So we can begin this conversation properly introduced.
The Cat is the personage you see up there in the masthead. Here’s another pic right here. The name is Monsieur Bougarabou O. Hooligan, “Bugs” to you.
painting by the magnificent Ouida Touchon
an edgier photo by Erika Wilhite. Bugs younger, possibly a bit freaked out? Maybe not so much. It might be the flash. See his relaxed tail.
The “Bougarabou” bit comes from a West African drum. The bougarabou has a sound all its own because it’s covered in cowskin, rather than the goatskin of the more-treble djembes. You can hear just one bougarabou boop-booping underneath a whole herd of the motormouth djembes. So the bougarabou has a unique bass voice all its own. That’s one reason to name Bugs like that.
The other reason is that when he first showed up in my life, six months old (give or take) on November 28, 2009, this was one rowdy little stray. A street-fightin’ West Side Story Shark kind of dude, with switchblades for claws. He’d scamper around the wood floors in the house, on the qui-vive for the next rumble going down, and I’d hear that rhythm. Bougarabou bougarabou bougarabou. So that’s the bougarabou bit.
The O. Hooligan bit speaks for itself. A cat with Afro-Irish roots.
The human over here is me, Anita Schnee. I am a transplanted Detroiter, alive and well in the comely Ozarks, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I love playing African hand-drums (you could maybe guess that). That’s me in the center bottom, with my drum-and-dance tribe led by the fabulous Ivoirean Angelo Yao, in the Afrique Aya Drum and Dance Company. To keep Monsieur Bugs in
Science Diet fresh organic chicken, I write legal briefs. (The thinking on the diet question, as on so much else, has evolved as I have learned. At the paws of M. Bugsereenoh.)
Before Bugs deigned to permit me to care for him, I thought I was allergic to cats. Plus I could not, for the life of me, see why anybody on this good green earth would want to keep a semi-wild animal around. Some shadowy creature of the night, skulking around who knew where, showing up only to be petted, admired, and fed? by human slaves? then wafting off to parts unknown? without a fare-thee-well?
Oh-ho! What I didn’t know. What I didn’t know.
And that’s why I’m blogging over here. About what I didn’t know. About what Bugs knows, born as he is to this unbelievable grace. And about what this conversation between us is like.
Thank you for coming along.
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