As I am sure you all know, this is Oprah’s last week of her show. I actually really like Oprah’s show. I record it and watch it when I can – usually while exercising. People at work tease me as, apparently, I talk about her and her show a lot.
This post is not, however, a tribute to Oprah Winfrey. This is an ode to Oprah Aldridge.
Thirteen years ago on July 4th, I decided I needed a cat. I went to the Humane Society and found a beautiful kitten – she was white with incredible blue eyes and she was at the front of her cage, calling to me. Then, I noticed that there was a second kitten in the same cage. This one was laying in her kitty litter, with her back towards me, as if she couldn’t be bothered to campaign for a new owner. She was solid black in color, and her head was too big for her body – and I thought something was wrong with her as she was just laying there, looking at the back of the cage. I can’t take the cute one and leave that one – no one will ever adopt her! So … I ended up with two kittens that day and named them Rosie and Oprah. They were somewhere between 4 – 5 weeks old, which would put their birthday around this time.
Rosie, although I loved her so much, was a bit of a pain. She loved only me, and she wanted my attention constantly. I am not sure I have ever been loved by an animal as much as Rosie loved me – it was almost obsessive. For years, I would wake up with a sore back because she pinned me down at night by laying on the small of my back – every night. We lost Rosie about two years ago – and I can still feel her laying on the small of my back at times.
While Rosie was always the louder of the two, Oprah developed her own very subtle personality – and she is hilarious. People who don’t like cats love Oprah. I remember showing a friend at work pictures of our new house (three houses ago), and she started laughing. When I asked her why, she said “I do not like cats, but this cat cracks me up. She is in every picture.” And she was. I hadn’t noticed it, but as I took a picture of every room and hallway, Oprah would somehow get ahead of me and appear in the picture. It reminded me of the series “Where’s Waldo” – in one picture, she was in the bottom right hand corner, in another on the desk next to the books, etc.
Oprah is basically mute. She only makes noise when she wants food and she has us so well trained that she doesn’t have to do it often. Heaven help us if we do not get her treats when we first get up, or keep her food dish at least 3/4 full. Then, she sounds like a feral cat that is having its fingernails pulled off.
Many claim that Oprah has an eating disorder – and I guess, in some ways, she resembles her namesake. When I adopted her, she was tiny and very thin. No one would call her thin now. And she pretty much hangs out next to her food – we even put a bed up there by it so she could do so in comfort. Her daily exercise is to pull the roll of paper towels down.
Oprah leaves her food area for basically two reasons. One is to go here:
My husband and I have the same conversation every night -
hubby: “Dear (said with a slight tinge to it), cats do not belong on the table.”
me: “But dear (same tinge), she is old, has very few pleasures in life, leave her be. Plus, she never goes outside and is very clean.”
I think Oprah knows we are having that conversation as, a couple of times, when my husband has been especially adamant about it, she has knocked his water glass over – really, she has.
The other reason she will leave her food is to get this guy in trouble:
Oprah is evil about this - she will come and weave around Conroy while I am working in the kitchen. She knows that he has enough will power to avoid her for about three hits in his face with her tail, but then by the fourth one, he is so excited that he can’t contain himself anymore and he will chase her. Actually, this is another situation where she will use her voice - if she wants to get him in even more trouble, she will scream like a banshee when running. Then, while I
yell at properly discipline Conroy, she stays right around us – to enjoy the aftermath. She could go and get up on something and get away from him, but then she would miss the fun part.
Her name has led to some funny misunderstandings. When we were selling our last house, we were approaching the day of an open house and I was communicating with my realtor via email. I told him that we were all going to our law firm during the open house – and even Oprah would make her first appearance at Hunter Maclean. Steve’s email back said merely: “Oprah’s going to Hunter Maclean?” I responded with a simple “yes”. About three hours later it occurred to me – “he thinks Oprah Winfrey is coming to Hunter Maclean.” I immediately called him – and he did indeed think that and had even mentioned to someone that Oprah Winfrey was coming to Savannah.
With all of the press lately about Oprah Winfrey’s last show and final twenty-fifth season, I find myself hoping that our Oprah Aldridge has twenty-five seasons to give to us as well.