Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Animal Friends—Part 5

Scott and I knew how much Ginny loved Ruth and we knew Ruth was getting very old. So, in our ultimate wisdom, we decided we needed to get a kitten for her for life after Ruth passed on. A co-worker had a pregnant cat and promised us one of the kittens. Earlier than expected we got the call. The kittens were born on the carport and when the owner came home, one little kitten was lying alone on the cold concrete. She picked it up and wrapped it in a towel. As the kitten warmed, she began moving. However the mother totally rejected this baby. Would we like her? So Starry Eyes (aka Star) became part of our family. Ginny diligently feed her with a bottle, talked to her, cared for her. Star curled up on the pillow and slept in bed with Ginny and Ruth. Star grew and thrived. Her paternity soon became evident too because she definitely had Siamese markings and as she got older, the Siamese yowl!

Star always recognized that Ruth was the alpha cat. Ginny was the love of Star’s life. But shades of Mischief (mentioned in an earlier posting), Star loved ONLY Ginny. The rest of us learned not to cross Star. She ignored us at the best of times and snarled and scratched at the worst of times. When Ginny left for college, Star did mellow toward us somewhat—after all, she had no choice. As soon as Ginny moved into a pet-friendly apartment, Star happily rejoined her. Star did not adjust well to Ginny’s marriage! She expressed her displeasure by using Ginny’s husband’s clothes and shoes as a litter box! He declares he slept with blankets wrapped around his neck so Star could not go for the jugular! Interestingly enough Star did accept our first grandson.

Star passed away a year ago at a very ripe old age. I refuse to speculate on where she is spending eternity!

Oh, what about Ruth? Ruth actually lived another five years after we got Star. Ruth’s epitaph is “She was the BEST cat”.


Friday, June 25, 2010

My Animal Friends-Part 4

Ruth joined us in the midst of my past post. Ruth began like as an alley kitten. My brother took her in and she was a special member of his family for several years. Ruth was the best cat!!! Eventually my brother was unable to keep Ruth so my parents took her in. At that time, my parents lived a block away from us. Ruth got in the habit of following as we walked back and forth between the houses. Then she began walking over on her own. I can still hear my daughter, in a sweet little voice, saying: “Mommy, can Ruth come in for a visit?”

On day the request became: “Mommy, can Ruth spend the night?” Ruth and Ginny did have a slumber party that night. The next morning, Ruth went home. But that night she was back at our door and she never left again. Ruth and Ginny were inseparable and Ruth was still ‘the best cat’!

Although once an expert hunter and climber, there came the time when Ruth began slowing down. She was no longer bringing us ‘presents’, spent more time indoors and spent more time at the vet with infections and other issues. Once she disappeared for several days, the entire family scoured the yard and neighborhood at every opportunity but there was no sign of her. I remember clearly driving my son home from an after-school activity and seriously lecturing him about being especially nice to his sister because Ruth had obviously gone off to die. As I turned into the driveway my son began laughing. I became angry but he laughed and said, “Look Mom”. You guessed it, there in the driveway sat Ruth.

From that point on, Ruth became an indoor cat.  And yes, Ruth is still the best cat.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Animal Friends-Part 3

Envision Valentine’s Day, 1977. Two college seniors are engaged to be married in August. The young man picks up his fiancĂ©e for a Valentine’s surprise. What can it be? He drives her to the nearest Humane Society to get a puppy! Thus Dixie, the cutest little fur ball, became our first child! Dixie was so loyal, loving and smart.

Five years later when we added our first human child, Dixie became super nanny. From the moment Tommy first entered our house, Dixie believed it was her job to monitor his every move and keep him out of danger. Heaven help us if the baby awoke in his crib and we did not IMMEDIATELY go to him. I actually think that her running back and forth barking at us often woke the baby! Thirteen months later we brought home Ginny and Dixie went into overdrive as super nanny.

Dixie safely brought the children through those so important early years of life. She saw them start school, followed closely as they learned to ride bikes, and cuddled with them when they needed comfort, played with them at the drop of a ball and saw them through most of elementary school. It was a very sad day when we had the funeral for a very old dog who had loved us even more than we loved her!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Animal Friends-Part 2

Mischief was another long term animal friend, or maybe I mean fiend. I had to have this little Siamese kitten. She was adorable! Unfortunately, she seemed to despise me and most of humankind and preferred a solitary life! The entire family bore the reminders of her wish to be left alone. She had extremely sharp claws and used them viciously. Except she loved my father! She would even jump up and ride around on his shoulders. The rest of us had great respect for her claws. We never picked her up. If she wanted to sit in your lap, she would. You also sat there until she decided to move on. She loved to sit in a doorway in the hall and wait for an unsuspecting person to walk by; then she would attack! Mischief remained with the family for many years. After Scott and I were married, my parents and brothers moved from Florida to Texas. When they finally arrived, Mischief jumped out of the car and was never seen again.

In addition to Sandy and Mischief, Pretty Star (parakeet), TouchĂ© (turtle), aquariums of fish, a hognose snake, and several gerbils also lived with and moved around with our family while I was growing up. Four children and this menagerie obviously led to some exciting moments at times. Occasionally Mischief would land on Pretty Star’s cage and the loud crash would bring the entire family. Any cat would be enticed by fish, snakes and gerbils and Mischief was no exception. How about when the snake got loose just before my grandmother’s visit? We were all under strict orders not to mention that the snake was loose in the house. Thankfully he stayed hidden until after the visit. We moved often when I was young and somehow my parents always managed to get all the children and animals to the new location. What a huge feat-especially since Dad usually had to move on ahead of us!

“If I am going to be in the right relationship with God, I should treat the things he has made in the same way he treats them.” [Francis Schaeffer (1912-84), Pollution and the Death of Man]


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Animal Friends

A fundraiser for our local Humane Society has brought all my past and present animal friends to mind. God is so good to have given us these precious friends to love and who love us with such unconditional devotion! During a tough or trying time I can be reassured by curling up on the sofa with one of my special friend. They will sit there, cuddling close, and listen to my cries and ranting without making a single judgment. Who does not calm down and relax while stroking a dog or cat?

The first animal friend I remember is Sandy. The family legend goes that when I was about six years old with three younger siblings at two year intervals, we were renting a house on a farm. Each day the farmer came out to do the farming chores and in the back of his truck was always this very old and very ugly dog. My two year old brother admired this dog and told the man that he was certainly a ‘fine dog’. A few weeks later the farmer brought a little mutt puppy to the house. Another of his dogs had a litter of puppies and this man felt that any boy who would admire that old dog needed a dog. So Sandy joined our family!

You can imagine what a job it was for Sandy to take care of four young children. Not long after we got Sandy, my mother saw my brother walking in the yard holding a rope. Sandy had the other end in her mouth. When asked what he was doing, he answered that he was ‘walking his dog’. Sounds to me like Sandy was walking the boy! Sandy lived as our friend and protector for about fourteen years!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

National Weed Day

I am a skimmer of headlines! Whether it is a newspaper, newsletter or magazine I skim the headlines and then read thoroughly those that catch my interest. I receive several on-line newsletters. They hit my in-box, I read the headlines and then either hit delete or read. Yesterday morning the headline National Weed Day definitely caught my attention, but my time was limited so I left it in my in-box to read later. As I went through my day with errands, chores and writing I kept thinking about that headline. National Weed Day! Who would have thought?

Somewhere I once read that a weed is just a plant growing where you don’t want it. I thought of a huge ivy bed I had years ago. This ivy surrounded a large oak tree. It grew up the tree and extended out from the trunk at least six feet all around. Since I was afraid it would kill the oak and made a nice haven for snakes right next to my children’s swing set, I decided it had to go! What an ordeal! We pulled and pulled and pulled ivy. It was made worse by the poison ivy intermingled throughout. In my book, ivy that is not in a pot is a weed! I include nandina and border grass in this category!

I remember years ago looking through one of my seed catalogs and saw Virginia Creeper for sale. Who would BUY Virginia Creeper? I constantly am pulled up this weed! The birds and wind are constantly planting weeds all over my yard. However I am the cause of the blackberry brambles! Ten years ago I decided I wanted a patch of blackberries. To this day, blackberry bushes are popping up over an acre away from the original patch.

Back to National Weed Day. I was skimming too quickly. The headline actually read National Weed Your Garden Day. Well, that makes more sense; however ONE day will not do it for me. I propose National Weed Your Garden Year! Who is with me?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I hope many have been asking this question. Life has interfered with my writing for a bit. My roles as ‘mother’ and ‘grandmother’ took priority and all my energy. At this time we have our son and wife moved and settled, newest grandson a happy and healthy 29 day old, son recuperated from appendectomy, daughter recovered from birth and adjusting to new baby in the house, and first grandson reassured that he is loved-even with a new baby. Wow! No wonder I have been so tired.

Here I am with my precious grandsons! Elliott loves his little brother and is a great helper. Breckin Alexzander is beautiful and growing like a weed. He is not allowing his mother to sleep much at night yet and has a marvelous set of lungs!

We are all anxiously looking forward to Breckin’s baptism the end of this month at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palatka, Florida. At the invitation of The Reverend Jim Dorn, and with the blessings of Bishop Benhase, Scott will participate as deacon in the baptism of our grandson. This will be a marvelous family celebration!