Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Prince Oliver Smudge the Second

Smudge’s Health

How quickly life’s pages turn
Without an option to return
To yesterday’s life now fading

Everything changed in the time it took
To close and later open the front door
To unexpected pain and agony

Looking into our cat’s eyes I see
He already knows something is amiss
As he hobbles up to greet me

Smudge isn’t well. All day yesterday I thought about how hard it was to let our first two cats go. The first was 2 years old. The second was an overripe 19 years. Both were euthanized due to health issues. Now it seems Smudge’s days are fewer than we thought they would be. He’s about 7 years old.

The vet says he has a small heart murmur. It wasn’t there last year. He also thinks Smudge may be suffering from a small blood clot that lodged in his right back foot. He’s now on a very small baby aspirin dose every other day. If his foot pads are warm, that’s a good sign. Today they’re warm. Still, the likelihood that he’ll return to ‘normal’ isn’t high.

We tried to contact several cat cardiologists yesterday (referrals from our vet). To no avail. Maybe today? Covid-19 has made everything more difficult, including getting an appointment with a cat cardiologist. Sadly, I haven’t found one article that sounded upbeat about this particular health issue in cats. How long might Smudge beat the odds?

The last few days felt like a very sad dream. Today I’m being extra kind to Prince Oliver Smudge the Second. He still makes me laugh, and tugs at my heart. What’s a cat-lover to do?

Thanks for listening and empathizing.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 October 2020
Photo taken above our kitchen sink by ERFraser, July 2014

The Naming of Cats

In Honor Of Prince Oliver Smudge the Second, aka Smudge,
Who spent his royal time this day being transported by his Proud Owners,
Queen Elouise and King David, to and from His Royal Highness’ doctor’s office

Nothing life threatening. Just a nagging pain in his right rear paw pads. It takes all the fun out of rough-housing and running around the house chasing mice and crickets. Still, he’s to see a cat heart doctor in the next few weeks to find out how serious his newly diagnosed heart flutter is and what to do about it. In the meantime, he gets to be all lazy and fawned over. What a life!

No, I didn’t plan this post for today. It just happened, folks. However, I’m well into James Cones’ book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I’m also reading W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, and re-reading slowly Mary Oliver’s slender volume of poems, Thirst.

Yesterday evening, I played my piano for the first time in months. We bought it right after our daughter was born in 1970. It traveled with us from South Carolina to Southern California to Nashville, Tennessee, to Pennsylvania. As beautiful as ever.

Smudge has always left the living room when I’ve started playing. He loves to walk all over it (lid closed on the keyboard!), but seems allergic to my playing. Last night, however, he wasn’t feeling as frisky as usual, and stayed right on his chair while I played.

Hoping your days are filled with beauty, truth and hope. Not because the sun is going to come out tomorrow, but because creation never stops playing music for us. We just have to listen for it. Not to deny the seriousness of life, but to baptize life today with a different kind of truth. Truth that reminds us of our Creator’s presence no matter what happens next.

Thanks for visiting!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 October 2020
Poem and image found at


Smudge sinks into my lap
Warm and content —
Lost in another world
Dreaming of cat treats and
Strategic warfare against
Careless mice and crickets
All the while twitching
Beneath his ermine coat
Claiming his royal throne
And capturing my heart

For Prince Oliver Smudge the Second, now 6 years old♥  I wrote this today after breakfast and a nice long lap-fest with Smudge. It’s difficult to imagine life without him–though I would still have D, of course! 

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 April 2019
Photo taken by DAFraser, Fall 2013, about a week after Smudge was rescued by our granddaughters and daughter-in-law. He’d been abandoned in a state park. A sad story with a happy ending.

Just for You | Photos

Last Christmas I received an invaluable gift from a British friend/cat lover. The title? How it works: THE CAT. An enlightening guide written and illustrated by J. A. Hazeley and J. P. Morris, authors of Cooking Your Dog. This is, I’m told, one of a beloved series for Brits, A Ladybird Book for Grown-Ups.

The book is full of peculiar wisdom and wit. Just for today, I’m practicing this gem of advice, found on p. 40:

It is important to constantly take photographs of your cat [and post them online?] or people might not know that you have a cat.

Herewith, choice pieces of evidence that I have a cat!

In case you’ve never met, this is Smudge, aka Prince Oliver Smudge the Second. So named (by the entire family) because he had a sweet little charcoal smudge just between his ears when our granddaughters and their mother rescued him from certain starvation on a cold rainy day in a state park behind their house. But that’s another story.

Here we go….

Resting like a prince on handmade placemats
I purchased in Nairobi at a business that
teaches refugee African women how to set up and run
their own businesses

I call this one Someone to Watch Over Me.
Taken in my home office on my iPad mini.
The teddy bear was a gift from seminary students
after the death of a family member.
The patchwork cushion is a handmade birthday gift
from the wife of a beloved Peruvian colleague at the seminary.
The two small brown head pillows belonged to D’s
favorite aunt; retrieved from her apartment following her death.

Don’t waste your money on fancy toys!

A better box. Actually a box within a box–even better!
Taken by our daughter last June when she came to babysit Smudge and my broken jaw.

Our wannabe King of the Lions lounging with his docile subjects!
That’s the very warm and cozy radiator cover in the living room,
with evidence that I actually vacuum from time to time.
You do see the hose in the lower right-hand corner, don’t you?

DAF, Dec 2015
Just interrupted from a long winter snooze on an old towel.

Finally, my Tooth Fairy Foto of D and Smudge, taken last week.
I’d just brought D home after an oral surgeon extracted a cracked rear molar.
He hadn’t had much sleep during the weekend because of pain.
Smudge can’t resist a heated waterbed on a cold day–hence the towel.
I gave D the small pink Valentine’s Day bear years ago–to watch over him.
The roses above the bed were painted by a friend in the 1970s.

Chuckles and warm memories. A great way to begin this day. Thanks for visiting!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 April 2017
Photos taken by DAF, Sherry, and me
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Chuckle


lost in the woods

lost in the woods
pursued by fear
captured by love
reigning supreme
Prince Oliver Smudge the Second

* * *

We just caught Smudge out a few days ago, Read the rest of this entry »

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