On the Town

Hungry cats struck fear into the hearts of Babbie’s other pets

Babbie Guscio
Babbie Guscio

Pets - most of us have had them I imagine. Our family has had quite a few pets of all kinds. We have had mutts of all sizes and shapes, cats of many colors, untold mice and hamsters and fishbowls laden with the beautiful orangey goldfish, two parakeets and several baby squirrels.

Little did I know cats know immediately when something with fins or feathers arrives. I quickly found it to be true when, if by magic, the goldfish would vanish from their fishbowl. I was at a loss as to what happened until - after replacing the fourth or fifth goldfish - I found Snickers the cat on the mantle with his paw ready to strike. At least I had the brilliant idea of getting the same colored fish replacement each time one met its’ executioner. I never confessed to the children until later about what had happened, an effort to save face for the cat.

The fate of the parakeets was a different matter.

Will loved his little birds and was trying to teach them tricks. Each day, they were let out of their cage to fly around with Will trying to get them to light on his shoulder or finger. There was a blue one and one that was the color of Granny Smith apples, both so pretty.

One day, they were let out of their cage while there were other children around to show off the tricks they had learned. By this time, Snickers the cat had acquired another housemate named Beaufort, who was a very clever handsome tuxedo cat. The two together were quite a handful and were always up to naughty deeds. The children went out to play forgetting to tuck the birds back into their cage and leaving the two cats inside. All that was found when Will and his friends came back inside were two or three feathers on the floor. It was a tragic scenario that took several days to recover from.

Next came mice and hamsters in cages the cats could not conquer. I had no idea how much noise hamsters made running in their wheels all night long. I also did not know one had to find out if the mice were ladies or gentlemen and that you should always get the same sex if there was more than one in the cage. We therefore quickly had so many mice, a constant unbelievable feat, that we were at our wit’s end.

One day when Don and I were out we got a terrified phone call from the baby sitter pleading with us to come home as fast as we could. The mice had escaped - and there were lots - from their cage and were running all over the house. When we got home, it was a scene of pure bedlam. We caught as many as we could - I don’t think we ever got them all - and put them in a big packing box. The next day I found a lab in Savannah that told me they would be happy to take the mice and I never asked why.

The Chinese have pets. Not pets like we think of as cute and cuddly but creeping, crawling critters like crickets and cicadas.

These pets are revered for their singing and are kept in little bamboo cages or clay pots. The practice of collecting these singing insects began more than 2,000 years ago. The only bad thing about having an insect like this for a pet is that they only live for a few months no matter how well they are taken care of. So I was thinking if I had little bamboo cages I could catch some of our Bluffton singing insects I have been hearing lately and make a fortune selling them. They would not need a visit to the vet and eat almost nothing and do not have to be walked outside in the middle of the night.

Eating for the arts

Celebrity chef Virginia Willis and other notable chefs will give us all an opportunity to learn secrets of Lowcountry culinary traditions at a four-course dinner from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Callawassie Island Club.

This fun evening is a benefit for the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage and will include a silent auction, music and dancing.

For information and tickets go to www.morrisheritagecenter.org.

Go nuts for peanuts

I can’t wait to get my fill of boiled peanuts.

The Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival will be held from 12-5 p.m. Sept. 10 at Bluffton Village.

There will be the cracking of the “big nut” and a Lil Miss Peanut and Lil Mr. Peanut contest at the Bluffton Farmers’ Market on Thursday, September 8, which should be a real treat.

The piece de resistance of course will be the Boiled Peanut Cook-offand a boiled peanut eating contest on Saturday at the Bluffton Village. There will also be great live music all day.

Go to www.boiledpeanutfestival.com for more fun information.

Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street or at thestoresc@gmail.com.