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Marg-Ins Life Number Nine
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As is the case with many small town papers, much of what we share in our once-a-month columns here on the 'perspective' page is of a personal nature. It's a way for readers to get to know the reporters and myself a little better; what makes us tick, our likes and dislikes.

Many of you responded with emails, personal contacts, phone calls, and even a couple of sympathy cards when I shared the loss of my nearly 18-year-old cat a few months ago. The cat had come with me when I made the cross country relocation from upstate New York to Central California.

The loss was difficult but not unexpected, given her age. Many wondered if I would ever get another cat to replace her.

Well, not by my choice, but rather by my husband's, a new cat has graced our home.

Actually, it's a kitten. My husband and the kitten took a mutual liking to each other and he warned me; he said it might just have to come home with him, since the people he knew had a few kittens they wanted to place in good homes.

I wasn't opposed to the idea, necessarily, but I wasn't really looking forward to it, either. Ocho had been with me so long and had gone through much of my 'growing up' process with me that it was hard to think of some other animal coming in and taking over the house.

But I thought, well, it's a kitten so I'd probably grow to like it in time.

When I returned home from work one Monday night a few weeks ago, I glanced down the hallway into the bedroom and saw a tiny little head snap up sharply, silhouetted in the hall light. It had happened ... my husband had brought the kitten home.

With a bit of trepidation, I walked into the bedroom and switched on the light and this big-eared, bob tailed, squish-faced ball of incredibly silky smooth fur bounded over to the edge of the bed and cocked its head at me as if to say, 'who are you?'

My husband just chuckled as the Siamese kitten introduced itself.

'He's brought home Yoda' was my first thought. This kitten's face just took me right back to Star Wars and that wise old Jedi master, Yoda. The overly large ears, the flattened face, the twinkling know-it-all eyes.

Don't get me wrong; I loved Yoda. He was a great character. So is this one.

"He looks just like Yoda," I told my husband.

He chuckled again, informing me that the people who were giving him away had actually started calling him that as well.

It fit, so Yoda was officially welcomed to the household.

He may have started out as my husband's best friend, but it didn't take him long to turn that around and become attached to me.

Personally, I think it's because he knows who feeds him, but maybe there is something about animals that makes them gravitate toward those who they know will give them unconditional love.

It has been a learning experience.

Yoda has discovered that jumping on the toilet when the seat is up is the fastest way to get wet, even if you don't want to.

He has found out that, if you get your paws just right and move them really really fast, you can unroll a lot of toilet paper before the adults come running in to stop you.

He has a fondness for batting foil balls all around the kitchen and almost invariably finds a way to knock over his water dish at least two to three times a day during the chase after the ball.

He has discovered that jeans are pretty easy to climb up when they are on someone's leg, at least until the person shrieks and shakes you off.

An empty 12-pack soda carton is his favorite spot; he will often send his foil ball into the carton and then dive in after it. Or he'll just hide in the carton and grab anyone walking by.

He has finally started to grow into his ears so he's slowly starting to lose a bit of that likeness to Yoda, but the name has already stuck.

He will curl up at the base of my pillows, waiting for me to come to bed and then make sure he is within touching distance, sleeping at my feet, in the crook of my arm and occasionally draped on my face so we are nose to nose. His noisy little purr can lull you to sleep.

He's still learning and growing, getting the message that the kitchen counter is not an appropriate place for a cat to be walking and that we don't jump up on the bird cage just to see them flap their wings really fast and make that loud squawking noise.

I think Yoda knew he would be replacing a cat that had a special place in my heart because he has come up with his own unique way of making sure he's at the top of my list, too. Many pets - well, at least dogs - will show their excitement when their owner gets home by wagging their tail, licking the face, turning circles, what have you.

Yoda has developed his own way of greeting me. When he hears me come in the back door, I can be assured that he'll come running out into the kitchen to say hello. I clap my hands, hold them out and he does a pretty good vertical leap to reach me, already purring as I pluck him out of mid air and we start our snuggle session.

Not a bad thing to come home to.

Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at HYPERLINK "" or by calling 847-3021.