The "Purrfect" Day on Anguilla
The sun rises on another perfect Anguillian day. The azure sky and turquoise sea meet at the horizon separated only by a thread of dark, ocean blue. Thus heaven meets earth each and every day on this magical island.
High on Sandy Hill, the cats at the Anguilla Animal Rescue Foundation stretch and yawn in anticipation of breakfast. As they hear the jingle of keys in the door, they again prepare to greet visitors. Each new face is an opportunity to choose an adoptive family. It may be someone who resides on Anguilla or it may be a visitor from far away. Who knows what adventures the day will bring to these furry felines?
Oliver has been at the Foundation a while and knows the routine. He prides himself on the whiteness of his thick coat and the pinkness of his footpads, ears, and nose. There isn’t another feline at the shelter as handsome as Oliver. He arches his back proudly and gently nudges the kittens Cinnamon, Parsley and Sage. “Wake up, small fry,” he says, “you don’t want to miss breakfast or any of the humans.”
“Aw, Ollie,” they respond in unison. “Can we sleep just a bit later today, please?” pleads Parsley lounging with all four of her tiny, brown paws tucked under her body. Cinnamon chimes up, “We chased our tails around half the night. We need to snooze!” Sage opens only one of her emerald green eyes and slowly it drops shut again.
“Dude,” Oliver responds to Cinnamon. “You be the guy. Get your sisters up and going. This could be adoption day for you. You can’t miss even one chance, so come on!”
“What’s the deal?” whines Cinnamon. “We’ve got everything here; crunchy meals, soft towels for naps, toys to bat around when we get bored with tail chasing and lots of attention when the humans are around.”
“Man, I can tell you arrived here before your eyes opened!” Oliver tosses at Cinnamon. “AARF cats are lucky, but there’s a fabulous existence just beyond the front doors. I’m going to tell a story about what happens out in the world when you have a human and a home of your very own.”
“An Oliver story! “ breathes Sage. “Wow, he’s been around!” thinks Cinnamon. “This could be an amazing tale!” muses Parsley. Sage sits up tall and the droopiness disappears from her lovely eyes. Parsley parks beside her at full attention. Cinnamon turns from the last bit of his breakfast with ears forward. Their attention is focused on Oliver.
“Beyond those doors,” begins Oliver, “is a world you can’t imagine. I’m not going to tell you I’ve seen it all but I know enough to hope for another home out on our island. I know enough to believe that it can happen for each of us. Here is what I heard while snuggled yesterday in the lap of a visitor while she and her daughter, Jenn, were stroking my fur, rubbing my cheeks and talking over their perfect day on Anguilla.”
She said, “The fur on this little guy is almost as soft as our beds at the resort. Almost as soft as the coo of the doves in the palm trees outside our windows. Almost as soft as the glide of the ocean waves onto the sand. And almost as soft as the whisper of the breezes on our skin as we sunbathed for hours on Meads Bay Beach earlier today – almost…”
“And that was following our delectable breakfast at The Straw Hat, mom,” replied Jenn. “What a way to start the day! How can it be possible that bagels taste better here than in New York? Then again, I’m betting dry toast would taste great if you were eating it with the view from the ocean terrace at the Straw Hat.
The whipped cream on my waffles was the fluffiest ever and our juice glasses and coffee cups never came close to empty. They were replenished every few minutes. I felt like a VIP! And how convenient was it that we could drop off our items for Island Books right at Straw Hat? I can imagine the smiles of the children who are going to read Curious George and Ramona Quinby for the first time!”
As Oliver continued with his tale he was glad the kittens had already eaten or he would have lost them with the mention of cream. “The delight of a child is really special,” said mom, “but not only the children are smiling here, everyone seems to appreciate that they live in Paradise.
Can you believe the time the people at Devonish Gallery spent telling us about the local artists whose work they offer? We sure have unique, beautiful gifts to bring home! Jenn, between Devonish and the Pineapple Galley, we will need an extra suitcase to pack all the stunning items we’ve purchased!”
Jenn laughed and said, “Remember how we chuckled with Lynne Bernbaum at her studio when she talked about the inspiration she gets from daily life on Anguilla? Like her acrylic piece with the goats that I can’t wait to hang in my living room. Lynne’s painting will always remind me of the little kid we drove by at the side of the road who stood and stared at us with its huge brown eyes, all the while smiling for the camera like he was a supermodel.”
Oliver contentedly sighed while he gently transferred by mom into Jenn’s arms for more snuggles as Jenn’s mom continued, “Are there words to describe the crispiness of the French fries during our lunch at the Sand Bar? The fun cocktails were superb, too. What a different view of Anguilla from Sandy Ground. Seeing freighter ships glide through the water with sailboats moored nearby is a study in contrast.
Then there’s “Beach Dog” who knew and greeted everyone at Sand Bar. He was so friendly and obviously belongs to someone who cares very much about him. His coat was so sleek and he even walked happy – he bounded. It was nice to have him settle down near our table for an afternoon nap.”
“Well, mom,” Jenn interjected, “I know it’s difficult to leave these sweet faces but we have to be going. It’s time for the Foundation to close for today. The cats at AARF are in good hands. I hope they enjoy the toys and treats we brought for them. We need to make the drive back to Meads Bay because I don’t want to miss another spectacular sunset.
We also have to get ready for our reservation at Oliver’s. It’s our favorite restaurant here and I can’t wait to visit with Miss B and delve into a bowl of the cinnamon basil pasta. We can’t forget a slice of grandma’s coconut pie for dessert either. I know it will be just as good as the dinners we’ve already had at Blanchard’s, Jacala and Barrel Stay. Ah, vacationing on Anguilla – is there any more perfect way to while away the hours?!”
With that Oliver ended his story and smiled at the three kittens still sitting in rapt attention before him. “Humans aren’t much different from cats are they?” he asked. “Imagine,” said Sage wide-eyed, “cream to eat at breakfast every day!” “Imagine,” said Parsley as she shook her head, “basking in the sun for hours and hours every day!” “Wow,” said Cinnamon squirming and ready to play, “doves and dogs to watch and maybe even chase every day!”
“Pretty fantastic beyond those front doors, isn’t it?” asked Oliver.
“Why are you so full of questions, Oliver?” queried Sage her feline nose twitching with curiosity. “You’re usually minutes into your nap by now or perusing the human visitors.”
Oliver smiled, “There’s quite a good reason and it involves all three of you kittens. Yesterday, there were so many visitors to AARF and you’re all so special that you have all been adopted! You are going to forever homes on our island of Anguilla. My story this morning was to tell you how fabulous it will be!”
Cinnamon, Parsley and Sage began to bounce with excitement and then Sage became very still. “But Ollie, what about you?” she quietly asked. “Are you coming along?” squeaked Parsley. “We can’t go and leave you behind,” pouted Cinnamon.
Then Oliver could contain himself no longer and he began to wiggle just like a kitten. “Don’t worry a bit about me. I’ll be having an incredible adventure. Have you ever heard of a flying cat? That’s me ‘cause I’m going home with Jenn and her mom. We are flying on a huge airplane that will take us up into the sky to a totally different country. When Jenn, her mom and I were together here it was love a first sight! What do you think about that?” he asked.
“Wow,” breathed Sage. “You are very brave, Ollie!
As the humans arrived eager and joyful to retrieve their new pets, Cinnamon, Parsley and Sage snuggled themselves down in their carriers and dreamed about the blissful life they would have in their new homes on Anguilla.
Oliver, in a special airline approved carrier, curled up, too, but he couldn’t fall asleep. As he heard the voices of Jenn and her mom he thought, “This has been a perfect day on our perfect island – just like the perfect day the humans described. Just purrrrrfect!”
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