February was showing its true colours this year as Gary and Morris sat inside watching the snowfall. It was cold. Not just a little, but a lot. The windows inside the Herveycats shelter were all frosted up and it was cold, dark, and quiet outside.
“I wish it wasn’t so darn cold out,” said Morris.
“I’m with you on that one,” said Gary.
“I want to go outside,” said Morris.
“It’s just too cold out buddy,” said Gary. “Maybe tomorrow?”
Marjorie walked by while the two were pondering their day. She was holding a box of Valentine’s decorations to put up around the shelter.
“What are those?” said Morris.
“Let’s get a closer look,” said Gary.
The cats jumped up onto the shelter counter where Marjorie had just set the box down. Inside it were a bunch of bright decorations, some with glitter, some with tinsel, all a bunch of different strange shapes.
“These look like decorations of some kind,” said Gary.
Morris was already rubbing his cheeks on the side of the box. He was rubbing them so hard that he actually pushed the box over on its side and a bunch of the decorations fell out.
After sniffing the decorations on the counter for a little bit, Marjorie came by with a second box. Gary and Morris had since plopped down on the smooth decorations, their fur feeling slippery on their surface.
“What are you two boys doing?” said Marjorie, as she gently pulled the decorations out from under each cat and put them back into the box. “Are you getting in the spirit of Valentine’s Day?”
The two cats looked at each other as if to say, “What is Valentine’s Day?”
“It’s a day where good friends let each other know they are appreciated! I appreciate both of you, so here! Have these little valentine’s hearts!”
Marjorie then put two heart stickers on each cat’s forehead and left to grab another box of decorations.
Gary and Morris pulled the hearts off their foreheads and then started looking through the boxes of decorations.
“I’m not sure about this Valentine’s Day, but I feel like it’s a good reason to have a party!” said Morris.
“It’s the reason for the season!” said Gary.
“What does that mean?” said Morris.
“I’m not sure, I’ve just heard that a lot,” said Gary.
Just then Marjorie got back with a third box of decorations.
“There are just too many of these,” she said. “I’ll use these two and have one of the volunteers throw this last one in the garbage.”
With that, Marjorie stacked the two boxes she wanted and walked off with them… leaving behind one box of decorations in front of Gary and Morris.
“You heard what she said, right?” said Gary.
“About the decorations?” said Morris.
“Yeah!” said Gary. “Grab one end of this box and follow me.”
Both cats picked up a handle of the box with their teeth and walked it to the back door.
“Are these for the party?” said Morris.
“You got it buddy!” said Gary.
The two cats were excited about being on the same page.
“Remember that old cottage we found with Bullwinkle and some of the other animals?” said Gary. “Let’s see if we can have the party in there!”
“That’s a fantastic idea, Gary! We are going to need some help getting these decorations over there though. The snow is so deep!”
“I think we might be able to get our pal Bullwinkle to help us with that, but first we have to get to him to ask for help!”
Edging the back door open, Gary and Morris set out into the cold snow drifts along the backside of the Herveycats property. The two cats got lucky in that much of the snow had already hardened along the top and their little paws weren’t breaking through the top layer of ice.
The wind was harsh, blowing the cats’ fur away from their bodies.
“This icy wind is a lot worse than I thought it would be,” said Gary.
“You’re telling me,” said Morris. “I’m worried I might get a cold!”
After walking for about ten minutes, they reached the abandoned cabin located near the water’s edge. Bullwinkle the moose had been staying there since they found it as it was just the right size for his big moose body and antlers!
As the cats approached the door, they could hear Bullwinkle snoring away.
“Bullwinkle!” they called out several times.
The snoring continued.
“BULLWINKLE!” they shouted even louder.
The snoring continued.
Gary and Morris looked at each other, jumped up to an old window with a missing pane, then screeched as loud as they could.
Eventually, the snoring stopped. They saw his giant head with even bigger antlers pop up, then his legs, and then his entire huge body, but he stood up too fast and fell over again.
“Who’s there?!” said Bullwinkle.
“It’s Gary and Morris!”
“Oh… sorry guys. You scared me! I was in the middle of a dream where I was running through an endless forest of small trees, then when you yelled my name it was like my antlers got stuck on two big trees.”
“Sorry big guy!” said Gary. “It’s Valentine’s Day!”
“What is that?” said Bullwinkle.
“It’s a day the humans celebrate,” said Morris.
“Yeah. It’s a day to let your friends know they are appreciated. Like this!” said Gary, who then reached out and put his paw on Bullwinkle’s forehead.
“Right…” said Bullwinkle.
“Would you want to have a party here?” said Morris. “We could bring the decorations and invite all our friends!”
“It has been rather lonely here lately,” said Bullwinkle. “Once it gets cold so many of our friends go into hibernation or just stay inside! If we invite them here, they will know they can come here and stay warm with us!”
“That’s great!” said Morris.
“We need to do a little planning first,” said Gary.
The three animals discussed their plans. They first needed Bullwinkle to give them a ride back to the shelter to get the decorations, then back to the cottage to put them up. After that, they would need to drop by each of their friends’ homes and invite them to the party. Then they needed to gather snow in some of the old dishes at the cottage and bring them in to melt – providing drinks for their guests!
“What about snacks?” said Morris.
“Let’s grab some food while we’re back at the shelter getting the decorations!” said Gary. “I know where it’s kept!”
Bullwinkle and the cats were very excited about their plan and as soon as they finished discussing it, they were on their way back to the shelter.
“Bullwinkle, you sure handle the deep snow well,” said Gary.
“Sometimes it’s lucky to be tall and very heavy,” said Bullwinkle.
When the three arrived at the shelter, a couple of volunteers noticed them pull up. Two cats sitting on a moose isn’t something a person forgets.
“Gary, Morris! What are you doing up there?!” said one of the volunteers.
They rushed over to talk to the cats but Gary and Morris had already jumped down and taken off! Bullwinkle stood calmly for the volunteers who took their phones out and snapped pictures of him. He felt very beautiful.
While the volunteers were busy noticing Bullwinkle, the cats ran into the shelter and pulled some food out of the fridge. Gary had become quite good at jumping up and opening doors, and one day he noticed the fridge was just another door…
“It sure is lucky the humans keep their food wrapped in bags and other items!” said Gary, as he walked past Morris carrying a bag of lunch meat in his mouth.
“It’s like everything has a convenient handle on it!” said Morris.
The cats closed the fridge door with their foreheads and then booked it for the back door.
“Gary, wait!” said Morris. “The decorations!”
“Right!” said Gary.
Morris grabbed the box and dragged it over, but he knew it would be too much to drag it outside, even if just to a place where Bullwinkle could carry it.
“We need something to put the decorations in; a bag of some sort,” said Morris.
Gary looked around and saw a reusable bag sitting on a shelf. He jumped up and then tipped it off the edge onto the floor.
“Throw them in that!” he said.
With a bag of ham in one cat’s mouth, and a bag of Valentine’s decorations in the other’s, the two cats pushed their way out the back door.
As they got outside, they noticed the volunteers were still fawning over a now VERY confident Bullwinkle who was posing for their photos.
“Let’s book it around the edge of the property and then call for Bullwinkle when we are in the clear!” said Morris.
“Sounds good to me,” said Gary.
With that, both cats darted along the edge of the property until they were just getting into the valley when the snow was terribly deep. Morris then turned around and called Bullwinkle’s name as best he could.
Bullwinkle was busy changing his position and grunting for the humans when he finally heard the faint sound of Morris yelling.
“Sorry folks, it has been a pleasure,” he said and turned to walk away.
“That was amazing!” said one of the volunteers. I’m going to show Marjorie my pictures!
By the time the three animals arrived at the cabin, it was already just past lunchtime. The cats dined on a bit of lunch meat while Bullwinkle ate some small twigs and branches.
“Let’s divide and conquer,” said Bullwinkle. “Why don’t I take one of you around to invite people, while the other one stays here and puts up the decorations?”
“That’s a great idea!” said Morris.
“Do you mind if I stay here?” said Gary. “I’d like to keep out of the wind.”
“No problem!” said Morris. “Let’s hit the trail, Bullwinkle!”
With that, Morris and the moose took off to invite their friends! Gary was busy putting all the decorations up, gathering snow in the old dishes, and making sure everything was where it should be.
After a little while, Morris and Bullwinkle got back to the cabin and with them was the whole Raccoon family!
“We gave them a ride. The snow is deep and the little ones needed a safe way here!” said Bullwinkle.
Mama and papa raccoon thanked them and headed inside.
Soon the other guests started to arrive. The little mice were so light they ran there on top of the snow, but the rest walked there using the trails left behind by Bullwinkle’s giant body. By going to each animal’s home to invite them, he inadvertently built a network of trails in the snow!
Arriving via the Bullwinkle tunnels were a family of skunks, some deer, and a handful of birds who hadn’t migrated for the winter and were living in the bush. Kyle the prairie dog arrived with a bunch of his friends and family, and so did Terrance the beaver! Right behind them came a pack of foxes and some of their larger relatives – wolves!
“Hello everyone!” said Bullwinkle. “Welcome to my cabin!”
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” said Morris.
“Yes! Happy Valentine’s Day!” said Gary.
Once everyone was inside, the raccoon family helped get a fire started in the fireplace and the cabin got very warm. Everyone was having a great time talking and catching up with each other.
“It’s so hard to stay in touch when it gets cold!” said one of the wolves to a fox. “You guys are almost always inside!”
“Well, we go out, but only when we have to!” said the fox.
“Bullwinkle, how do you stay in here without your antlers knocking everything over?” said Mama Raccoon.
“Very carefully!” said Bullwinkle, with a laugh.
Gary and Morris handed valentine’s cards out to everyone at the party, and let each of them know they were appreciated.
“Thanks for coming to the party everyone!” said Gary. “We have the best friends a cat could ask for. Heck, the best friends any animal could ask for! Here’s to you all! Cheers!”
Gary lifted a bowl of water up as a toast, and the rest of the animals did too.
Alas, it was starting to get dark and the animals wanted to make sure they could get home safely. Once it got dark, it got a lot colder and many of the animals would go home to shelters that would need to be warmed up again!
“Time to go little ones!” said Papa Raccoon. “Bullwinkle, can we get a ride with you again?”
“Definitely,” said Bullwinkle. “Climb aboard! While there is room, I can give a ride to anyone else who needs one!”
A couple of other animals jumped on his back and off he went.
Gary and Morris waited until all the guests had also taken off. They left the decorations up for Bullwinkle when he returned, as well as a special card they wrote thanking him for being such a great friend and hosting the party at his cabin. It also had a post-script thanking him for clearing out a road to the Herveycats shelter using his body to plow through the snowdrifts.
With that, the cats headed down the Bullwinkle path back to the shelter to settle in for a good night’s sleep. Just like the rest of their animal friends, their hearts were full, and they were ready to close their eyes. Valentine’s Day was a success.