Louis Lizzard and Clara the Cat

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, August 4, 2021

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There are happy and sad parts to this tale of Louis Lizzard and Clara the Cat. First, the happy part.

Donna Sue and I are blessed to have a villa in Panama City Beach, Florida. We like that part of the Panhandle and Donna Sue spends more time there than I do as she is retired (although still working in ministry), while I am serving two great churches in South Georgia.

The villa has a patio and Donna Sue being Donna Sue has used one of her substantial gifts to raise many varieties of plants and flowers. The patio is separated from the resort landscaping by a black wrought-iron fence. The fence has segments and they are about three feet long with intermittent spikes and small globes.

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Donna Sue noticed early that there was a small lizard that liked to perch on the small globes and survey what he considers his kingdom. Sort of like King of the Mountain.

I said to Donna Sue, “We’ve got to ‘name’ that lizard,” and the next time she sent me a text picture of the lizard, she had named the lizard, Louis. But it wasn’t just Louis the lizard, but Louis Lizzard. Get it? Louis Lizzard, after the late, great southern humorist and author of books like, Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes! That’s Lewis Grizzard.

I think Donna Sue hit the nail on the head with a perfect name, Louis Lizzard. Louis shows up every morning and sits on top of his world. I assume Louis is a male, although I wouldn’t know. I’m not looking, if you know what I mean. He’s of a brownish, gray color and sometimes shows off by “poofing” out his neck.

When Louis poofs out his neck, that portion of his body turns red. I looked up just why they do that sort of thing. It could be that they are showing off, but also that they are intimidating a rival.

I don’t know if Louis Lizzard is as funny as Lewis Grizzard. He has yet to publish a book or tell a joke about Clemson or Georgia Tech. I have no doubt, though, that this patio is his!

I know what you are thinking; is Louis a lizard or a gecko? You were thinking that, right? How would I know? One difference is that lizards have external ears and movable eyelids. Geckos don’t. I may be a friend of Louis’ but we haven’t become so intimate that I have given him an examination. I say he is a lizard which is better for his name. Louis Lizzard is better than Geek the Gecko!

Meanwhile back to Bainbridge and Clara the Cat. This is the sad part of this tale. With all the rain that we have been getting, the five-gallon buckets on our outside deck are full to overflowing. Every morning, for a while, I would see this orange, tabby cat standing up on hind legs and drinking the rain water out of one of the buckets.

I told Donna Sue about the cat and, one day, she asked me about Clara the Cat. Again, I don’t know many people who can “name” animals better than Donna Sue. Clara the Cat and Louis Lizzard became everyday conversation.

Clara wasn’t our cat; she was a friend to many a house. She walked the neighborhood and never seemed to be in a hurry. I haven’t seen her in a week and I’m feeling that something bad, as in a highway accident, might have happened to Clara the Cat. My loss!

Nature’s animals and our friends. With all that is going on these days, I’m thankful for Louis Lizzard and Clara the Cat, RIP!