Charlie Harris from the best-selling "Cat in the Stacks" series by Miranda JamesFor the first time since I moved back to my hometown five years ago, I'll be taking a vacation. It will feel odd, leaving Athena, because I have settled in so happily here after a couple of rough years after my wife died. Helen Louise Brady, my girlfriend, talked me into a trip to Paris. She lived there for several years while she studied French cooking, and I've never been. Paris is supposed to be a romantic city, and I know I will enjoy seeing it with Helen Louise.
We won't be alone, however, because this is a family trip. My daughter Laura and her husband, Frank Salisbury, are going. It's part of their honeymoon; we'll spend a few days together in Paris, then they are heading to the south of France, where a cousin of Frank's has a house. My son Sean and his girlfriend, Alexandra Pendergrast, are going too. No honeymoon for them yet, although I have hopes Sean will get around to popping the question one of these days. My boarder -- and now practically a member of the family -- Stewart Delacorte will be with us as well. He has friends in Paris and London and will spend part of his time with us.
All this means that Diesel, my Maine Coon cat, would be pretty much on his own except for my housekeeper, Azalea Berry, because my other boarder, Justin Wardlaw, will also be out of town with his family. Azalea has warmed up to Diesel quite a lot, but I don't think she'd relish staying in the house for two weeks to look after him. Fortunately, Miss An'gel Ducote volunteered to cat-sit while we're away. So Diesel will be going to Riverhill, the beautiful antebellum home belonging to Miss An'gel and her sister, Miss Dickce, while we're away. They'll take great care of him, and it should be a peaceful couple of weeks for all concerned. I'll miss the big guy, because we haven't been apart a single day in the past four years. But he'll have fun with the Ducote sisters, I'm sure.