Archive for November 1st, 2016

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Kim Douillard is a fine photographer. She blogs here at Thinking through my Lens. She posts a weekly photo challenge with a single word. I don’t often take the challenge, but this time the word familiar interested me. I started thinking about the root of this word. I was surprised to find an odd connection to Halloween:

A low-ranking demon given to a witch by the Devil for the purpose of strengthening the witch’s power. In medieval times familiars were commonly thought to be animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and toads. In shamanism, a familiar is a spirit who protects a shaman from illness and unfriendly forces and is also known as a totemic animal, guardian spirit, power animal, or tutelary spirit.

Bill, our male outside cat, often whines at the back door. And what he wants isn’t food. He wants Charlie, my dog and his familiar, to come outside. Bill rubs and rubs on Charlie. Charlie, in turn, humps Bill. These are signs of animal affection. Bill is our familiar, our guardian cat, ready to fight the evil spirits of birds and squirrels and raccoons who wander into the protective area.

The first definition in the online dictionary for familiar is “1. Often encountered or seen: a familiar landmark. See Synonyms at common.”

This gas pump was a familiar site of my youth. Gulf was the well-known service station. My mother would pull up in our Oldsmobile station wagon with the fake wood on the sides and wait. The attendant would pump the gas, wash her windows, check the tires, and give us a piece of candy. Those were the days…


These days the presidential election campaign is heating up (or gone off the deep end, rather), but in our small town of New Iberia, politics happens on Main Street. My husband will not discuss national politics, but he can talk all day with his friend Dan who is running for Mayor Pro-Tem. Here they are at a political rally complete with signs, beer, jambalaya, and a brass band.


Thanks, Kim, for giving me a word to focus on for this Slice. What does familiar mean to you? Join the conversation with #familiar and @nwpianthology.

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