Yesterday was a big day here, but as in any suspense tale, I’m going to work backward to describe it.
Last night, after an afternoon under the bed (why in a minute), Tony must have been feeling his 31 days of fame waning as Mr. July on the Richmond Animal League’s calendar.
After dinner, he threw himself down on the living room floor to contemplate his next career move and wonder if he had peaked too soon…
But with Tony’s looks, brains and charisma, he has nothing to worry about. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.
In the afternoon, a crew I’ve been waiting nearly two months for finally showed up to take down the dead tree in the front yard.
In the spring, I worried when that tree was a few weeks late putting out leaves, and its trunk looked paler than the others. Then when all the new leaves immediately began to die, I had to pull the plug on it or risk it taking out my office and the kitchen in a storm.
I never watch when I lose a tree, but I think it came down in sections because there was never a big crash. A lot of moss in the yard was torn up where I guess the pieces fell.
Nevertheless, it was a noisy business. Roc sat calmly in the living room with me through it all. Max stayed in the Man Cave and Tony went under the bed.
Grinding the stump turned out to be the worst of it. This is now our view from the big kitchen window. The red circle is where the tree was…
My yard guy isn’t returning my calls about cleaning up. Here’s the mess from the walk, facing the house. This isn’t a situation that’s just going to heal itself over time…
But the day began in my bedroom with something I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it myself. This bookcase is one of six around the house and stands opposite my bed. It holds mostly New Age books from my 30s, as well as other prized volumes, like the copy of Little Women I got at Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, where she wrote it…
Notice the arrow pointing to a book I pulled out on the bottom shelf, just to show you where it came from. It was actually on the shelf in line with the rest. Since Roc refused to participate in a reenactment, the black stuffy cat on the floor is his stand-in, and a waterbowl is to its left.
Anyway, I was making the bed and Roc was getting a drink. He turned to walk past the bookcase when that book suddenly flew out and fell on the floor in front of him. Roc jumped back, but then calmly went around it and hunkered down in the opposite corner to watch ME.
Did he know or see who did that?
It was just like the poltergeist activity you see on Paranormal: Caught on Camera.
The cats never bother that bookcase, and I haven’t touched it myself in months. This is the book that flew out…
It happens to be the last book I shelved there, unfinished because I didn’t like it. I felt a little tingly as I put it back.
There’s no way that book moved on its own. No book has EVER fallen off that shelf before. So, what was it? It couldn’t have been the spirit of the tree, because this happened hours before either of us knew it was going down that day.
BONUS: Cats Working reader Glamour Milk uncovered this (possibly) maiden interview with Anthony Bourdain in 1995. He was just 39, pre-thumb ring, pre-Les Halles, beginning his writing career as a novelist with Bone in the Throat)…
He wrote a second novel, Gone Bamboo, before he hit it big with Kitchen Confidential. You have to download the interview here…
But it’s well worth it, especially in hindsight, for what he says about loyalty and betrayal.
Many thanks to Glamour Milk for her online sleuthing. Morgan Neville might have been interested in this for Roadrunner, had he uncovered it.
The same link includes another 2002 interview about A Cook’s Tour. Notice Tony’s marked increase in confidence, sophistication and gray hair. Also, the thumb ring.