s called a paper bag. Do they have those in Chicago? Grandma has the carrier. Must be time for the bus. Have to go hide.

Postnote: No animals were hurt in the writing of this column. Reilley helped by checking for accuracy and lying on the keyboard.

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