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To all my LJ friends: I'm sorry for having almost completely disappeared these last few weeks. I wasn't posting much as it is, but lately I've hardly even been able to comment on the posts of others, and that makes me feel bad. As some of you know, my daughter is getting married in ... two days! Thus, the being busy. I'm going to continue to read my flist as much as possible, but it might be another week or so before I can start commenting or posting myself again -- except for the stuff I have to get done anyway, like my column. Later I'll have some wedding pictures, and maybe post my father-of-the-bride speech, if it goes over well.

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

http://www.wane.com/global/story.asp?s=5515910
scroll down to see the video: http://www.wane.com/Global/category.asp?C=1185


Well … laugh at me about my seeing nightmare cats now, why don’t ‘cha?

More black cat sightings have been made, this time down in Adams County on the other side of Fort Wayne. This time, witnesses got it twice on video, making it clear they were seeing a very large exotic animal, probably a black leopard. Not a fat house cat, not an alcohol induced eye spot, and not Bigfoot. The line to kiss my hand and beg forgiveness forms here. Clearly, that’s my black cat.

Or, maybe not.

Those of you with long memories will recall that this all happened in Noble County a few years ago, with a series of sightings of what I like to call the “Big Honkin’ Cat”. We’re not talking Too-much Special Blend cat; we’re talking a “Call out the Japanese Army, this thing is a mutant” kind of a cat. There had already been sightings in the past when, one day, I got wind that it had been seen in a field just north of SR 8, almost at Albion town limits.

Naturally, I headed out there, because when a man-eating feline is seen wandering in an open field, isn’t a person’s first impulse to run outside and say, “Here, kitty kitty kitty …?”

I saw it twice – once running so fast that no human could escape it, including people in fast mopeds or small cars; and once crossing a field, where I got a good look at it in profile. In all the time since then, I have never spoken ill of a cat in public. Fear is a powerful thing.

Anyway, most sightings of the animal were in a crescent shaped area around Albion – and yes, it did give me a feeling we might be under siege – but, like any good urban legend, no one ever got it on camera. After awhile, the number of sightings waned, and then it was no more. Maybe it died, maybe it got caught by its original owner, maybe it went off to Hollywood to star in a remake of “Tarzan” … who knew? Based on witness accounts, including a sighting by an exotic animal expert from Black Pine Animal Park, the conclusion is that it was a black leopard. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as a black panther – not that I’d want to tell them that.

It was weird that people argued so voraciously over whether the cat, which I have named Sir, ever existed. (I figure if I ran into it again I’d say, “Hello, Sir”, and maybe it would go easy on me.) I’ll admit I was as doubtful as anyone, until I saw it stomping along like something out of a 50’s horror movie. But we’re not talking Bigfoot here, people.

Granted, Black Leopards aren’t native to this area, but the very simple explanation is that it was brought here, and either escaped, or was released by an owner who couldn’t afford 8 tons of kibble a week to keep its purr furnace going. It wasn’t a UFO; it wasn’t the Loch Ness Monster (which I understand has been sighted near Churubusco); it wasn’t an honest politician; it wasn’t any of those things that most serious people don’t believe in.

It was a cat. I mean, it was a cat in the same way King Kong was a monkey, but still – just a cat. I found it strange that people thought of it as some kind of Bermuda Triangle thing and, I confess, I also found it annoying that I’d become one of those people who was forced into the position of defensive believer.

So why am I not triumphantly declaring this as proof that my cat exists? Because Karen Hoag, cofounder of Black Pine Animal Park, saw it at the same time I did, and Karen knows a whole lot more about exotic animals than almost anyone else around here. She says these cats tend to set up a territory and stay there, rather than traveling all the way around the second largest city in Indiana. She knows their habits, saw my cat (and in no way is that a claim of ownership), and she knows of whence she speaks.

So what does the Adams County sighting prove? Two things: First, if it’s happening now there’s no reason to think it didn’t happen before; and second, there are some really stupid, nutcase exotic animal owners out there. Even if it wasn’t illegal to have those animals without a permit, how smart is it? Couldn’t they get a poodle? I mean, instead of the cat, not with it – owning both would only end badly.

If Godzilla showed up to smash Albion (that would take, what – three Godzilla-sized baby steps?), that would surprise me. If Dracula set up a mansion on the edge of town, I would be taken aback. If the federal government shrank, I’d have a heart attack and go to the Light. But a big cat? Cool (unless you’re being eaten), but not a reason to mobilize FEMA.

Maybe, one of these days, a male and female leopard will both escape and set up house together somewhere. Give that a few years, and then we’ll have something to talk about.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
adriana_is
Oct. 12th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
wha? Huh? Your daughter is getting married in two days?

I did not know! CONGRATULATIONS proud Papa!!
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
I thought I'd made a post when they got engaged, but now that I think on it, they got engaged a year ago, when the only thing I was posting here were my stories and columns, and I only had a few people on my flist. I guess this seems like a huge surprised I'm dumping on people!
kathyh
Oct. 12th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Hope the wedding goes well. Best wishes to all involved.
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks. There's been a good bit of mother-zilla going on involving three different mothers (his, hers, and mine), but I'm hoping they'll be all settled down by the time the ceremony starts.
francis_eugene
Oct. 12th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Congratulations are in order (I think)!

With regard to the cat...

...the cat, which I have named Sir, ever existed. (I figure if I ran into it again I’d say, “Hello, Sir”, and maybe it would go easy on me.)

I'd be careful about that. Suppose it's really a "she" and gets all pissed off at your casual presumption that if it's dangerous it must be male. I'm just sayin'. :)
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
thanks (and yes!)
Hm. Very good point. Most likely, if I meet it in the open I'll just curl up in a submissive little ball and whimper, anyway.
frimfram
Oct. 12th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Aren't all panthers black? Except at dusk I guess, when they must fall in line and be grey.

And, dude. Something tells me your father-of-the-bride speech is not going to tank.
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
There's no doubt in my mind that my speech is going to tank. :-( It's not like anyone's going to want to hear a speech at that point, anyway ...

Actually, what people think of as black panthers are technically black leopards. I got a lecture on that from the Black Pine Animal Park lady, and confirmed it when I found a picture of a black leopard on the internet that exactly matched the one we saw. As I'm understanding it, panthers are actually a group of felines, of which leopards are a member, so you could argue semantically that either one is right.
spikereader
Oct. 12th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Wedding
Two days - my that time has sure gone quickly (well, maybe not perhaps for you). I hope everything goes smoothly and my good wishes go to your daughter and your future son in law. Tell her to stop and take time to watch and remember what's going on every now and again - the day rushes past so quickly.

Have fun!! And good luck with your speech - I'm sure it will be a Mark masterpiece.
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Wedding
maybe it'll be a masterpiece, if I get some time between now and then to practice it!

Funny thing about the time ... it has gone very quickly, while at the same time it seems to have gone on forever. But I'll pass on your wishes, and maybe somewhere along the way Charis will take the time to savor the moment -- it hasn't happened so far, though!
cordelianne
Oct. 12th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
I hope the wedding goes well!!!! Hopefully you're able to have some time for yourself to relax at some point!

*uses icon in honour of the escaped leopard*
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Perfect icon! Except this cat would be playing human poker!
(Deleted comment)
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
time is a scary thing
Yes ... in this case, it's gone both quickly and slowly, at the same -- ah -- time.
strangexgirl
Oct. 12th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
<3
Don't worry about it- your daughter's wedding is much more important than lj comments, the rest of us will live until next week. :) Good luck with your speech, though I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job. *hugs*
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: <3
I'll probably publish the speech after the wedding, so you'll get a chance to judge for yourself. :-)
empresspatti
Oct. 12th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
Here's hoping you survive the wedding with your sanity intact. Gah! I hate all things wedding.

Also hoping you can still stuff yourself into your dress pants. When last we wrote - you were lamenting that they were tight - but celebrating that they were not tight enough to have to go shopping.

See you online!
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC)
I'm a huge fan of avoiding weddings at all cost. In fact, I'm famous for saying I'd rather go to a funeral than a wedding -- because with a funeral, you know the pain is *over*. :-) But avoiding this one was pretty much out of the question.

I've dropped another 3 pounds since making that comment, mostly be a little exercise and giving up Mountain Dew in favor of its diet version. The pants are still tight; but I'll be able to get 'em buttoned.
curiouswombat
Oct. 12th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
Have a wonderful wedding day, all of you!
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And love the icon!
curiouswombat
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
It seemed a suitable one! It's a Groucho Marx quote, and the icon was made by ladytalon if you want to copy it. :~)
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Groucho's my hero
Thanks, but I've already got so many icons that I spend more time deciding which one to use than I do writing my messages!
(Deleted comment)
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC)
I just hooked up a scanner, so regardless of how the pictures get to me, you'll see them! Thanks for the wishes!
synaptikchaos
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)



oh wait...
ozma914
Oct. 13th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)
Those would be the black panthers I was most worried about upsetting.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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