Learning how to ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’


Lane and I have had an assortment of pets through the years, dogs, cats, rabbits, a parrot, and I even had a monkey named Andrew. We are now down to two rescue kitty kats, Lisa, which is Spanish for mullet and Cleo, short for Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, and she thinks she is. They are spoiled rotten; Lane did it, not me. I’m a stern disciplinarian, I crack the whip. I like to say, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

Our backyard is enclosed with vegetation, like a secret garden. A little while ago this pitiful little kitty kat showed up, emaciated with eyes so infected they were almost closed from goop. What do you do when you have a kitty kat problem? You call the expert, Cathy Buell, founder of SGI Cat Allies, Inc.

Cathy came by and advised us that if something wasn’t done about her eyes she would surely go blind. She gave us some special cat food and an antibiotic to mix in. So, I commenced to medicate and care for the little thing. After about 10 days, her eyes cleared up and she seemed to have a spring in her step, so to speak. Lane and I felt pretty good about ourselves that we might have played a small role in saving a little soul. Problem was, she wouldn’t leave.

That’s not really a problem because she stays in the back in the courtyard (we don’t let her in the house) and Cleo and Lisa stay in the front of the house. They don’t seem to mind each other. Now, I feed her two times a day on a strict schedule as opposed to every time they come in the house as in the case of the spoiled ones.(As you may recall, I am a stern disciplinarian.)

Folks kept saying, “Gill, if she is going to stay you have to name the poor little thing.” And so, I did. Since she is a cream tabby, I named her Buttercup, because I remembered that was the name of Dale Evans’ horse. Also, I could tell y’all a good story about Dale. I always check the accuracy of my articles and, doggone it, her horse was Buttermilk. I thought, “There goes my story.” But I think I’ll tell it anyway. So here goes.

It was Roy’s birthday and Dale gave him a pair of new shoes. Now he always wore cowboy boots but he was so proud of his new shoes, he wore them all day long. That evening they were sitting on the veranda overlooking the prairie of saguaro cacti. Roy’s feet were so sore as the shoes weren’t broken in, that he took them off and put them under his rocker and went to bed and forgot them. During the night, a cat chewed up Roy’s shoes. Well, Dale was livid so they saddled up Buttermilk and Trigger and rode off to find the perpetrator. Pretty soon Dale thought she saw a cat behind a saguaro cactus so she said, “Pardon me Roy is that the cat that chewed your new shoes.”

Folks are all the time asking me if I’m kin to Gene Autry. I tell them, “No, I'm kin to Champion.”

Your friend,

Capt. Gill

cats, Gill Autrey, Apalachicola


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  • Michael

    Keep your stories coming, Captain Gill!

    Greetings from the Waclawiczeks!

    Sunday, August 14 Report this