The Cat Who Club

Carla's Visit to Pickax

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Very early Friday I left Austin/Bergstrom Airport and flew to Down Below. I was then put on a smaller flight and taken to the Pickax Airport. To my pleasant surprise my very favorite character Hixie Rice was there to pick me up. She was wearing a soft pink cashmere sweater, a string of pearls with earrings to match and some faded jeans and a lovely smile.

We got in Hixie's smaller version of a Hummer and she said she was going to give me a tour of the town and then we would meet Qwill at Lois's for lunch. That evening we had reservations at the Old Stone Mill with Qwill, Polly, Weatherby, and an escort for me which was a surprise.

My accommodations were at Pear/Breakfast Island at the Bambas where everyone would take me to the coastline this evening after dinner and Nick would meet me in a boat and take me to my accommodations.

First we just drove around town. I got to drive by Molly Sprenkle's and see the Lady's Society sunning in her windows. She showed me the newspaper and said we would run in but they would put her to work. We drove down Goodwinter avenue and back. She took me to Landspeak's department store and I bought a new outfit for tonight. We then went to Polly's new bookstore and I met Dundee. That was the highlight--- -Polly was well---Polly. Most exciting was Qwill stopped by on the way to lunch and autographed everything he had ever published and said that it was a welcome gift. Polly of course gave a disapproving look. Dundee and I became quick friends and Qwill said after lunch we would go to the apple barn and meet his reprobates.

Lunch at Lois' was just as expected, topped off with a lovely piece of pie a-la-mode. Lois herself waited our table and her hospitality made me think of a loving Mom.

On the way to the apple barn we took a long ride(the long way around) so,as Qwill said, I could get my bearings. The highlights were Indian Village, the Goodwinter Farmhouse, a stop for a drink at Tipsy's--(I had Squnk Water with a twist), then we toured the art center and it was off to the apple barn which was absolutely AWESOME... It took a few minute for Yum-Yum to arrive who was soon in my lap because of the sparkly new toy or gift I had brought her from Pet Smart. She was entranced with me just as I planned. The King of the castle was a bit more difficult. After one hour of Qwill's calling he walked down the gang-plank yawning and looking as if he had been taken from a very important business meeting. He then came and sat on the cube and stared at me as if I were some alien from another planet and appeared equally insulted by my Texas drawl.

Qwill gave me some kabibbles to offer him which seemed to insult him more and he swung around and headed the opposite direction. That was okay because of my precious friend Yum-Yum. Qwill decided it was nice enough that we could go out to the Gazebo and yelled "out" and even KoKo reluctantly (staring at me the whole time) jumped into Qwill's carrying bag and allowed himself to be taken to the the outside Gazebo. After he got myself, Hixie and the cats settled he went in and got us all a tray of Squnk water with a twist and kabbibles for the cats. We spent a pleasant afternoon chatting, watching and listening to birds and dozing. A pleasant surprise to wake up and find Ko-Ko napping at the foot of my chaise. Yum-Yum of course was in my lap which seemed to tickle Qwill.

Hixie said dinner was at seven and she would head home to get dressed. She said she and Polly would return at 6 PM to pick us up and that we would meet Weatherby and my surprise at the Old Stone Mill.

Qwill sent me up to the spare bathroom to make my preparations. I had purchased a classic black velvet skirt, and a beautiful raw silk shirt with ornate buttons (looked like antique gold in various Victorian charms)which would coordinate with my earrings, necklace, and bracket. I ran a hot shower, gelled and let my hair dry so I could style it and put on perfume make-up and clothing. I then repacked my luggage and went down to wait. Yum-Yum was enthralled with my look and tried to steal everything (when I got to dinner that night I realized she had succeeded in stealing the bottom button--a heart I think--well she was my heart so I guess it was appropriate- -since it could all be tucked in my skirt it was okay.)

When I arrived there was Weatherby and Derek Cuttlebrink which I thought was there in his maitrede capacity and I found was my date . Boy is he tall. He gave me a gentle kiss on the hand and made me feel very young. I was sure I was old enough to be his mother or aunt or something but it was fun for the evening.

Dinner conversation was interesting, Talk of a show to be presented at the playhouse tomorrow (since I was southern they had to do Oklahoma in my honor). I had no idea what to order for dinner but Derek used his expertise and made some wonderful suggestions and it was delicious.

About 8:30 everyone piled in to Derek's large Land Rover and they took me to where we would me Mr. Nick Bamba. I was exhausted and believe you me I was ready. I am met at the island by Lori Bamba who says the kids are snug in their beds as the cats are but that the are a few to choose from to stay in my room. I settle on "Holy Terror" and Lori has kindly saved one of the nicest suites for me. All dressed in antiques for the British isles--I feel in another world. I get ready for bed and "HT" sleeps most of the night but to my pleasure he entertains me with a few cat fits (thankfully though he doesn't knock down the Stradivari cat wallies on the mantle--he breaks nothing). I am so tired I sleep to 10 am the next day when Lori brings me breakfast in bed and asks if there is anything I need. I thank her and tell her I plan a leisurely day reading through Qwill's gift bag. Maybe a stroll around about the inn--napping on a deck chair....Lori reminds me they are taking me into town for 8:30 PM Pickax rendition of "Oklahoma"-- -It is still only 10:30AM so I have plenty of time. I decide to wear the new black skirt and a purple satin blouse with my amethyst jewelry. I put on my clam diggers and a loose t-shirt and get ready to loll about. Through-out the day the Bamba boys discreetly ask me if I need drinks or whatever. Lori and Nick have made some sweet boys. Various cats from the property wander up for hellos and ear-scratching. I watch a group of lovely kittens play in the bushes off the porch. Lori says they are Sherman's and oddly enough there is one male Siamese that looks a bit like Holy Terror--particularly because of frequent cat fits. Almost make me want to to pack him in my suitcase. :) I called him Holy Terror Jr.

About 2 PM the boys bring me the phone. To my surprise it is Mildred Riker. She says I have one more night (Sunday) and that Hixie, Qwill, and Polly are to pick me up at 6PM for a dinner party with her and Arch.---"If you are willing to accept...?" I said "Who would deny the great cook Mildred Riker...?" To which she gives a slight giggle and says "See you no later than 7:30 pm)


That night I am ready by six pm. Lori looks lovely. Her hair has been braided and has been wrapped in a very artistic way around her head with beads here and there. She is wearing a flowing linen-like peasant dress, which has beads sewn all over it in flowers and paisley patterns--it is awesome.
When we arrive Polly is in a pale blue raw silk suit with pearl accessories. Hixie's is wearing a sleek black pantsuit also out of raw silk and the buttons are jewelike in various colors like emerald and ruby and amethyst etc. She wears jewelry to match like earrings that look like a combo of precious stones with a choker to match and strappy black silk 4 inch heels.
Qwill is handsome in his tan slacks, navy blazer, baby blue button down shirt and classic navy patterned tie. I get to meet the Rikers that night. Arch is dressed similar to Qwill but his shirt has gaps at his buttons--particularly in the tummy area. Mildred's skirt is exactly like mine. She has a flowing peasant blouse very colorfully patterned with ruby accessories. I think we all look wonderful.

Derek is in the show---the hero of the show--Lenny Inchpot is the bad guy. Fran plays the Shirley Jones character. Mrs. Landspeak plays the Aunt. The traveling salesman is played by Larry and his goofy girlfriend to my surprise turns out to be Hixie who inexplicably disappeared from the audience. It was hilarious to see the Pickax crew in western attire and acting like they were from Oklahoma---the singing was well...
Aterwards everybody went for drinks at the Apple barn and I wasn't back to the island until well after midnight. Lori didn't disturb me until noon when she said there was Sunday brunch downstairs. I don't know what "HT" did that night --I was zonked.

The spread of the brunch was beautiful. Lots of fruit, a granola bar,various types of special coffees and tea and then all kinds of regular breakfast fair. There were lots of other folks in this weekend. They all seemed to be Qwill's fans and most had attended the theater the previous night. It was a raucous breakfast with all the laughing and chattering.

Mildred had said dinner would be very casual. I picked a pair a black stretch jeans and one of my favorite embellished t-shirts and some comfortable shoes. When Nick got me to the mainland Qwill,Polly and Hixie were waiting at 6 pm as planned. Polly was dressed as comfortably as she might be in a gray flannel two piece suit and pearl accessories. Hixie was wearing her costume from the previous night ---a bright plaid Gibson girl outfit---she gave me a look like the Cheshire cat and laughed and then showed me she had jeans and t-shirt underneath. She pulled of the the little hat which was connected to a curly red Gibson girl hair do and said--"here' s for the memories". Polly just rolled her eyes and Qwill gave a throaty laugh.

When we arrived to the house Arch was wearing a big bright Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts like they wear now with all the pockets cut off at mid-knee. Mildred had on purple leggings and another big bright flowing blouse. Then I got to meet Toulouse who wasn't ready to give himself up right away but he warmed up to me.

First it was drinks or Squnk water all around and fresh crab cake hor dourves. After that we had one of Mildred's specialties "stuffed mushrooms and rumaki"; a Caesar salad and what perfect essence...a raspberry pie --umm. Dinner conversation was of the show and sadly it was peaceful in Moose County that weekend--no more mysteries to solve but the town gossip. Good thing because Brodie and his wife had gone to Florida to vacation.

Another late night. I was home snug in bed with "HT' by midnight and it was good because my plane left Pickax for Down Below and 8:45AM. Lori had a wonderful basket breakfast for me (kind of continental) a warm croissant with fresh butter and homemade jam and a cappachino to go.
Lots of hugs and good byes and I was back to Carla's regular life with lots of happy memories ( and by the way--slipped in the breakfast basket was Holy Terror Jr.. :)