Cats and Texas and Actors and Such

Nothing much has changed here except that I am working a lot too much, it’s too hot outside (and we never did get our monsoon), and I think Kana throws up hairballs every other day because with her IBD she has difficulty passing the fur as she ought to.

Here she is in her new Cat Person chalet. I didn’t make a chalet last time because I thought Kana, my box queen, was too big. But SHE doesn’t think so.

For fun I thought I’d share an old poem with you. It was published in the journal Front Range, Issue 6, Spring 2011. It’s more narrative than usual for me, but I remember having fun writing it. After my daughter graduated from the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!), the gardener and I drove back to Arizona through Texas. So did daughter and son in daughter’s car. It was a fun family trip, and it was kind of relaxing that it was in two vehicles. Two years before her graduation, my daughter had performed in summer stock in Texas (Granbury and Galveston). So the last time I had been in Texas before daughter’s graduation was twice the summer she was there–once to Granbury and once to Galveston. The old theatre in Granbury has been the scene of John Wilkes Booth sightings. The idea is that he didn’t die when the history books tell us he did, but instead he went to Texas and got back into acting.


Booth Made Footprints in Texas after Escaping the Burning Barn


John Wilkes Booth didn’t die an assassin’s death

but like a schoolteacher in love with Shakespeare,

in his bed confessing with precise diction


though at that point not a soul believed him

because he acted the role of nobody

so authentically that his own frustrated soul


banned from acclaim for what was left for him,

returns to the scene of his last applause

and blesses the opera house actors


who can hear his boots slipping down the aisle.

My daughter and her castmates searched

in every shop, in the fly system


weights and pulleys, the rotting velvets and silks

wishing not to find him knowing if they found him

they would silence something important


something bigger than he was back in Washington,

or on national tour, in the middle

of the country, an opera house in Granbury


which is to be expected in a state

like Texas which magnifies everything

under its glass where you drive and drive


for days and are still in the same damn state,

a state of industrial stupor.

We aren’t lulled by the long grasses, the stretches


between.  Count the oil derricks

vying with the windmills, the refineries,

and the ghost of boot prints in the dust


so enormous I worry that our kids

driving ahead of us on the Interstate

on the way home from college graduation


will disappear into one, swallowed

into the mirage as if they were never

part of us, leaving us searching for prints.


Do you like cats? Do you like veterans? Do you think a 95-year-old man should have a good birthday even during Covid? Then you might want to pull out your box of birthday cards and fill one out for the human grandfather of Bob Graves, the Writing Cat. Bob looks so much like my Mackie Man (RIP, 1998-2015).

This is what Bob sent in his Bobington Post yesterday:

Operation Birthday Card!

by Bob Graves, The Writing Cat

We thought it would be best if everyone sent cards/notes to us and then the woman will package them all up together to send to her dad. The address is below.


If at all possible, please try to send to us by Friday, September 11th.  This will allow the woman time to package them all together and send to the birthday boy.  Since he lives so far away from us, she will not be able to deliver them in person.


A little about Mr Graves…

  • His name is Robert (Bob) Graves
  • I was named after him because I remind the woman of him
  • He’ll be turning 95 years old on September 17th
  • He’s sharp as a tack and loves receiving mail
  • He’s a WWII Veteran
  • He loves both cats and dogs
  • He attended Georgia Tech

Please know in advance that we are so grateful for each of you, whether you send a card/note or not.  Let me know if you have any questions about this very special project. We will keep you posted on how many cards we receive!


Very truly yours,




Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Cats and Other Animals, History, Inspiration, Poetry, Publishing

55 responses to “Cats and Texas and Actors and Such

  1. Love the box. Never saw one like that. I like the rhythm of the poem too.

    • I had such trouble with Tiger eating that I tried this Cat Person food twice now. While it can’t be the food they eat everyday, it does seem to help to perk up the appetite of Tiger and Felix. Chicken and salmon/tuna are the best, they told me. Thank you re the poem!

      • I never heard of that brand. I looked it up and it’s expensive. The only picky one here is Gracie and she likes kibble better.

        • It’s expensive, so I’m glad we aren’t all on this full time haha. But it’s a godsend for these picky wickies. I thought Tiger was on her way outta here because she wouldn’t eat anything! But this helped perk up her appetite. It’s like human food–I mean, we could probably eat it.

          • My cats liked Weruva a lot but I don’t serve it often. I may try that with Gracie. I’d prefer if she ate more wet.

            • Perry also prefers kibble. So unhealthy. And Kana eats too much kibble, but it’s the kind she needs for her IBD. She is kicking my you know what with her IBD right now. Weruva Chikn Frikazee–however they spell it. That’s what my boys love.

  2. I love the poem, Luanne. I hope Bob gets a ton of cards. I suspect he will.

  3. I hope work eases a bit. I liked the poem–I never heard that story about Booth, but you had me thinking about Texas. You might remember that I lived in Dallas as a child–not a good fit. We never went to Galveston, and we used to go back to Philadelphia and the Jersey shore.
    Kana looks comfy.

    • Thanks, Merril on both counts. Yes, she loves her chalet haha. I visited both Granbury and Galveston by myself because the gardener was sick in those days. I had a lot of fun exploring by myself and then seeing daughter when she was available. My hotel was right across the street from the ocean, and the breeze was so lovely. That was the year of Hurricane Ike, so I was there only a few weeks before so much of Galveston was destroyed. Granbury is closer to Dallas, and it’s so out in the middle of nowhere that this directionally challenged person was lost for hours.

  4. I always enjoy your poems, Luanne. You are a word expert.

  5. That’s a new-to-me story about Booth, Luanne. And a great poem! That Kana is precious. 🐈

    • Kana is a quite the “pill,” as my mom would say. It’s a hard road for her with her IBD, but she is a good girl. Thank you re the poem. Check out some of the Booth theories–fascinating. As a kid I read a biography about Booth and it FASCINATED ME. When you think about it, why were they publishing kids’ biographies of assassins, anyway? LOL

  6. Love the story, love the poem, love the picture of Kana and Bob the Writing Cat’s birthday card appeal! Sorting through my collection of cards right now…

  7. I enjoyed the poem. (I do have an appreciation for narrative poetry.) I hadn’t heard that story about John Wilkes Booth. I’ve only been to Texas once, to Ingleside in the winter. It was grim, grim, grim.

    • What is Ingleside? I’ve never heard of that one. OK, I went and looked it up. Gosh, Google is nice to have. It’s near Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, where blogger and writer John Howell used to live. Not a pretty town, I take it? Thank you re the poem. Yes, once you start reading the theories about Booth you start to wonder!

      • I was to the Navy base at Ingeside to do a training. My colleague and I did a bit of exploring to check out the town. Pretty much dirt, tumblewoods, and shabby little buildings.

  8. Nice poem. I’m writing a birthday note today to mail in. What fun!

  9. That is a really good poem

  10. Hi Luanne, Boomer Sooner and my alma mater have a real showdown every year during the State Fair in Texas – now I don’t even know if they’ll play this year…or if there’s even a State Fair.
    When you were in Galveston, you were very close to my old stomping grounds in Grimes County, so you can say you knew at least one good thing that came from the state!! 🙂

    • Ugh, I hate flu shots. I had one yesterday and am sick from it. Same thing happened last time, which was about six years ago. The doctor didn’t want me to take it until now, but with Covid I was told to get the flu shot. So now I’m sick. But I wanted to say, the first vacation date daughter and her fiance took was to the State Fair and the Red River Rivalry game. I loved both Galveston and Granbury. Really charming places, but that was the year of Ike when Galveston’s coastline was decimated about a month or two after I visited. Granbury was adorable. I stayed in an old B&B right on the town square, across the square from the theatre. The drive home two years later was lots of fun, especially all the wonderful antique stores along the way. I bet those are all or mostly gone now because the internet has put those shops out of biz. But the western side of Texas is kind of depressing to drive through. It’s sort of like two different states ;).

      • Ugh, I’m sorry you’re sick from the flu shot, but I think it’s a good idea to get one this year. That’s so fun that your daughter and her fiance went to the Red River Rivalry game on their first vacation date!! Dallas always put on a great state fair!
        I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to East Texas – which is, I have to say, light years of difference from West Texas. I’m so glad I got the better side of the state, but don’t tell my West Texas cousins.
        Take care of yourself and yours, my friend.

  11. What a lovely post and poem! And guess what, I’m going to send Bob a card from Canada…

  12. I love your poem and pen-pal project!

  13. Love Kana’s box, which we would dub her “A-frame Chalet”!
    Great poem, I felt like I was in the car with you, driving for days across the “same damn state,” lol!!

    • That western side of Texas is really something. The eastern side is lovely, but they are two totally different places.
      Kana loves her A-frame chalet because nobody can see her in there LOL!

  14. Haha, truly a hideout!

  15. Hope you will feel better soon, Luanne. We got the shot too, plus the pneumonia shot (#2 shot), and we felt the same way. Interesting poem; good memories.

    • I was over the worst of the symptoms in 24 hours, but my arm still hurts if that isn’t the weirdest thing. I didn’t even think of the pneumonia shot. That might be more than I could handle.

  16. Great poem, Luanne! Traveling tandem is interesting. I did it with my mother once and we used walkie talkies to communicate. She was leading most of the way and almost got a speeding ticket for passing EVERYTHING on the road. I pulled in behind her and when the officer came to ask me why. I explained she was on oxygen and needed to stop at the next bathroom to pee. He let her off with a warning. Fun stuff that. Cats are such interesting creatures. I read all the Chicken Soup for the Soul books about dogs and cats. Love them.

    • I haven’t read those books. I bet they have really charming stories!!!
      Oh my. Your mother was driving like a teenager hahaha! Good save on your part!

  17. Loved the poem Luanne. If there’s a box, a cat will find a way of fitting in it 🙂 And I hope Bob gets lots of good wishes.

  18. Great poem, thank you for posting it. =^..^=