Merry Christmas: Parking brake gooses editor while new cats hide in car |

Merry Christmas: Parking brake gooses editor while new cats hide in car

Paul Dunn

Saturday morning, the driver’s-side door on my 1995 Camry sedan decided to stop working.

The door won’t open from the inside or out, because, as I’ve since discovered, the lock mechanism is shot. A local locksmith has pledged to fix the problem, but he had to order the lock, and it hasn’t yet arrived.

I’ve been entering and exiting the car from the passenger-side door, but NEVER remember the problem until I first try to open the door. My cursing after each of these instances bounces off the windshield and reverberates throughout the car.

But my swearing doesn’t end there: As I fold myself into a cube and ease in and out of the car, the parking-brake handle invariably gooses me.

This, of course, angers me even more, so by the time I’m completely out of the car, I’m blustering like a politician at a barbecue fundraiser.

I tell you all of this, because it relates to another event Saturday that caused initial consternation but ended well: I drove to north Reno that morning to adopt two female cats I’d seen in a personal ad.

The 10-month-old girls, whom I’ve named Shirley and Ruthie, spent the entire 70-mile trip back to South Lake Tahoe intertwined beneath the driver’s seat – quiet as church mice. They were so well behaved, I was afraid they’d slipped out when I stopped for gas in Carson City.

I arrived home about 1 p.m., tried to open the driver’s door (“Son of a $%##**!!), goosed myself out of the car and unloaded kitty supplies I’d purchased. When I returned in about 10 minutes, Shirley and Ruthie hadn’t budged.

I spent the next 1 1/2 hours lying in the back of the car speaking to the place under the driver’s seat where I presumed they were. Normally, I would have opened the driver’s-side door, knelt and peered under the seat to more easily locate and remove them.


So on the back seat I lay until the cats relaxed and began inching toward me. Shirley finally crawled on my knee, so I nabbed her and took her into the house.

Ruthie, meanwhile, hadn’t moved. Evidently, she didn’t notice her sister was gone, still felt secure under the seat and saw no reason to leave.

So I grabbed her.

I expected her to scratch my lights out, but she instead took out her angst on the carpet and not my skin (good girl).

That night, I passed on a Christmas party to which I’d been invited so I could keep the girls company in their strange house. Turns out, they’re affectionate, funny and an absolute kick in the pants.

My wife, Barbara, who has warned me against getting cats (primarily because we already have two in North Carolina, which has been our limit for most of our 27-year marriage), didn’t know I’d gotten the girls until she saw them Thursday on the first night of her Christmas visit.

Since I wrote this column Wednesday night, my prediction has probably already come true: Barbara will say, “You really did it, didn’t you?”

Me: “What’s that?” (the girls purring and rubbing against us)

Barb: “You know exactly what.”

Me: “Ohhhhh. You mean the kitties?”

Barb: “Yessssss.”

Me: “It seemed like a good idea at the time …”

By the time you read this, Barbara will have fallen head-over-heels in love with Shirley and Ruthie, though she’ll ask: “What happens when the four of them get together?”

Me: “World War III. Thank goodness it’s probably a ways off …”

– Paul Dunn is editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at (530) 542-8047 and

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