The distinct aroma of breakfast made its way upstairs to Daisy well before
she made it downstairs to the kitchen – and it’s an aroma that’s timeless and
familiar, something supremely American – freshly roasted coffee comingling
with the salty scent of bacon and eggs and the sweet smell of pancakes
with a hint of maple syrup in the air. The aroma filled Daisy lungs and
conjured up images in her mind. She crossed through the library where
another of the Langton’s cats was enjoying a nice spot of early morning sun,
upon a coffee table amongst several books.
Charlotte was named by her Uncle Gary who considered her “his cat.”
That’s because it was he who had discovered the kitten searching for scraps
of food on the snowy street outside of his general store last winter. So, he
brought her into the store, named her “Charlotte” and kept her as a sort of
For a while, Charlotte presided over the family’s general store, greeting
customers and, much like Whiskers at the distillery, keeping the shop mouse
free. But soon her uncle grew attached to Charlotte and couldn’t bear to
leave her in the store night after night. So now Charlotte was a part of the
Langton family and generally resided in the library. It seemed more fitting to
her dignity somehow because she had a distinguished air about her.
Slanting rays of black, grey and brown fur almost emanated out of
Charlotte’s green eyes which were separated by a distinctive white stripe
running vertically down to a pink triangular nose. Along her back and sides
were alternating stripes – bands of black, gray, brown and white – and,
when she laid on her back several patches of white made themselves
known under her chin and down her belly while at the bottom of it all four
distinctively different paws – one all white, another white with a black spot,
another white with a gray slash, and finally white with a brown patch –
capped off by a tail that kept a steady beat on the wooden table where
Upon hearing Daisy’s voice, Charlotte – who was rubbing up her head
against a book of Chaucer at the time – opened her green eyes and gave
out what could best be described as a bird-like chirp. Daisy ran her hand
down her fluffy back as she passed, causing Charlotte to arch and chirp
The smell of breakfast was too much for Charlotte as well and she tailed
Daisy closely as she made her way to the kitchen, where her Uncle Gary and
Aunt Jean were already seated and pouring coffee.
“Good morning, love,”
said Uncle Gary.
“Why thank you, uncle…oh!”
said Daisy, as he turned, realizing her uncle’s
warm greeting wasn’t actually for her but for Charlotte, who had bounced
up into his lap and was now pawing away at some toast on the table.
She smiled as she gazed over the quiet domestic scene of her at her aunt
and uncle with the last December morning light of the year washing over
“You’re very sweet,”
said Daisy, as she leaned down to kiss her uncle lightly
on the top of his balding pate.
“Why thank you, Daisy,”
said Uncle Gary, while he fed Charlotte some egg.
“You too Aunt Jean,”
she said patting her aunt’s hand and taking a seat
next to her.
“Oh, you’re very sweet to say, my love,”
said Jean somewhat hoarsely.
Both her aunt and uncle were looking a bit haggard that morning after
spending the previous night entertaining their neighbors on Moss Avenue. It
was their tradition: a pre-New Year’s party that, for their neighbors, was a
warm up for the real thing, while for the Langton’s was the closing night of a
long holiday season of big dinners and even bigger parties. They would
spend New Year Eve’s together quietly at home, with whatever family was
around, playing games (and drinking) until they heard the fireworks go off,
signifying the start of 1897 in the River City.
But Daisy wouldn’t be among them this year. She had plans of her own.