We got her before the winter Olympics, before we had children. This story must be set in the late seventies or early eighties- whatever- I’ll have to do some research to find out when and where.
All I know is that I’ve always loved the name Oly (pronounced Olee) because they called many Swedes in my family that as a nickname. Usually it was used sarcastically…like only a Swede would look at something, or eat something like that. Have you ever tried Lutfisk? It is a very nasty fish to eat, unless you are Swedish. Butter noodles was also a staple at my house and ‘ah yes’, I’ll never forget the hardtack, I think you can imagine that taste! Throughout my life really I’ve worn my 100% Swedish heritage like a badge of honor until someone would say, usually in jest, your just a ‘big dumb Swede’, or Nancy, don’t you know that Swedes are cold and aloof people, just like the weather? Well anyway, it was a perfect name for a cat that a person might get right before the Olympic games.
Now, back to the cat – we adopted this cat from Dave’s uncle. We were habitually nursing cats back to health before we had our children. We were experimenting or practicing parenthood. Dave, who is only half Swedish has a very tender heart, and his uncle could also be called a tender-hearted farmer.
She came on a winter day, snow-white in color and as a matter of fact had some ‘Casper’ like qualities. Any time the doorbell rang she’d run and hide and we wouldn’t see her for a day or so. Oly the cat was reclusive, just like her ancestors from the ‘motherland’. When finally we did see her, I wondered if she had found some mice in our basement, she seemed so much bigger than when we got her from the farm. And her behavior started changing. I would pick her up and she would purr. I would snuggle with her on the couch and she would stay…more purring.
Her personality was loving; she was no longer an aloof stranger in our home!
One Saturday I was snoozing on the couch. The Olympics were playing in the background, ice and snow and skiers, kicking up powder. Oly was laying prone in my lap. Her tail was facing me, she was still a bit strange.
Don’t all cats lay the other way? I remembered asking myself.
Suddenly, I was jolted out of my snooze, what had happened? Had we won gold? No, I realized that my lap and pant legs were wet. I’ll give a clue…it wasn’t snow, and it wasn’t ice.
It was warm and it was ….moving! Oly had one, only one, big, dumb Swedish kitten on my lap! Yikes, this had never happened, ever before in my lifetime. Has it ever happened to you? You might be wondering what I did.
Oly eventually turned around and started to lick her newborn snow-white kitten, purring as she went, a definite pro. And it seemed to me, a light of intelligence was sparkling in her eyes. After the licking she picked her new child up by the scruff of the neck, hopped off the couch, brought her downstairs to the laundry room where she had prepared a not so intelligent place for baby…on the cold concrete floor! I really don’t want to say this, but I’m back to that big dumb Swede phrase again.
I’m not sure that I ever recovered from being birthed on. I do remember Dave calling and telling his Uncle that the ‘white cat’ was completely recovered and we both would be dropping off Oly and her huge kitten, the next time we were down to visit.
Snip, snap, snout this cat tail is all told out.
PS Did the research: these Olympics were held in 1980 in Lake Placid. It was memorable in so many ways- the birth of one cat and our hokey team getting gold medal when they weren’t favored (back then we played with collegiate players). Eric Heiden also won 5 gold medals in speed skating.
PSS Daddy, if you are reading this, please excuse the word ‘dumb Swede’…even though you are the one who taught it to me. And I think you raised 3 daughters, that also are the opposite of ‘cold fish’. We are warm and loving women and one that has even put up with a cat delivery on her lap!