Positively Parish News – Week of Nov. 30, 2012

My condolences are extended to the family and friends of Rose A. Smith Henderson, class of 1934.

I had not expected to write so soon, but Pat just gave me a topic inadvertently.

It’s 6 a.m. on a cold, 26 degree Fahrenheit morning, dark as the inside of your hat outside, and he said loudly, “the Prodigal has returned.”

He meant “Earl Gray Cat,” a little male stray or feral cat that has been coming to our porch for canned cat food and chow for several years now.

He is shy of people but lured by the food we have put out nightly.

We have done that since at least the year 2000 when we rescued 3 weaned feral kittens and wanted to keep the mother cat around.

The critter cams we set up for wildlife have been our window into the world of a feral cat.

Earl Gray Cat was a young animal, based on how thin it was, and we were not sure if “it” were male or female.

He was kept at a distance then by “Ghost,” a white female feral who had adopted us, with reservations.

We adopted Ghost wholeheartedly, as she reminded us of the mother of the 3 kittens we had rescued, although it was many years before she showed up.

Ghost had a sometime companion, a female black and white cat we named “Darkness” (we watch that movie at least once a year on DVD) who produced at least one kitten, “Chance,” that we rescued in 2006.

Both Ghost and Darkness disappeared two years ago.

We never found out why.

Anyway, we knew from experience that feral cats have their own agendas, and we check our cameras daily for signs of their activities.

When Earl Gray Cat did not show up for over a day, Pat began to worry.

It had snowed, the night time temperature was dropping into the 20s, and it was windy.

The owls and coyotes were hunting, visibility on Rt. 69 was limited, and with the wet food uneaten on the porch, he feared something had happened to Earl Gray Cat.

We were delighted that nothing had.

This brings me to some sort of point.

Much has been printed about the damage feral cats do to birds and claims have been made that it is wrong to harbor them or to allow pet cats to roam outside of the home.

From hours of snooping on Ghost, Darkness, Midnight, Earl Gray Cat, and 4 or 5 occasional strays over the past 10 years, I have to disagree.

Until recently we were able to maintain 8 or 9 feeders with sunflower seed which drew a great variety of birds.

The only dead birds I ever found were two that died in winter. And the occasional road killed wild turkey.

None of our ferals ever staked out the feeders or bothered with the chickadees, nuthatches, gold finches, red breasted grosbeaks, blue jays, and juncos that frequented them.

Much has been said about their ability to control rodents.

I have to disagree there too.

Pat has seen Earl Gray Cat attack a rat which attacked right back, sending the cat packing.

He has watched the cat pounce on a deermouse, toss it in the air, and then sit, bemused, while it scuttles off into the weeds.

I have seen Earl Gray Cat sleeping in the “Cat Hut” just 8 feet from flying squirrels running up and down our big pine tree, or mounting a stalk on them which never seems to result in a capture.

He ignores red and gray squirrels and blue jays in the daytime and although he will not come to Pat, he does shadow him out of curiosity when Pat works in the yard.

He is not my idea of a menace to wildlife.

Over the 16 years that we have lived in Parish, we have taken in what strays we could tame and put food out for the rugged individualists who would not come in from the cold.

We have had as many as 16 indoor cats and as few as 7.

Those indoor cats have given us insight into their world, but the critter cameras have given us information on how feral cats act on the fringe of ours.

My heart is with the Trap-Neuter-Release folks who work so hard to rehabilitate feral cats into useful barn cats for local farmers.

And I heartily approve of anyone who will feed a stray, even if it is unlikely that the owner will ever be found.

Rt. 69 Birdwatcher

Don and Dabby Harter, Lexington, Mass.  (formerly of Parish) had most of the children and grandchildren for Thanksgiving dinner.

Joining them: Kim, Mike, Liam, 4, Rowan, 3, Maggie, 16 months, Courtney, John, Ellie, 5, and Aubrey, 2.

Lori, Herb, Will, and Avery, who graciously sat at the “kids’ table,” per cousin Ellie’s request.

They also had Mike’s parents, Terry and Betsy Morton, join  them for the holiday.

It was fun and exciting, particularly with 5 grandchildren ages 5 and under scurrying around!

The Parish Town Historical Society (PTHS) 2013 calendars are on sale at the Parish Public Library, 3 Mill St. for only $7.

These historic pictured calendar treasures will make wonderful Christmas gifts.

The Annual PTHS Christmas gathering will be held on Dec. 12 beginning at 6 p.m. at the New Hope Presbyterian Church, 814 Rider St.

The Pleasant Lawn Cemetery Association is hosting its memory tree lights for $10 per light per name and the wreaths are $20 each.

Make your checks payable to Pleasant Lawn Cemetery and send to David Perry, 3003 W. Main St., Parish, NY 13131.

Be sure to include your loved one’s name to be remembered.

Joan and Bob Stoddard, formerly of Parish, have returned home from their timeshare at Orlando. [Vistanna]

They had a wonderful time and their brother, Richard, was able to join them, which was nice because they hadn’t seen him in a few years.

Also, Malia Goodwin, their daughter and their son, Tim, joined them.

They all got nice and brown and enjoyed the weather.

Not too hot just a beautiful week!

They are happy everyone got home safe and thankful to be together over Thanksgiving.

Now they are looking forward to Christmas when Linda, Doug, Chelsea and Kaylee will join them.

Hello to all and our love to all our friends and family. Joan and Bob Stoddard.

The Parish Public Library will host its annual Community Open House on Dec. 8 from 1-4 p.m.

Santa will make his visit at 2 p.m.

There will be great refreshments served.

All are welcome.

See for yourself as the library continues to be at work in your community.

For more information or to RSVP just call 625-7130 or stop in at 3 Church St.

Future dates to put on your calendar:

The annual Parish Community Blood Drive in honor of Rayel and Kaylee Sabine hosted by the New Hope Presbyterian Church on January 29 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Parish Fire Station, 16 Union St.

Parish Relay for Life Kickoff will be held on March 9 from 8 -11 a.m. at the Church of the Nazarene in Parish.

To make this column interesting and informative, we need to hear from you, email information to [email protected] or call 289-2391.