The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

April/May '99 Humor Writing Contest winner
Best Short Humor!

Gentle Jurassics, Petables, and Things that get my Goat


Maureen Jackson–Fusco

I don't know how it is at your house, but mine seems to emit vibes ofwelcome to every critter desperate for attention. I get "em all. Theproud and profane. The pompous and poisonous. Even the neighbors"beasts hang–out at my house. No matter where I move, it's always thesame.

These clever little devils network beautifully. I haven't been able tofind their billboards, but I know some must exist. "Mother Cupboard's Critter Resort — Long & Short–term Packages Available — DaycareOptions — Cheap Rates — Satisfaction Guaranteed" is definitelyadvertised, quite blatantly, in some form. I've decided they must usebillboards or directional signs, instead of brochures. I'm not stupid.I haven't seen little cameras around their necks, so the brochure methodis not possible.

Cats are the creme de la creme of my resortees. They expect — nay,demand — comfort and social director amenities. They love to cha–chaamidst patio flora and exercise equipment. They hunt and stalk in thenature preserve provided by the lawn and trees. They are especiallyintrigued by the dense forest of bamboo. I refuse to prepare theircatch of the day. (How can they possibly think I'll cooperate withtheir brutality towards other guests?)Their guilt is short–lived as they stretch and groom in preparation fornap time. I hold the cats solely responsible for the death of ourcelebrity guest. Poor, young, naive armadillo could not save himselffrom those Persian pussies.

Neighborhood dogs drop by for refreshments and social activities. Theyare not impressed with the cats. The cats, of course, don't mind thissmall faux pas.

A riffraff element does occasionally plague my pet paradise when snakesslither in, or pesky insects appear. A quick spraying, andtrophy–gathering sorties by the cats generally solves the problem. (Ido not bronze the trophies.)

Possums, squirrels, bunnies, and birds are not demanding guests. Butthe lizards frequently raise my blood pressure. These gentle Jurassicinsist on becoming part of the human household. They are fascinated bypillows — especially mine. A head–full of jumbo curlers can turn intoan impromptu jungle–gym, when I fail to thoroughly check the folds ofthe pillow and linens. Eviction, via coffee can, to the resort's strictperimeter is not their favorite form of exercise — or mine. But Iapplaud their persistence and ingenuity when they cling to the patiodoors" screens, and dare me into a duel of wills.

The biggest challenge in critter resort management came recently withthe shocking, early morning arrival of an old goat. (No, not that kindof ‘old goat".) I was stunned. Hubby was in stitches. Old ‘nanny" washuge, and sported an impressive goatee. This was madness! I don'tstock goat chow, you know, and the lawn did not need a trim. Besides,how"re ya gonna keep "em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree?!

I flooded the phone lines, begging for help. Everyone laughed , orthought I was hallucinating. Some had the nerve to suggest cabrito.Happily, our wayward goat left on his own. I later learned he appearedsomewhere else, and that the Sheriff's Department was assigned the case.

So you see, resort living isn't all fun and games. If an elephant showsup, I'm definitely moving to a high–rise apartment!

© 1999, Maureen Jackson–Fusco

About the author:  Maureen's life began, naturally, as a Jersey City, New Jersey.Marriage, motherhood, and migration to Texas ensued.

Her professional life has included administrative, secretarial, advertising,newspaper, and vocal work. Putting words into other peoples" mouthshas always played a large role.

As a writer her finest credentials areobservation, experience, and the desire to be able to communicate at many levels. Maureen ranks her stint as a food columnist for a small weekly in SanAntonio, Texas as the best gig she has yet to play.

Maureen is now dedicated to freelance writing. Self–syndication of a new food column called "Mother Cupboard's Comfort Kitchen" is her uppermost goal. Patternedafter her previous column, this latest venture combines stories of heart,humor, truth, and dastardly deception with recipes designed to please thepalate, rather than the physician.

"The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where we nourish both thebody and the soul. So connecting food with the bits and pieces of life's fun, fantasy, and nostalgia is an obvious fact of our existence." Thissaid, Maureen is ultimately hoping to create a cookbook, which will feed themind, soul and spirit as well as the flesh.

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©Margie Culbertson

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