While Robin and Mike are on vacation trekking through New Zealand, I agreed to do a guest post for her, and I decided to write about two of the friends I made while working as a cook at Munsey’s Bear Camp.
By Marcia Messier
I fell in love with Fletcher the moment he sauntered out of the house to greet me. Anyone who has known a Maine Coon Cat will agree they are magnificent animals. All that fur! It springs out of their ears and sticks up through their toes; it flows over their shoulders and back, culminating in a luxurious feather duster tail.
Fletcher was a mature gentleman. He never raised his voice or lost his temper but you were never in doubt he was the master of his house. To qualify as camp cook in his house I learned there was an initiation ritual, a series of tricky situations (don’t ask, don’t tell) that must be passed through. Eventually, I navigated this unknown territory without screaming out loud or making too much fuss and was accepted into my position.
My first summer in camp was a little difficult at times. I had so much to learn! By the end of the busy day I collapsed on my bed exhausted and maybe a little homesick. Fletcher could see I needed help so every evening he came upstairs to talk. Sometimes he would discuss the art of catching birds (a specific bird he alone may have put on the endangered list), or perhaps how to disembowel a vole, making absolute certain to leave the tiny green parts on the doorstep as a special offering to the” house spirits”. Fletcher carefully explained how I should ignore the silly otters that lived under the dock in summer, and especially to be very careful of the smelly slippery mess they made on it (I slipped anyway). Most importantly, he lectured me on how far I could expect to walk on the beach without meeting a bear casually strolling past camp. After our comforting chat he would sing a purr-fect little song and I’d peacefully doze off.
Summer passed quickly. Soon Fletcher and I were sharing one last hug and one last bird story by the kitchen window. It was time to go.
By Marcia Messier
Gizzy was a beauty, a beauty with an attitude. Her long thick golden blond, carefully coiffed fur glistened and her large golden eyes blinked as she regarded everyone with an expression of absolute boredom.
Guests were sometimes spellbound by her beauty. Bear, fox and bald eagles were forgotten as they rolled around the lawn with cameras focused, trying to capture the perfect angle of the Kodiak sun shining through Gizzy’s luxurious golden fur, creating an aura of light about her body.
As a matter of fact, her fur was the exact color of the seaweed that washed upon our shore in the summer.
One day, Gizzy bored as she was, decided to have a game of “Hide & Seek” with the new cook. It was mid-afternoon before I realized she hadn’t been on her perch all day. Nervously, I began to search, upstairs, downstairs, and in the cabins… no sign of her. Finally, looking over the edge of the bluff down onto the beach I saw the golden seaweed surging back and forth with the high tide. Had she fallen into the water? Did I see something that resembled her body in that thick seaweed? No, no, impossible! Still, how was I going to explain to Robin and Mike I had lost the cat? Nonetheless, presently I had to move on; it was time to suspend the search and prepare dinner. Later on, nearly in tears thinking Gizzy was gone, while tidying-up before guests arrived, far back in a corner near the wood stove and curled up behind a pair of boots was Gizzy! Flipping her tail and grinning slyly up at me, I had to concede, Gizzy had indeed won her game!