The Portugal Years – On the Collecting of Cats

You know how a few small things can create a landslide? That’s how my cat collection began. I had no idea of collecting cats. It never ever crossed my mind. My dad had given me a Garfield pencil eraser. Later it was a pewter kitty playing with yarn. But let’s face it: two decorative cats do not a collection make. Oh, and if I had ever collected cats, I gave it up at least a decade ago.

The little fellows should be displayed with dignity, and in order for that to happen, I’d have to take up dusting. So, no more cats unless they actually use a litter box. I enjoyed and appreciated every little knick-knack from each loving person who gave them to me, but enough is enough. And just as a warning to my children, I’m putting your names on every one of them and you will have to deal with them after I am gone. 😆 Anyway, here they are: the cats of the world.

garfield
Garfield – feeling his age, I’m afraid, but still here.
This is the pewter yarn kitty. She stole my heart from the start because I liked to hold her in my hand. I still do.
This is the pewter yarn kitty. She stole my heart from the start because I liked to hold her in my hand. I still do.
One of my fourth graders gave this to me back in probably 1977-78 school year.
One of my fourth graders gave this to me back in probably 1977-78 school year.
My friend, Cindi, gave this to me after we got our Samantha cat. I think it was a birthday present. She gave me a whole family of cats.
My friend, Cindi, gave this to me after we got our Samantha cat. I think it was a birthday present. She gave me a whole family of cats.
Having a set of siamese, they seemed to attract more.
Having a set of siamese, they seemed to attract more.
And more...
And more…
Portuguese cats...
Portuguese cats…
...Spanish cats...
…Spanish cats…
...German cats
…German cats
Novelty cats
Novelty cats
Useful cats
Useful cats
Cats
Cats
A gift from my daughter's godmother when we left Porttugal
A gift from my daughter’s godmother when we left Portugal
Cats from friends.
Cats from friends.
So many cats, so many happy memories that came with them...
So many cats, so many happy memories that came with them…
Cats of all kinds.
Cats of all kinds.

I love cats

Do you have any collections (intentional or otherwise)?

 

The Portugal Chronicles – The Conference First; Home at Last

airportThe landing in Frankfurt, Germany was ummm…culture shock compared with the departure from JFK. It was more like what we deal with now when we choose to travel by air.

I had my camera, of course. When I tried to take a picture when we were going through customs, the Frau in the uniform grabbed it away from me. She told me in no uncertain terms: Nein! Sie können das nicht tun. I got it. I wasn’t in Kansas any more.

We were shuttled from the airport to a Gästehaus near where the conference was to be held. There were three bedrooms with three couples from Word of Life there. And one bathroom. Our freundliche Frau was an energetic woman and her home was immaculate at all times. She gave us good German breakfasts.

She schooled us, too. She objected to the amount of hot water Americans habitually use to take a simple shower. After the first night, she turned off the hot water heater* after about 30 minutes. I imagine she thought that was generous.

The conference was pretty typical Evangelical fare. It was intended to encourage weary missionaries who had been on the field awhile. It’s unfortunate, however, that I don’t remember anything except the meeting when the men and women were in separate rooms. It was mostly tips on getting along with one’s spouse. I do remember clearly one of the tips about hungry, grumpy husbands: “If he’s hungry, feed the beast.”swiss air

At long last, we took my ‘cello and boarded our Swiss Air flight to Lisbon. A short hop and we were circling around Lisbon. I could hardly wait.

Every city has it’s own smell, and Lisbon is no exception. After we went through customs, my olfactory nerves began to quiver. Though it was comprised of diesel fuel, cigarette smoke, and other components, to me is was eau de home.

hot water

* It was this type of small hot water heater that heats the water as it flows through.

The Portugal Adventure – Inquiring Minds Want to Know !

Stopped on the Autobahn

I’m fairly certain that the German chickens were still asleep the day we boarded our vehicles and turned southward to the Iberian Peninsula. We were heading right out of Germany on the Autobahn. You can go pretty doggone fast on the Autobahn, and it’s legal. The only thing holding you back is how fast your car can go. Or, whether or not your vehicle gets a flat tire.

Yep, it’s a flat tire!

Stopping on the Autobahn is discouraged by law. (See the link above,) But, driving with a flat tire on a road that has a top speed of 240 Kilometers per hour (150 mph) would be frowned upon.

How long will it take?

Everyone exited the van and removed all of the luggage so they could access the spare tire Then, we waited. And, waited.

When we got back on the road again, we headed for the Swiss border. We began to zip through Switzerland on a toll road. The trouble began when we arrived at the first toll booth where the legal tender was the Swiss franc. The toll collector spoke French, Italian, and German. Harry spoke English, Portuguese, and had studied (and forgotten) French and Latin in high school. Since we came in from Germany, the collector tried talking to us in German. Harry then tried English, and Portuguese without success. As seems to be the custom in these situations, both parties tried speaking his native language with increasing volume in the vain hope that louder will be more comprehensible.

Then, Harry remembered that I had studied German in high school, and asked if I could help. Put on the spot like that, I was certain I would not remember anything useful. I mean, I remembered a song about Augustine and the chorus had a lot of ja, ja, ja, ja! in it. But, then it happened. A couple of German phrases came running to our rescue, and were modified for the occasion. “Wir haben keine Schweizer Franken. Wir haben Deutsch Mark.” (We have no Swiss francs. We have German Marks.) That proved to be a negotiable proposition, and we were soon back on the road.

We arrived at the Bible Institute in Barcelona late at night and spent the night there. I stayed again with one of the American missionary families. I was so tired, I forgot to lock the bathroom door when I was bathing. Suddenly, the doorknob rattled, and the missionaries’ two-year-old son came wandering in to have a conversation with me. I ducked down below “see” level, asked him to stay in the doorway, and enjoyed a lovely (loud) chat with him until his mother heard us and fetched him out.

Sunbathing on the Mediterranean Sea
By the sea

The next day we went to the beach. The one on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s funny, you know? You study about all of these things in school, but it’s an imaginary excursion at the time. When you are standing in front of, and swimming in the sea that has touched so many nations down through history, the reality of it is almost overwhelming. One of our Portuguese chaperones proposed taking a picture of Harry and me together in that historic location. We stood, side by side, smiling and waiting for him to snap it. Then he looked over the top of the camera, and told us to stand closer. He checked the camera, and  looked over again. This time he instructed Harry to put his arm around me. Isn’t he adorable? Does he look bashful to you?

The next morning my hostess grabbed my arm as we were getting ready to leave. She took me aside, and asked me, “What is going on with you and Harry?” I told her, “I have NO idea what is going on.”

Next week: the plains in Spain again.

If you are reading this story for the first time, you will find the first post here, and there are links from each post to the next. The next post is here.