The conversation interrupted the latest from Durand Jones & The Indications. I didn’t say it out loud, but I silently hoped that the verbal volley would be worth turning down the volume knob jutting from the dash of the Ford.
I like a conversation, but sometimes I like music better. I only get so many hours in the vehicle alone, and today I wasn’t.
“Julius is helping me heat the house this fall.”
This statement would not be a sentence worthy of turning down a stereo in most social situations. Maybe a head nod while waiting for more detail, but Julius is a cat, and I reached— quickly— toward the controller.
“Julius is helping me heat the house. He’s a passive solar cat, and I am saving money on heating oil and wood pellets. He’s a good boy.”
Sammy (not his first name, but only a shortened version of his sir name that I created for reasons that are not quite clear) has three cats. All rescued, and only one of them likes me. Simon is a gray tabby. He always comes to see me when I am tasked with feeding them. The rest of the clan hide all over the antique captain’s home sitting high above the tidal river.
If I stay for more than an hour, Julius will usually come out and stare at me. Gypsy-Boy? Gypsy-Boy heads to a closet at the top of the stairs. He was found on a dirt road somewhere in the wilds of Penobscot County. He only likes Sammy. I accept it. My job is only to stop and feed them. Gypsy-Boy reminds me of me.
Sammy noted that I had become more interested in the story, so he continued.
“You know the glassed-in front porch?” I nodded that I did. The porch overlooks the river. It was an add-on to the old place in 1910. That’s the historical documentation that resides nowhere but inside Sammy’s head.
“Julius sleeps mornings. I leave the porch door to the kitchen pulled shut— but not latched— when I leave for work. On the sunny days, the porch gets heat-soaked; it faces southwest. It soaks up the sun all day, and by one o’clock, it can be ninety degrees out there while the house is only in the 60s. Julius waits until it’s really warm on the porch, and then he nudges the door open to go nap on the windowsill in the sunbeam. It allows all the built-up warmth to transfer to the main house.”
“How do you know what time he goes out to the porch?” I’m inquisitive, and while I believe animals are much more intelligent than us, I couldn’t understand why Julius would wait until the heat builds up before heading out to the sunbeam. A sunbeam is a sunbeam, and all creatures love a sunbeam. I know I do.
“I’ve seen him do it several times when I am at the house on the weekends. It’s like he knows when it’s time. You can feel the heat rush into the house. Right now, through November, I can leave the furnace turned off. Works the same during the spring. The furnace still kicks in on cloudy days. The porch doesn’t warm up when it’s cloudy, and Julius doesn’t nudge open the door unless it’s sunny.”
Sammy lives alone, so he economizes consistently. Running a big old house on one income can be taxing.
“Even overnight, the house won’t drop below sixty degrees when the temperatures outside are in the forties, and then it starts all over again the following day. I love it! This cat is saving me a lot of money!
We determined that Julius is a genius. Well worth the cat food that he consumes. He consumes a lot. The veterinarian recently advised Sammy to cut back on the kitty’s kibble as Julius is chubby. I have provided a photo of Julius from this past March, it’s obviously clear that it must have been cloudy that day. Julius is beside the pellet stove.
The story was over, but Sammy was pretty proud of his cat. I could see that. I surmised that with all the talk about the cat saving him money, I might manipulate him into purchasing the next couple of coffees. I, too, like to economize.
I turned up the stereo. My Durand Jones & The Indications had long since completed its run. We passed a series of motionless wind turbines on the hills out beyond Aurora as we motored northeast.
“Julius is more consistent than those things,” Sammy muttered.
“Yes, Sammy, I know. He’s a solar cat.”
Thanks for reading my stuff. Make sure you check out my “appearance” on the Mike Rowe podcast, The Way I Heard It. It’s called “The Duck of Justice Flies Again.” Mike’s been a great supporter of my writing, and I appreciate the opportunity to spout off a bit.
You can find it wherever podcasts are available, and directly from Mike Rowe’s “The Way I Heard It” Facebook page. Easy to find.
Thanks for your kind and generous donations to the BuyMeACoffee app. We keep the page free and open, but that’s the way I pay “Interweb-Matt” and keep this up and running. So much generosity I have felt during this run. Do not ever donate if funds are low. It’s a volunteer-only endeavor. I want you here reading the stuff regardless of all that. I just like having you all here.
Check out my new book, “Got Warrants?” wherever fine books are bought, sold, and borrowed.