Saturday, March 15, 2008

You've Got the Cutest Baby Face

There are people who are photogenic and there are people like me, who are not. My niece, Claire (fondly known as Baby Claire by the family) is such a cutie. She instantly puts on the best expressions when her picture is being taken. I have yet to see a bad picture of this very cute child!!

I always put together the family calendar each year because I am the scrapbooker of the family and I love to do it. This year's calendar featured Claire on every page. Not one family member complained. We all knew that as the resident baby of the family, you get headline coverage. And Claire always delivers!!
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bless the Beasts and the Children

My brother called me with some sad news this morning: he had to put down his dog Shelby. He cried as he gave me the awful news and I knew that his heart was breaking. We love our animals.

His news took me back several years ago when we had to do the same to our cat, DA. DA was a real gift from God. Let me explain.

When John and I were first married, we lived in an apartment on Valley Avenue in Homewood, Alabama. Our neighbors had this really great cat, Moses. We started helping the neighbors out by feeding their cat when they went out of town. Then it progressed to Moses spending the night at our house to Moses having his own toys. You get the picture. I know that the commandments say not to covet the neighbors wife or goods, but they never mentioned kitties. I know. I read them carefully.

And oh, I loved that cat. And that cat loved me back. Except the time that he wet on one of our umbrellas which led to a fight between John and me. I’ve already covered that fight in an earlier post, if you really care. Moses would wrap himself around my neck. Closest thing to a cat hug.

Then we got news that the neighbors were moving. I was crushed. They came over and let us know and we all cried. A lot. The wife said that she had been struggling and wanted very much to give me Moses, but she just couldn’t. I understood. As much as I coveted the kitty (ok, so maybe I did break a commandment) I knew that she loved him equally as much. But she also let me know that she had been praying for another kitty to come my way that I would love as much.

We moved into our own home. My sister came by and said she was going to get a cat at the pound. I immediately jumped on that idea and soon we were off cat shopping.

I will never forget her. She reached through the bars. She wanted to go home with me. She gave a whole new meaning to kitty hug. And yes…she was a tabby. She was close enough to be Moses’ daughter. It was starting to sound biblical!

I brought her home and she immediately took over the house. We were happy to accommodate because we were trained kitty servants.

Several years later after I had Casey, I can remember the look on our kitty’s face: Who is the pet and when is she going home? But she also grew to love Casey and Casey loved her back. There was little “sibling” rivalry. Poor Casey. Because we had cats before we had a kid, we would mistakenly refer to taking Casey to the doctor as going to the vet. We learned to correct this and I don’t think she had too many scars from this. We had a family!

Then we came home from vacation to find an awful note from our neighbors. During our trip our cat had become critically ill and they knew she needed to go to the vet. We rushed her to the weekend emergency clinic and the news was dire. She was in serious trouble and wouldn’t live long. The vet recommended euthanasia to keep her from suffering. I held her in my arms and it was peaceful. I was inconsolable.

The next morning Casey bounded into our room, dressed in a Sunday dress. She told us to get up because it was time for the funeral. She had plans. We got up, put on our good clothes and followed her outside. John found a stone that looked just like a gravestone. Casey picked some flowers. And we gathered. We ALL gathered. The cats and dogs from all over the neighborhood came and stood in a semicircle around the grave site. These were animals that normally fought, well, like cats and dogs. But if was if they knew. I witnessed the most peaceful coming together. It was beautiful. Bless the beasts and the children. Amen.