In today’s modern world, a few bookstores still dot some city street-scapes like portals of past. Survivors of the info/internet age and amazon.com, they continue to thrive and grow. Along with great books by fine authors like Baldwin and Bronte and Hemingway and Steinbeck and Anne Rice, I enjoy meeting the store’s resident cat.
In Aardvark Books on Church Street at Market next door to a bar, Pilsner Inn, that serves well drinks for $4 all day every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I sat down to re-read the beginning of a childhood favorite, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon...a reading that, at first, did not last long since Owen, the cat, jumped into my lap without warning.
Owen is one of those big beautiful orange tabby cats like the infamous Morris the cat in American TV commercials, but Owen is smaller, slimmer than Morris and is such a charmer he’d melt your heart the moment he jumps into your lap and arches his back for your hand to stroke his silky fur. Once that happens he begins to purr...softly.
Soon, Owen is so comfortable he climbs meticulously up your chest and pushes his furry head up against your nose. After a kiss, he slips back down into your lap and reclines into a ball; then stretches one paw up your shirt, the other rests at your waist. His purrs are soothing as he falls in and out of sleep the way cats do, and I smiled happily, and continued re-reading Chapter 1 of Lost Horizon and then another book I would buy for $12.50 John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.