The day had started very poorly. Downpour of rain all morning long. Sudden gusts of wind. Cloudy weather...

Let’s find something positive about yesterday. It was surprisingly warm outside probably due to the southern winds.

I drove up to my friends’ farm, wishing that the afternoon would not turn into a nightmare.

Bernard was home, taking care of some bills on the huge kitchen table. I love spending time in their kitchen. It is cosy and warm.

Yvette came downstairs because my arrival was kind of noisy. It was so windy outside that I had to ring the bell a couple of times before I heard Bernard’s bellowing voice: “Come in. Come in!”

He does not like me to ring the bell. I am supposed to get right in, just the way it’s done in our area in Brittany. This is something I have the hardest time to do... I am too much of a city dweller, from places where doors are always locked.

Yvette was taken aback by me barging in but at least, she was standing on her own two feet. I know that there are some good days after all.

We sat down on the bench by the table, in a very companionable bubble of friendship. Bernard resumed his filing and signing checks.

And Pomponette came into the kitchen. She jumped on the table. We guffawed because she went right to Bernard and gave him a big kiss on the lips. A cat kiss.

He looked so delighted. His hand went right to her head and he started to pet her which she loved and she nestled against him and all over the papers.

May I digress to say that Bernard used to hate cats. He liked our cats all right because they were ours and he knew they stayed home. But I remember leafing through his hunting notebook in which he had to record every animal and bird shot and killed. I remember feeling really upset and angry when finding: “Black/White/Tabby cat shot” followed by the day and name of the place.

Hunters claim that cats hunt and kill rabbits and young hares therefore they are pests and must be destroyed.

Last September, one of his granddaughters found a black kitten in one of the trees by the farm. The kitten had been scared to death by the sheepdogs that roam around the farmyard.

Had he been alone, Bernard would have done what would have been  obviously right for him at the time. He would have grabbed his gun and shot the kitten. It was so deeply ingrained in his hunting genes.

But the young girl was adamant that the kitten had to be “saved” and brought home... home meaning the farmhouse.

Bernard who loves his granddaughter to distraction had to give in, thinking that once she’d be gone, it would be over very quickly...

What a joke!

I am pretty sure that Bernard fell in love with the sweet tiny black ball of fur that started right away to purr in his arms when he got her down from the tree and brought her into the kitchen to protect her from the dogs.

I was there at the time and it was quite incredible... He said that someone had to go buy some food and kitty litter! Which was done in a flash (almost, considering that the village is 3 miles away).

By the end of October, the kitten was flourishing! She was still tiny and would probably remain so. A perfect young female cat. Black with a white medallion on her breast.

Bernard had turned into a doting “father cat”. His Pomponette was the most beautiful cat ever, the sweetest thing that had ever happened in his life. First thing to ask whenever I’d drop by: “How is Pomponette?” and then he’d look around and start looking for her... She usually isn’t very far from him.

“Isn’t she beautiful and sweet?”

“She is the most beautiful and sweetest cat ever, Bernard.” Which is true by the way.

Oh, I love those times because she’s a darling cat, so gentle and affectionate. Exactly what he needed in his blown up life.

Exactly what Yvette needed too - some sweetness in her abyssal sickness. She is very fond of Pomponette. It is so obvious. 

The small cat is a little bit afraid of her but she is so gentle that she never struggles whenever Yvette handles her a little bit roughly. And then she runs back to Bernard. Almost as if she did understand the quagmire Yvette’s life has become.

Two months ago, Pomponette had a fling with an unknown cat who was lucky enough Bernard did not spot him.

Last week, I knew her time of giving birth was getting close. I told Bernard to watch her closely. She’s so small that I did fear she was at risk.

The kittens were born two days ago in their sitting-room, in the afternoon. Bernard got rid of them right away which was a sensible thing to do since they were barely alive and one of them was already dead.

Pomponette did not even realize what had been going on. She resumed her love life with Bernard right away. Funny little cat.

Of course, he’s made an appointment with the vet to have her neutered. He was scared something bad would happen to her during the delivery. He does not want to  live through the experience again.

The new Bernard is so touching that I don’t even feel like making fun of him by reminding him that he still breeds sheepdogs and used to breed hundreds of sheep.

Yesterday, he mentioned that he’s spotted an cat roaming around. He looked at me with twinkling eyes.

“I’ll have to go get my gun.”

I know he won’t kill a cat anymore.

*Good Luck, and Good Night*

1 comment:

Josie said...

Sweet story. "Tough guys" like Bernard are the best: crusty on the outside, marshmallow on the inside.