Our family had a weekend home in a mountain town called Valle de Bravo, which was about a two hour car trip from our home in the hills above Mexico City. This beautiful Mexican town is situated in a forest, surrounded by a pristine aqua lake. Many people compare it to a Swiss Village. We didn't even know that this house existed for over a year.
One day the Mistress returned from a trip to the United States with two cat carriers. She opened them up in our favorite sunning room, and left us alone. Of course our curiosity got the best of us. We sniffed them, gingerly stepped into them, and jumped right out. After several hours of close proximity, we no longer were intimidated. Then the Mistress set our food dishes in these carriers. That act triggered the alarms in our heads, enough to ignore the food. To our surprise, we were offered no other dinner, and eventually had to climb back in and eat out of our cat carriers.
The next weekend, Canica and I were placed into the carriers and driven to this weekend home in the woods. It was our second car trip (the first was when we were adopted and brought home) and we protested with meows and yowls. Since we were placed on the floor, we could not see the beautiful scenery or enjoy the black and gold Monarch butterflies that Miss Cassandra and Miss Ticiana raved about. Finally we arrived and were released from our cages. Like bolts of lightning, we dashed under the house, where we stayed all night. Miss Cassandra and Miss Ticiana tried to coax us out, worrying that the owls or coyotes would get us, but the adults assured them that we would be fine.
The following morning, awakened by the roosters, we stretched, yawned and crawled out from under the house. What beauty surrounded us! We were sitting in a clearing in the forest. The sun glimmered off our red tile roof and warmed our coats. We sniffed sweet odors of pine trees, fresh grass and warm earth. The colors were rich and the morning was sparkling. We smelled and then saw smoke coming from our stone fireplace. As we gazed appreciatively at the lovely house, with its tile, stone and thatched foundation, the Mistress called to us from the kitchen. With high expectations, we raced up the wooden steps and through the doorway. This was worth the trip!
After breakfast, Miss Cassandra and Miss Ticiana put the rabbit leashes on us and tried to take us for walks. We balked at this, sat right down and refused to budge. Gently, they removed the leashes and quietly coaxed us into following them around the yard. With their guidance, we became acquainted with our weekend home. Soon we were following them down to the stream which flowed into a small waterfall. We watched as the girls splashed and played in the water, catching frogs and water puppies. There we discovered large flat rocks which provided warmth for afternoon naps.
Canica and I were now adolescents and curious about everything within our world. Here in Valle de Bravo we reveled in new terrain to explore, and a fantastic house with so many nooks and crannies. In the basement we discovered a family of mice. Early one evening I caught a small one and proudly carried it to Miss Cassandra, who was playing a game with her dad by the fire. She let out a shriek as I gently deposited it by her feet, causing the mouse to run for safety and Miss Cassandra to flee screaming to the kitchen. Puzzled by the reaction, Canica and I decided that perhaps they would prefer these offerings dead. But when he took one to the Mistress, reading in her bed, he got the same reaction. Alas, we no longer took them these valued prizes.
There was a farmer and his family who lived in a small house on our property and watched over the house while we were gone. One fine day, Canica and I were sleeping in the sun when we heard festive shouts of "Ole!" We stretched and walked to the window, where we witnessed a most unusual sight. The caretaker was dancing about in the street before our house, holding in front of him a red cape, and swaying it back and forth to attract a calf. This young bull was snorting and pawing the ground and quite offended with the ceremony. Suddenly he decided to rush at the cape, which seemed to be the man's intention. More shouts of "Ole" came forth, as the wife and friends joined in. Canica and I were privy to a private bull fight!
As the family realized that we enjoyed our weekend home, they took us more often. We still protested the cat carriers, and often convinced the girls to let us be free in the back seat. The family was a happy lot, and sang songs or played counting games to make the time fly. One song in particular will always remain in my memory. They called it "The Bumpedy Road." It was a parody of one the Mistress's family had invented when she traveled to her childhood weekend cabin. The original song was written because the road was unpaved and bumpy. My Mistress, her sisters and brothers and their parents, used to ride in an old pick-up truck over this road, bumping all the way. She told us the story many times, laughing at her memories. This old cabin sat next to the Millicoma River, so after they arrived, covered with dust, they would rush down to the river for a swim. Then they all had to clean the cabin of mouse droppings before settling in for the weekend.
The words "It's the Millicoma view" were changed to "It's a Valle de Bravo view." They would always sing this song as we came around the final bend on the outskirts of the town. Everyone would join in the song, even their American childhood friends and family (remembering it from earlier days) who came to visit us. Here is the song:
"Now we're on the bumpedy road
The bumpedy road, you see . . .
Oh we will slip and slide and we'll bounce around the car
And soon we'll come to our kitties' bar.
Next King's Ranch will come into view
A great herd of elk we'll see.
It's the Valle de Bravo view
You should really see it too
It's the cabin life for me!"
This would be accompanied by many giggles and teasing, since some of them were pretty much tone deaf and sang off key. But everyone had fun, and we quickly learned the words, and sang in our minds. And we were quiet for those few minutes of every trip, because we cats do like singing.
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