Thursday, August 30, 2007

Farewell to Paws

A few of you very kindly e-mailed me to ask if I had perhaps developed a small drinking problem during my stay in Miami.

The short answer is "No".

However, I was certainly inspired to throw back a few when I recently visited the home of the infamous writer and drinker, Earnest Hemingway.

I rented a candy apple red convertible from Avis, and drove the 164 miles down to Key West to visit the small dive shop where I was PADI certified. While there, I went on a short tour of Earnest's famous Key West home.

Hemingway often drank to mask the many ailments he suffered from. These conditions ranged from WWI shrapnel in his legs, to liver and kidney failure, to major bouts with chemical depression.

In the end however, it was "prescribed treatment" that brought about his shotgun suicide.

A fact not widely known is that Ernest Hemingway was a major cat-lover. He admired their spirit and independence, and often wrote about them in his books. Hemingway was given a special six-toed cat named snowball from a ship's captain. Snowball had extra toes (technically known as polydactyl, or Latin for "many digits").

Today, approximately 50 cats, half of them polydactyl, make their home in the Ernest Hemingway Museum and Home, in Key West, protected and taken care of by the terms of his will. The cats have full run of the place, and like most cats they go where and when they please.

The cats are taken care of by the staff and a full time vet. They are oblivious to the many tourists, and ignored us while we were there, preferring to just cat nap wherever they found a cool quiet spot to sleep.

I snapped a few shots of some of the more interesting ones.
(*Note the extra toe on some of them)

In the 1920s, Hemingway bet his colleagues $10 that he could write a complete story in just six words. They paid up.

His story: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

I wish that I had half of his talent.

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Blogger Loving Annie said...

What purrrrr-fectly lovely pictures, Peter !

Hope that you have a great Labor Day weekend !

10:11 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Interesting. And very good pictures of the cats.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Betty said...

OH god, hemingway is my sole mate. A home full of cats- that's heaven!

11:55 AM  

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