Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Maus takes the keys

By Athena Gardenprowler, guest columnist

My name is Athena, but I'm known as Maus. I’m the new cat in the haus. I used to live in a garden, but now I’m indoors. I’m writing this week because the old lady who feeds me (and the other, less important cats, too), is very busy doing stuff outside, this week, and can’t do her own work. She says it’s Warren County Prime Beef Festival week, whatever that means. She says that Warren County is the heart of the country, as far as she is concerned, and that she loves to celebrate it every chance she can get. So she goes out, and she leaves me with these other two cats, and the big, yucky, drooly dog.

It isn’t so bad, this being left inside. There is plenty of water, food, and lots of comfy window seats to sit in and soak up the sunshine without all the mean old tomcats pestering me. I also have some good hiding places, a pawful of toy mices to play with, and plenty of crickets to hunt down and pull apart. But I hear there are all sorts of things going to be happening out there on the edge of my garden, so I thought I’d list a few reasons I’m left alone in here with the computer.

For instance, Wednesday there is a parade. That means lots of people, making fancy things out of wagons and calling them “floats”. That means happy honk-and-thump noise (marching band music, she says) and people riding in cars without being put inside carrying cases, and they can sit on top and wave like they’re chasing invisible moths, the way I do when it’s dark and the old lady is trying to sleep. I know she appreciates my efforts, because she calls my name when I jump across her in the night. The other cats just hiss and growl.

But back to the Prime Beef Festival. Before the parade even got lined up, they had the kind of thing we cats understand, on Saturday night: they got beauty. They picked the new Prime Beef Pageant Princess and let her and her court be lovely.

And on Tuesday evening, they did the opposite: they had homely hogs on show and then people bought them. They taste pretty good if you fix them right. I had a little nibble of roast pork the other night, and I could imagine having it again, I think. Maybe with a seafood or butterfly chaser.

After the parade, the old lady always goes out to Monmouth Park, where there are tents, and those tents have displays, and some have foods of all sorts, like hamburgers, Indian tacos, hot dogs, apple cider slushes, lemon shake-ups and other people foods that even a refined garden cat like me might enjoy, so I expect she’ll bring me some. Maybe she’ll share one of those funnel cakes she waxes poetic about.

The old lady also says that there are things called “events.” This means people gather in a big space to watch something special happen, like bunches of cars racing around and jumping on each other like a bunch of kittens, and like people yowling and playing with strings on sticks and making what they call music. Of course, anybody who plays ElvHiss music can’t be all bad.

Everything else is going to be very noisy, too. There will be rides and attractions, the old lady read on the website. If she took me along with her, I might be able to help her win a few toys for me to play with. But she says I won’t much care for the crowds. She’s probably right. I prefer intimate snuggles.

There will also be the Fourth Annual Prime Beef Festival Cook Off, Saturday. That means food and fun, again. This is a contest to see who makes the tastiest food using beef. The old lady says that’s the best, except maybe a freshly-cracked can of tuna (actually, I said the last part. The crazy old lady prefers this beef stuff). Some of the top cooks in the region come to prepare this beef in front of a crowd, and the crowd tastes the stuff and then votes for their favorites. The old lady says the choices are always hard, because everything is always so good. I don’t suppose anybody has a recipe for beef steak which tastes like plank salmon with butter sauce and fresh moths, but then, no person is purrfect.

(PBF Calendar of events.)

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