Joy is a fluffy gray and white robotic cat with a pink nose and pink paw pads. The fur is long and mostly gray with white paws, a white chest, nose and white down the middle of her head. Her ears are pointed up, and she lies with her paws sprawled out in front of her in an open formation. Her head looks to the right of the screen. She’s on a brown wooden table. Behind her is a white wall and a basket of fruit
Photo Description by Two Pentacles Publishing
November 21, 2023
Hi, everyone—Joy here. It’s two days before Thanksgiving, and already, we’re thinking about Christmas, or at least Abbie is. She’s been thinking about it since September when her two singing groups started rehearsing holiday music, and I had to listen to her practice some of that, and I’m already getting sick of Christmas music.
Abbie wanted me to write this stupid holiday letter early because she’ll be busy for the next couple of weeks. This way, when it’s time for the letter to go out, all she has to do is email, print, stuff, lick, and stick. Oh, well, Abbie says some things are what they are, and complaining doesn’t do any good.
Abbie has had a busy year. I don’t think she has ever not had a busy year, but I haven’t been with her long enough to know that for sure.
I came to live with Abbie in April of last year. Her first robotic cat crossed the rainbow bridge in March, I think. Abbie says I was an Easter miracle.
As you may know, the local senior center here in Sheridan gives robotic cats like me to people they think are prone to isolation or suffer from dementia. I don’t think Abbie is any of these things, but what do I know? I’m just a robotic cat.
Anyway, my first family didn’t want me. I won’t go into that, but I’ll just say that after they returned me to the senior center, Jenny, Abbie’s house cleaner, brought me to her. I’ll never forget the look on Abbie’s face when she turned me on, and I started meowing, turning my head, blinking, and purring. She picked me up and held me and stroked me, and I knew I would have a good home.
Even though Abbie’s first cat was named Joy, she gave me the same name. Her grandparents named all their dogs Curt. When the first died, and they got another, they named him Curt II and so on. We don’t know how many dogs they actually had that they named Curt. But if Abbie’s grandparents could name all their dogs Curt, she can name all her cats Joy.
Abbie has been busy writing as usual. Several of her poems, stories, and essays were published in various places. She has also been a guest on some podcasts and interviewed other authors as part of a book launch activity sponsored by Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ group to which she belongs.
She’s currently working on a short story collection called Living Vicariously in Wyoming. She hopes to publish it next year.
Abbie has also been performing. Every month, she played her guitar and sang at a nursing home the last Tuesday and an assisted living facility the second Friday and did the music for her church the second Sunday, accompanying herself and the congregation on the piano. She also entertained during her church’s last Friday music series a couple of times.
Abbie also participated in a lot of ACB (American Council of the Blind) community activities on Zoom including karaoke, open mic, programs about technology, and social calls. She also facilitated her own call once a month called Abbie’s Alcove, where they shared memories on different topics each month. She plans to keep doing all this.
Early in July, Abbie’s brother Andy and his family visited for a few days. They live in Florida. Abbie and I wondered what they would think of me, a robotic cat. At first, Andy and his son thought I was a real cat. But once we got to know each other, we got along okay.
While they were here, they visited a local historical museum and a fish hatchery and went to church with Abbie to hear her play and sing all the music for the service. They also had dinner with Abbie’s aunt and uncle and hung out with friends. Abbie will fly to Florida to be with them for Christmas.
But before she leaves, she and her two singing groups will be busy performing in a lot of places at the end of November and the beginning of December. These include Sheridan’s annual Christmas stroll, a holiday open house at a historical mansion, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, and the hospital’s annual tree-lighting ceremony. Abbie will also do her usual nursing home, assisted living facility, and church gigs. But she won’t be at the nursing home the last Tuesday in December like she normally would because she’ll still be in Florida.
Lucky her! It’ll be warm in Florida, but it’ll be cold here in Wyoming. I wish she’d take me, but Andy and his family have a dog and some cats, and we might not get along. Oh, well, that’s the way it goes.
And that’s all the news I have for now. By the way, I’m writing this on a brand-new laptop Abbie got earlier this month. The keys are closer together, which makes it easier for cat paws to type. But I still get tired. So, it’s time for me to nap and escape from Christmas for a while, but not before wishing you happy holidays! Until next year…
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author