When we discovered this wonderful, quiet sanctuary called San Saba five years ago and decided to buy a house to make it our home to live out our lives, I spent the first three of those at Woodlawn renovating with just Patches for company. I don’t think that house had seen a coat of paint since it had been built and the carpet, appliances, bathroom fixtures were all original so we pretty much went from floor up and did it all ourselves. (mostly myself) In the first three years Patch and I sort of settled into a routine of sorts and since I am a bit of confessed OCD type and he is a miniature dachshund who isn’t tall enough to reach cabinets to undo things I have done or strong enough to rearrange furniture, we got along great.
We owned a place on the Gulf we were trying to sell and miracles of miracles it sold just before Ike hit and when it did sell that meant Harold had to bring our cat, Peepers to live here in San Saba. Peepers is an adorable white faced, gray tabby but he weighs about twenty pounds and to say he lives life on his own terms is gross understatement. He is like an elephant and if he decides he is in the mood to hate you and wants to bite you, he will not forget and will leap at you ten hours later and rip you to shreds. I have the scars to prove it! There is another problem with Peepers, he despises Patches and also outweighs him. We already had Peepers when we rescued Patches and we have been forgiven, however Patches will never be accepted.
You know how when you have kids and your house gets too quiet? I was back on the coast with Harold after we bought the place here and Patches was curled under a blanket sleeping soundly on the couch. I was in one of the bedrooms packing some remaining items and had a feeling of impending doom wash over me and dropped what I was holding and rushed into the living room and there poised in the middle of the hardwood floor was sweet faced Peepers, all twenty pounds of him. His white face and pink nose was honed in on the blanket on the couch, whiskers twitching, tail like a snake slithering back and forth behind him and his haunches readying him for launch. At the same time I yelled "Peepers, NO!", I threw myself over to the couch to shield the unsuspecting Patches from the attack. Patches, startled and seeing Peepers, ears back, tail twitching, went on the offensive and with teeth bared tried to lunge forward like a cross between pit bull and mountain lion. The hatred in the room could have been cut with a knife or teeth or whatever sharp object could have been found. I realized at that moment San Saba was not going to be any different than our Gulf home and there would still be a gulf between them whether we were living on it or not.
I had to ready my little San Saba sanctuary to keep it from becoming a war zone. I knew I had to keep the two of them from ever seeing each other so if one part of the house could be for Peepers and one part for Patches both could be happy. I felt like I had suddenly gone to work for some kind of San Saba diplomatic service. I wanted to dig out my old law books and write up a formal contract and have each of them put their paw prints on it. My son, Shawn, always told me to just let them settle it themselves and I always told him, yes, they will settle it and we will either have just one animal or no animals. I adore them both and am not willing to take that chance, I would rather live in a house divided.
It is said one should never bite the hand that feeds you. I sure wish someone would tell Peepers and Patches that adage. Peepers should be on every terrorist list in the country. I adore him but quite honestly when I go into his part of this house I have to be on guard at all times. He can be so loving and just the most huggable ball of fur but then without warning he can become a human shredding machine. I have been known to grab whatever is available to put between him and me and it might even be Harold! (he likes Harold much more than he does me) I have taken a pillow and used it as a shield just to make it to the door without losing a leg. I sometimes think he blames me for that other little hair covered being just beyond the door and figures if I will not allow him the satisfaction of ripping him to pieces, I will make a nice substitute.
Patches and I were as thick as thieves, buds, pals our first three years here in San Saba. He would sit and watch me work seventeen hour days priming walls, painting, putting in floors, and working to make us a home. We walked the neighborhood and met all the wonderful people around town. He really loved when I would cook for the dispatchers and officers and they would drop by to pick up all the goodies I had prepared and fawn all over him before they left with their dinner or desserts. Every night we would welcome sleep and he would curl up next to me and we were virtually inseparable little peas in a pod. The day my husband retired and became a full-time San Saba resident, Patches forgot I existed. Now when draped across my husband’s lap, if I walk in front of him he shows me the whites of his eyes as if to say…my couch, my dad, my house, my territory. Hmm, perhaps I should introduce the little guy to a cat named Peepers, stand back, watch happens and see if Patches calls my name? I love you all with all my heart and I promise I am very loyal!