Saturday afternoon Susanna had invited me to go on a walk with her in Hitchcock Woods, a large swath of undeveloped land in Aiken, SC, restricted to pedestrians and equestrians. A brown tabby touring the neighboring paddocks presented itself for admiration and affection before we went in among the trees, attention which I was glad to bestow.
The woods were lovely, green (most leaves here haven't turned their autumn colors yet--the exceptions being the gloriously scarlet maples at the entrance to my subdivision), and crisscrossed with hoof-printed paths, and featured the occasional ominous sign tacked to a tree warning of possible quicksand after heavy rain. Susanna assured us that she'd never encountered quicksand, but I hastened over the "sand river" a bit nervously. I would love for my mother and I to go there to bike-ride, but the only wheeled contraptions permitted are horse-drawn.
The other lady walking with us shared the recent adventure of her musician son, who is principle trumpet for a large European orchestra. His instrument was stolen weeks ago, and he was eventually contacted by the thieves, who wanted him to pay a hefty ransom for it. He went to the police, who (after making him go through considerable paperwork) went undercover nearby when he met the extortionists, and he was able to get the trumpet back without losing any money. Yet, one of the arrested thieves had the crust to call him later to complain about him breaking their deal (to pay up).
At Susanna's house, her lovely Raisa, her all-year-round Halloween cat--lovely thick black coat, black whiskers, black toe pads--was waiting for us to lavish her with praise and strokes. I told Susanna that her furry companion needed her own personal pumpkin as Raisa purred and preened under my fingertips, then arranged herself artistically on the brick patio in front of us. If I had access to a kiln, I'd make her a food dish in the shape of a jack-o-lantern, but as it is, she'll have to make do with just the human face-pot I made for her ten years ago as a water bowl.
She's handsome and she knows it.