Everyone wants family pictures. To get past the usual studio shots, my mother brought out Bernice Ransom, portrait photographer of socialites, to make some of my brother and myself at our home.In her advertisements, Ransom claimed that “children…pets…home sittings…our special ‘cup of tea’!” What she didn’t tell everyone was that, with a cat, the first challenge was to get them to sit! As you can see below, it went downhill from there.
Right: Buff in the foreground, expressing his mood perfectly. In the background is Valentine, the stray Siamese we found on February 14. Even the stray cats are a cut above in Palm Beach.
|Valentine can’t tell the difference between the grass in the yard and the fringe on the rug. Buff is already tired of this photo shoot.||
Getting your subject to look in the right direction is one of the challenges of successful portrait photography. Looks here like Bernice Ransom has met her match.
Valentine still can’t figure out what the fringe in the carpet is all about. This time though Buff looks on from the other direction.
|Bernice Ransom tries yet another pose. Buff shows yet another direction to look in.|
Don’t call me late for dinner: Buff shows how to tough adversity out for the important things in life. Just before Christmas he tore a claw in his left rear paw. The vet (not Buff’s favourite person) fixed him up a “cast” (actually a bandage wrap) on his paw while it healed. In the meanwhile, he continued life with his two favourite activities: travelling (this shot was taken while he was “on the road” at Ocean Reef, down the coast from Palm Beach) and eating.Buff didn’t always like what we fed him, and to express his displeasure he turned 180ø from the pose you see, shook his back leg in rapid succession against the bowl, and walked away without turning back. In this regard he was Biblical:
- “If no one welcomes you, or listens to what you say, as you leave that house or that town, shake off its dust from your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)
- “But Jesus answered: ‘No one who looks back, after putting his hand to the plough, is fitted for the Kingdom of God.'” (Luke 9:62)
About our Siamese Cat
Cat breeds are like most anything else; they come and go in fashion. Although they’re not as popular as they used to be, in the 1960’s Siamese cats were the breed to have. Applehead Siamese cats were almost a lost breed but they’ve come back in the last few years.
But for two boys who needed a playmate who had enough personality to be fun but wasn’t smart enough to win, Buff was perfect. (Photo at right illustrates what we’re talking about.) He brought love and warmth into an environment that sometimes came up short of both.
In a sense, he defined a home as much as he brought joy to it. The year he died, my parents began their divorce, my brother got married and I graduated from college; our home as we knew it was at an end.
Before his departure, Buff taught us many interesting life lessons: some of these are as follows: