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The Slice: Homeward bound: A tale of Lewis and Clark’s cat

Today is the anniversary of the date in 1806 when Lewis and Clark, having reached the Pacific Ocean the previous November, turned around and headed back to St. Louis.

It seems like the perfect occasion to revisit the little-known diary of the six-toed cat named Tommy (after President Jefferson) who accompanied the explorers on their journey to the Northwest. Here are some excerpts of the cat’s historic expedition journal, first noted here in 1999.

“Heading home at last. I never thought I’d say this. But I’ve about had my fill of fish. I could really go for a cheeseburger.”

“Let’s just hope we do not encounter any of those huge blond bears on our way back to St. Louis. Those bruins make the men befoul themselves and then it stinks for days.”

“Do my old friends back home miss me? I wonder if cousin Erasmus still has his job as head mouser at the Budweiser plant.”

“Both Lewis and Clark seem weary, but I will bolster their spirits with shin rubs.”

“Western birds are quite colorful. And tasty. But remind me to bring some salt next time I go camping.”

“The men speak often of their desire to build shopping centers and car washes.”

“I wonder if the Cardinals have addressed their bullpen issues.”

“It will be good to see my common law wife, Sneaky Paws, who lives with the Nez Perce. I just hope she understands when it’s time again for me to hit the road.”

“The mountains out here really know how to make themselves appear big by arching their backs. Impressive.”

“I wonder if one day buildings will be named after Sacagawea.”

“I would prefer that the native people we encounter not regard me as game. Creeps me out.”

“Next time I come this far west, I hope my people take the Wagon Queen Family Truckster.”

“We’ve run out of beans. Thank God.”

“Was approached by an enormous tawny feline. I said “Go!” and the big cat seemed to smile and then just disappeared into the forest.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything. But this one member of the Corps of Discovery has been wearing the same exact outfit for 200 straight days.”

Today’s Slice question: How will you answer when asked, “Did you watch the game?”

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Some people never stopped wearing short sleeves.

 
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