"Are you serious? I'm getting to go to Virginia again?!" I said excitedly.
Phil nodded. "You have a lot of fans there apparently. You have to give the people what they want."
Phil was always so wise in what he said. I knew he was right. I was off to visit with Boni, Sanjee, Mini, and the rest of the fabulous felines in the House of (Mostly) Black Cats! And seeing as though this would be my third trip, I was keenly aware of an old homo sapien saying that said the "third time was the charm". Deep inside, I hoped that it would turn out to be true!
Once again as I rode in the backseat of the taxi, I was reminded how Virginia was simply marvelous. I could look at the land for days! The birds chirped pleasantly, the wind gave a gentle nudge, and the trees even seemed to bend to welcome me. It simply is the most serene place I think I have ever visited.
Arriving at The House of MBC, I climbed out of the backseat and made my way to the front door. I knocked politely, but while I was waiting for an answer, I saw two very pretty kitties staring at me curiously. I stared at them and said hello, but they did not say anything back to me. My attention was diverted, though, when two very nice human lady pets opened the door.
"Well aren't you precious?" said the younger one.
"He is simply too cute! We have to get the other kitties so they can say hello." The older lady turned her head and called out: "Boni! Sanjee! Mini! Come say hello to Zeus!"
The two human lady pets opened the door and let me inside their home. I rubbed against their legs to let them know I was very appreciative of being there. I stood in the entrance, but it didn't take long for me to be bombarded by the three (mostly) black cats!
"Zeus! You made it!" cheered Boni.
"We're glad you came to visit us!" smiled Sanjee.
"We were worried that our postcard had been lost! Did the X on the map help you find us?" asked Mini.
I chuckled. "Well, I had been to Virginia before, you know. I sort of had an idea of where to find you!" I remembered the two cats from outside suddenly so I asked, "Who by chance were the two cats outside?"
"Oh! That's Pepi and Gree, our outside brother and sister," said Boni. "They probably didn't know you were coming since we're the only ones who really use the computer."
As we were all sitting there talking and catching up, the doorbell rang.
"You know, I am always surprised by how prompt that Phil guy is," said Sanjee. "He never wastes time!"
We all chuckled as the human lady pets opened the door, and sure enough, there was Phil.
"Boni, Sanjee, Mini, and Zeus. You have $200.00 for this leg of the race. Here is your first clue. Read it carefully, and be safe on your travels."
We opened up the clue and read it together:
Make your way to The Arm of Stonewall Jackson. Once there, search the grounds for your next clue.
"The arm? What does that mean?" I asked.
The three (mostly) black cats laughed. "It's this person's arm. We don't know why, but it's just his arm," said Boni.
"Are you kidding?! Just this guy's arm? In plain sight for everyone to look at? That is completely gross!" I said disgusted.
"No, no, no! It's underneath the ground so you can't see it, but there's a big stone to tell you it's there," explained Sanjee.
I scrunched up my face as I wasn't too sure about this adventure. Seeing someone's arm with no body attached to it seemed a bit morbid, not to mention gross and highly unusual. Even though Boni, Sanjee, and Mini assured me that I wouldn't actually see it, I couldn't stop wondering what was it with these silly homo sapiens and their bizarre antics? Doesn't anyone ever tell these people that burying someone's arm might not be the best thing in the world?
We made our way outside, and the younger of the two human lady pets said that she would drive us to the site. When we arrived, the four of us stepped out of the car and began walking towards the marker. The landscape was really pretty, but underneath the ground was a horrible revelation. Apparently, there were many soldiers buried under the field, and because of 19th century tradition in Virginia, none of them had a marker. 'But the arm has a marker,' I found myself thinking. 'This is creepy.'
Boni spotted the clue not too far off from the gravesite. We opened it together and read:
Make your way to the Museum of the Confederacy. Once there, search for your next clue.
"Do you think this is where we might find out more about who this arm belonged to? I feel kind of bad not knowing its owner," I said.
Boni, Sanjee, and Mini nodded. "Maybe we can ask our Mom to explain some of it to us on the way," said Sanjee.
We made our way back to the car, and once inside, Boni asked the human lady pet who Stonewall Jackson was. "Mom, do you know who Stonewall Jackson is?" asked Boni.
"I sure do! He earned his famous name at The Battle of First Manassas during the Civil War because he kept the Union at bay. A nearby general saw him standing along the hill, and said, 'There stands Jackson like a stone wall,' and that's how he got his name!"
"What's the Civil War?" asked Sanjee.
"That was from 1861-1865 when our country was divided into two parts: The Union and The Confederacy. You're going to get to visit the Museum of the Southern half of the country during that time," explained the highly intelligent human lady pet.
The Museum was absolutely fascinating. We got to look at the soldiers' uniforms, the types of guns they used in the past, and gaze at beautiful artwork that depicted very famous homo sapiens such as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and even the Stonewall Jackson person (but he had his arm this time!). There was furniture from that time and many different types of flags used by the Confederate army. They even had sculptures and stuff used around the house!
As we toured the museum, we found our next clue sitting by this Confederate soldier's uniform. We read it together:
Make your way to the White House of the Confederacy.
"I thought there was only one White House in the United States?" I said.
"I thought that too," said Mini.
"Why is this one different? I also thought the real White House was located in Washington D.C., or at least, the human pet's future mate said so," I said.
"I'm sure our Mom will know what the deal is," said Boni.
We went back to the car to ask the (mostly) black cats' human lady pet what the deal was with this second White House:
"Well, kitties, you see, back in that time, the United States was really a country divided into two parts, and because it was, each side had its own White House. However, the one which is in Washington D.C. is the one we all recognize now as the country's White House," the (mostly) black cat's human lady pet explained.
Confused slightly, but intrigued, we walked back towards the museum and found the White House of the Confederacy right by it. When we walked inside, we were amazed at how large and expansive the house, er, mansion was! It had a lot of its original contents (or so we were told) which included fancy artwork, expensive architecture, and very different pieces of furniture. It was all so lavish that we didn't feel right even stretching our claws or leaping onto the couches for an afternoon nap.
When we had seen enough, Mini mentioned that she had seen a gift shop back in the Museum. We walked back to see if there was anything to purchase, and Sanjee found this cool shirt for her human lady pet as a thank-you for taking us all over Richmond:
"If only it had (mostly) black cats on it," said Boni.
"Really! All it has, though, are Zeuses!" said Sanjee.
"Oh well! Mom will remember Zeus' trip, though, for sure now!" said Mini.
We walked back to the (mostly) black cats' car where their human lady pet was waiting for us. She laughed when she saw the t-shirt Mini had purchased for her and nuzzled them all closely.
"Well, thank you for the t-shirt, but I hate to say it is time for Zeus to go back home to Houston, Texas," she said.
"Awwww," the three (mostly) black cats said in unison.
I smiled politely at the three of them and said, "I really had an interesting and fun time with the three of you! I learned a whole lot about American history, and I can't wait to tell the human pet's future mate all about it. He's a history buff, you know!"
Thank you very much Boni, Sanjee, and Mini (and Pepi and Gree!) for inviting me to your house. I had a very special time with you! Thank you also to your human lady pets for allowing me into your home and taking us around to all the sights! I will remember it always.