Let No Day Dawn that the Animals Cannot Share Excerpt
Foreword by DeForest Kelley
(“Dammit, Kris, I’m an actor, not a writer!”)
(Written in 1995)
My first meeting with Kris Smith was on a beautiful, clear, crisp spring day in May, 1968. I was serving as Grand Marshall of the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival. My wife, Carolyn, and I were riding in an open convertible. The streets were lined with people. Suddenly I noticed the shining face of a teenager running alongside our slow- moving car waving a sign, which proclaimed, “We Love DeForest Kelley.” We managed to make some hurried dialogue with her as our driver kept pace with the other parade vehicles.
Sometime later I received a letter from Kris, along with an essay describing her experience meeting us on that festive occasion. I was so impressed with her writing ability that I sent the essay to a national motion picture magazine—and they wanted to publish it. I wrote to inform her of this, and to express our hope that it might lead to something interesting for her future.
At a later date we learned that Kris has always had a great love for animals (a devotion we share) and we were delighted to find that she has put her talent to use to benefit animal welfare in various national publications. Today, while pursuing her goal to become a screenwriter in Hollywood, she continues her dedication to animals at Shambala, Tippi Hedren’s wildlife preserve near Acton, California, the facility which provided her gorgeous “serval son,” Deaken, a much-needed place to stay during the lengthy transition from Washington State to California. Carolyn and I have been privileged to meet Deaken, both at Shambala and at home in North Hollywood. Deaken must have known that “Mom-Cat” Kris approves of us, for he immediately greeted us with enthusiastic head rubs and licks, which Kris says she had never seen him do before to anyone but herself.
I refer to Kris as “the best Mom-Cat I know” for she has a touch of magic with animals, wild and domestic. She is deeply concerned about their welfare in the wild and in captivity, and about our own environment and welfare on this planet.
As you will see within these pages, Kris possesses a real talent for expressing her feelings regarding matters that tug at so many concerned hearts.
But make no mistake about it: Kris has a “wild” sense of humor, as well. She is known among some of us as “Krazy Kris”. She’s crazy, all right—crazy like a fox.
MEMORY OF A TIGER CUB
The tiger cub winds itself around my legs
And chuffs in contentment, flopping onto the floor
As we sit, pretending to be quite unruffled
By the incident. We are all professionals here,
And should expect to be buffeted by tiny tiger paws
From time to time.
I try to act normally, but inside I am dying with
Excitement, thrilled by the cub, loving the cub Who now sleeps soundly atop my shoes.
Someday she will weigh three times More than I.
And will she remember the evening she slept Soundly atop my shoes?
Natasha tigress, burning bright There in heaven, safe tonight
How we miss you here below… We sigh in your afterglow.
We miss your stripes, your kiss, your eyes And sit and wonder why goodbyes
Should leave us feeling so bereft: Natasha, you have never left!
We feel your presence in our minds We see you EVERYWHERE, divine!
The tears we shed do not impart
The joy you left us, tiger heart.
We know your god will treat you right
And you’ve no pain or needs tonight
But we hope, rightly enough
You remember us fondly—with a chuff.