March 20, 2014

Special Feature Intermew with Rana Williamson, MickeyShortTail's Mom

Earlier this month you read #12 Things You Don’t Know About MickeyShorttail’s mom, Rana. In this second intermew, I got the scoop on some of those inpurresting things she revealed.

I sat down wif Mickey's mom in her kitchen. Mickey, the feline half of the Anipal Wedding Planners Catering team of @MickeyShortTail and @FreshOtis, served me snacks of Temptations and toona juice wif a catnip chaser. Mickey's mom had coffee. *shudder*

Herman: Let’s get right down to what’s been yanking my tail since you revealed in your last intermew that you have been to Scotland three times. What’s Nessie really like, and did you get her pawtograph?

Rana: Well, Herman, I found Nessie to be a little standoffish. She just did a swim by about 100 yards offshore and really just showed a couple of humps on her back. I don’t know if she was having a bad scale day or is just shy by nature, but I didn’t get a change to get her pawtograph, which I thought would be a flippertograph, in her case.

Herman: Darn! I was hoping your could give me a reference and I could get the scoop on Nessie. So, what is it about Scotland that makes it special to you? My mom is Scottish, and going there is on her bucket list.

Rana: I’m Scottish, too, and was always fascinated by the country and its folklore. When I was growing up, there was a book in our small town library called The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Each left page was a history of the clan, and the right page was a glossy color plate of the clan tartan. I think I must have read every clan history a dozen times.

I love the wild, windswept highlands and the Scot people. They’re very forthright and down to earth. So going there was a childhood dream. My parents gave me my first trip as a high school graduation present. I was 18 and had never been farther out of Texas than New Mexico. It was quite an adventure to say the least!

Herman: What a wonderpurr gift! Did you try haggis? If so, describe!

Rana: I did try haggis. It’s pretty disgusting. Oatmeal and tripe. Basically a nightmare on a plate, but they serve it with a jigger of straight Scotch you’re supposed to drink down first in one gulp. That’s the only thing that gets you through actually tasting the stuff.

Herman: Actually, tripe sounds pretty good, but oatmeal! *shudder!* (I noticed Mickey nodding in agreement behind his mom.) You began writing for your local newspaper at age 12. What did you write? And what have you written over the years that you’d like to share with us?

Rana: My first job with the newspaper was writing the weekly column of high school band news, and then I became the columnist for all the high school news. I worked at the paper in the summer, and continued working as a columnist on my college newspaper for four years. I’ve written four books, three with Otis’ Mom, and we’ll have some novels coming out this year.

Herman: That’s pawsome! I will post link to your books at end of this intermew. And speaking of books… You mentioned you love Gone With The Wind. What is your opinion on Margaret Mitchell thinking Groucho Marx would have made a great Rhett Butler?

Rana: Margaret Mitchell liked to make trouble, and she especially liked to stir up the all-too-proper Atlanta society matrons. I think by the time she made that comment she’d had too much of the hype over her novel and just wanted folks to leave her alone.

Herman: You’ve seen the GWTW movie more than 50 times. What makes you want to see it again and again, and are there particular scenes you fast forward through?

Rana: Gone with the Wind is to women what The Godfather is to men. “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” is good advice, but there are just days when the only answer is shooting a metaphorical Yankee on the staircase or vowing that as God is you’re witness, there’s something you’re not going to put up with any more.

Scarlett may not have been precious and darling all the time, but she was a survivor. Of course, the real heroine of the book is Melanie with all that quiet magnolia blossom steel in her soul. The book is really about the unlikely friendship of two women in the midst of war and the break up of their civilization, but a lot of people miss that in the broader sweep of the novel.

There really isn’t a scene I fast forward through like all that Tom Bombadil nonsense in Lord of the Rings. Every page of Gone with the Wind is worthy of being read.

Herman: So very true. I slept on it once. It’s a thick book. I got the purrfect drape over the sides. Now for another question that has been yanking my tail with curiosity. Tell us about the cattery you had as a child, and how did you acquire so many cats?

Rana: There is a story behind that cattery. I was raised in West Texas where guns were just a part of life. The people behind us started raising pit bulls, and they weren’t kind to them, so none of what I’m about to tell you was the poor dog’s fault.

I came home from school to find one of the dogs trying to attack a litter of kittens. When I tried to chase him away, he turned on me, growling and snapping. He had the kittens cornered under the edge of the porch, and I had to do something.

Now, understand, I would never harm a dog. In those days, I was an expert shot. I used a very low caliber rifle to shoot under the dog just to throw loose gravel up in a burst to startle him and scare him away. I knew exactly what I was doing, and I was very careful.

The next day, the dog’s owner came to my father’s business, beat on the counter, and yelled, “Your daughter shot at my dog.” To which my very calm and loyal father said, “No. If my daughter shot at your dog, the dog would be dead.”

So Daddy came home and fussed at me a little, pointing out that you really can’t shoot at the neighbors. I’m pretty hardheaded and I told him I’d do it again if my kittens were in danger. Daddy sighed and said, “I figured that’s what you’d say.”

That weekend a couple of his friends who were carpenters showed up at our place and by the end of the day, I had a new storage house complete with custom cat perches and a 20’ x 20’ concrete yard secured by a fence and shaded against the sun.

Daddy said, “Now there. Fill it up with cats if you want to, but stop shooting at the neighbors.” Next thing you know, I had 25 cats. In my defense, he did say, “Fill it up.” LOL

Herman: Wow! You are Wonderpurr! And so is your daddy for making that pawsome cattery. That has to be the BEST STORY I’ve ever heard. Absolutely THE BEST! Now, there is something inquiring minds want to know: Mickey is a member of the Anipal Wedding Planners Catering with @FreshOtis. I just discovered their Anipal Catering blog. How did you discover the Anipals and how did Mickey become one of the Anipal Wedding Planners, especially Catering?

Rana: I discovered Twitter and the Anipals when Mickey was doing his comic strip. It seemed like the right community for a cat with an attitude to find some new friends. Mickey and Otis became buddies about three years ago and basically that little mutt can talk my grumbly tomcat into doing anything, even catering weddings. They’re involved in all kinds of business ventures and in general Otis is very good for Mickey. I hate to say it of my own cat, but he can be a little stuffy sometimes. Otis doesn’t let him get away with taking himself too seriously.

Herman: Cats and big egos go paw-n-paw, I always say. And now for the last question. One of the features of the beloved #TributeRide is when @MickeyShortTail cuts the engine on his bike, removes his shades, clears his throat, and says, “Pals, we gonna take a minute to speak to da Wise Stars.” How did Mickey acquire that portion of the Rides?

Rana: Mickey and the lovely and sweet @DuchessCrabtree used to speak to the Wise Stars together when they were troubled about something, or were sitting together on someone’s porch. When Otis asked Mickey to be involved in #TributeRide, he asked Mickey to talk to the Wise Stars at the end of each ride as a comfort to the pals.

We all talked about it (me and Mickey and Otis and his Mom, Patti) and agreed that the Wise Stars shine down on us. We felt we could speak to the Stars and still honor the traditions of all people who pray in their own fashion or who simply take comfort in the great beauty and benevolence of nature.

The Wise Star talks are just meant as a shared contemplation on the wisdom of leading always with the paw of kindness and remembering that the great hallmark of the relationship we share with our animal friends is unconditional love and complete acceptance.

HERMAN: Well, I unconditionally love you, Mickey’s mom. You're not only inpurresting and talented, but you are Wonderpurr! Thank you so much for letting me intermew you. And Mickey, thanks bunches for the noms!

Readers, if you haven’t already done so, please read #12 Things You Don’t Know AboutMickeyShorttail’s mom, Rana. And follow @MickeyShortTail on Twitter and on his Facebook Page.

Please check out Rana Williamson's Amazon Author Page to purchase her novels.

I encourage you to leave your comments below. And please follow my blog so you don’t miss future intermews, and stories about my future Adventures.

Thank you for stopping by. And please haz a Wonderpurr day!


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