Tuesday, January 20, 2015

His Hat was Found

Here’s an almost-too-vivid epitaph from Montague, Mass.

In Memory of Mr. Elijah Bardwell
Who died Jan'ry 26th, 1786, in ye 27th
Year of his Age having but a few days
Surviv’d ye fatal Night when he was
Flung from his Horse & drawn by ye stirrup
26 rods along ye path as appear’d by ye place
Where his hat was found & where he had
Spent ye whole following severe cold night
Treading ye Snow in a small circle . . .

A rod is five and a half yards; he was dragged 429 feet!  God have mercy on his soul.

Something more happy:  I spent over an hour at Angie’s Hats last week conferring with Angie about the hat I want her to make for my trip to England in March.  I need something really elegant that is also rather small and portable.  I like old movies, and saw Loretta Young in a production of Bedtime Story in which she wore a hat with a cascade of feathers down the back.  The hat itself was a flat plate on top of her head which I didn’t like.  So I asked Angie to design a garrison cap sort of thing and then add the feathers in back like a pony tail.  I brought along a blazer of sky blue I plan to pack, but she didn’t have any felt that color.  But she did have a supply of lace in exactly that color, so she’s going to make a gray-blue felt garrison cap sort of thing and cover it with the lace.  She has lots of exactly the kind of feathers I have in mind and we fooled around with different arrangements until we were close to what I want.  I am attaching a picture she took during the process.  She said the hat can actually be folded in half and if the feathers look crushed a little steam will bring them back.   If this works, I am going to look, as the English say, smashing!

My husband says I can talk Cat.  That’s not true, I’m not a cat whisperer, I’m a cat watcher.   For example, every evening I seek our cat Panzi, who must have a pill dropped to the back of her throat (if I put it just into her mouth, she waits until I’m not looking and spits it out).  Often when she sees me coming with a certain look in my eye, she trots away.  This can lead to an amusing (to her) chase under chairs and around tables.  But I’ve discovered something interesting.  When she starts to run, I take one or two steps after her, then stop.  And she stops to look over her shoulder at me.  After a few seconds’ pause, I can walk to her and pick her up.  I don’t know why this works, and  wonder if it works with other cats.  Our other cat Snaps never runs from me and virtually always comes when called.  Panzi only comes when she suspects I have a freshly emptied can of tuna for her to lick.

In furtherance of my forthcoming trip to England I went to the Duluth Trading Company and bought some underwear that can be washed in a sink and will dry overnight – I’ll be gone almost two weeks, and how can I plan on access to a washer and dryer when we’re in a new place almost every day?  Plus, I’m planning on packing very lightly.  I tried a pair out, and found the fit comfortable and the fabric not flimsy.  I washed it by hand around nine in the evening and early the next morning it was dry.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds as if you're having fun in a lot of ways as you plan for your trip, Monica. It also sounds as if Panzi and you enjoy psyching each other out!

Monica Ferris said...

Some old-time famous poet whose name I cannot recall wrote a poem about amusing himself with his cat but wondering at the end if it wasn't also likely the cat was amusing itself with him?

Anonymous said...

Maybe that hat could factor into a future book!

Betty Hechtman said...

Monica, I think cats may well be amusing themselves with their humans. I am sure my cat think my bed is theirs and I should be gratfu they are willing to share.

The hat is going to be fabulous!