Please welcome D.L. Luke to the blog today:
The Real Story of B, Bernard (Born 1990-Died 2005)
based on the children’s book B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat
written by D. L. Luke
Bernard, nicknamed B, was a cat born in the streets of Hoboken, New Jersey. I had been living in a garden apartment on Willow Avenue, between Ninth and Tenth streets, when I spotted a young black male trespassing in the backyard. Without the usual pride cats possess, Bernard sauntered up the path with a graceful swagger in his stride.
My pets Penny, a long-haired black and white Maine Coon, and Saint, a Calico adopted from a local pub, were both sprawled out, sunning themselves on the concrete patio in front of the rose garden when Bernard stopped by to say hello.
I looked out the window and watched the reaction of the two females that were unpredictable and hot-headed; and they hated each other. Within minutes, B’s charm and sophistication won the trust and friendships of the two felines, forever. There was no exchange of menacing looks, snarls, hisses, arched backs associated with cat fights that occur when one dares enter into another’s territory. Bernard was invited into their hearts and into their home.
Initially I took no action or made no decision since I assumed he belonged to a caring person; but I soon found out he was a stray. I watched him beg for food from my neighbors, climbing fire escapes, jumping over six foot chain-link fences before I decided that I cared for him too much to see him get hurt, sick, or run over by a car. I took him to the vet, had him spayed, vaccinated; and I adopted him.
His name was a metamorphosis of other names that came about through trial and error until a name best suited him. The way the sunlight made his fur turn the color of dark chocolate, I called him ‘Brownie.’ As time progressed and I got to know him better, I learned he was a sentient creature, one I’d never met before or since, (not all humans have this trait), conscious of life all around him and his unique place in the world.
The Bear was released the year before and I fell in love with animal portrayed in the movie so much that I wished to have one of my own; but owning a wild creature was out of the question.
When I met Bernard it was as if my wish had come true. The way he moved, the postures his body made was different than any cat I’d ever met; his broad square head turned like a bear in the woods listening for the sound of a bee flying about in the hopes of finding honey. His whole foot stomped on the ground instead the typical feline that walk on the tip of their toes.
The stray black cat from any one’s perspective would be considered quite vulnerable, the quickest victim to any childish or deliberately mean prank not only on Halloween, but any day in the year. Reality for stray cats in any urban area, including The Mile Square City was harsh and downright cruel. Even if Bernard had just gotten off the streets, he still thirsted for the outdoors. I left the back window open three quarters of the way during the day in good weather so that all three animals could make full use of the garden. During the day they came and went as they pleased; but at night, the window was closed and they slept inside.
There was no doubt in my mind that I took a chance in allowing B to continue to explore the neighborhood on his own; but I found it next to impossible to try and keep an animal indoors when they were birthed from the big wide world. What B needed was extra protection; so, I enlisted the help from my deceased German great grand uncle and named him Bernard, which means ‘bear-hardy’ or ‘brave as a bear.’
His nickname ‘B’ came about as a result of not wanting to disturb the neighbors when I yelled out to him at night to come home.
Eventually, we left Hoboken and moved to a house in Troy, upstate New York. For the remainder his life, I made sure B was loved and well taken care of; and he in turn gave me not only love, devotion, and companionship, but much more than that. He left me with his life story to tell and share with children of all ages.
Title: B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat
Author: D.L. Luke
Genre: Children’s Adventure Book
Length: 160 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2015
About the book:
The night before Halloween in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Willow Witch summons Bernard, nicknamed B, and eight other strays to enter in the Black Cat Contest. Each contestant must find three ingredients for her witch’s brew. When the trials are complete, aye on Halloween night, the winner will become her familiar and gain a home. Although he lives with Victor, a grim, gaunt, and ungainly-looking crow that roosts on the eaves of an abandoned coffee factory, B has been homeless since Mrs. Blue, his human recently passed away.
Finding the three ingredients is the least of B’s problems. If there isn’t a car, truck, bus, or taxi cab to run him over than the Feral Cat Crusaders are there to lock him away in the animal shelter.
Currently Available at:
Amazon US B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat
Meet the Author:
From the first generation inspired by the heroes in the movie Star Wars, D. L. Luke, also known as Diana Denner was born in New York City, in 1965. A published short-story writer, painter, and former printer, Denner earned a free education and graduated in 1993 from The New School in New York City with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Fiction Writing and American Literature. She received the Margarita G. Smith award for a short story in 1993 and in 1994 she won the Pen & Brush award for a first draft children’s book. At the time she attended school, Denner had lived in Hoboken New Jersey (from 1987 until 1994) when B, the main character of the book, a stray black cat, appeared in her backyard. She adopted and loved Bernard for the rest of his life.
A recipient of the New York Press Association third place award for a feature article in 2005, Denner pursued a career in journalism, writing for newspapers in the capitol district and Finger Lakes region and is editor for empirepage.com website New York State Watch. When Denner is not hiking, reading, writing, enjoying the great outdoors, she takes care of her dog, Jesse, and her cat, Johnny, in their home in Troy.