Sunday, August 24, 2008


My last entry was celebratory, but in a way this one is as well despite the title. Kitty 1 was euthanized this past week. I will certainly miss him, even though I had reservations about taking him and his sibling, whom we dubbed Kitty 2. I don’t know for sure what their original names were, nor exactly how old they were, but when hubby or I would go to feed them, after my father passed on, they would come out, in tandem, just like the Thing 1 and Thing 2 in that Dr. Suess tale. Having lived on my father’s fourteen acres, moving to our measly two was a significant downsize in the space they could roam, but I need to move them after we sold the estate.

Kitty 1, the more adventuresome as well as the more affectionate of the two, was the victim of an attack early on, just a few months after we moved the cats. It was an act that seemed deliberate, and was quite cruel. Someone, probably a neighbor, had hit him, really hard, right in the nose and mouth. This no doubt occurred because the cats did wander, and city folk are much more cognizant of boundaries than country folk or cats are. The resulting damage included the loss of all of his lower front teeth, a significant portion of his jawbone, and a fractured sinus cavity. Later, the roof of his mouth ruptured, causing him to have a cleft palatte. That in turn caused constant nasal infections, for whatever he ate tended to end up in his sinuses. For the rest of his relatively short life, he was on antibiotics. I’ve often said I have one of the most expensive cats in Jackson County. Despite these issues, he was a great guy, twelve pounds of muscular cat surrounded by quite a lot of fluffy white hair.

Old Pendergrass Road is no place for pets, obviously, and within six months of the attack on Kitty 1, Kitty 2 disappeared. I began my search at the very busy road in front of our house. A blood trail led me to the corpse, which had been thrown behind a storm sewer across from our driveway. I buried him in the edge of the woods, joining Angel and Tiger, who had succumbed to the same stretch of roadway, always busy since the DOT gave us a bypass and the city fathers gave us the largest Kroger in the state.

Despite his less than perfect health, Kitty 1 liked to sit in the sun on our small concrete porch; he always “talked” to us when he came in the house in the mornings. Once inside, he’d eat a substantial portion of Purina One, then he’d play with us, attacking hubby’s feet, but always with light, playful movements. After I delivered the kids to school, he would lie on his back and watch me as I checked my morning email or stayed at the computer to read the news. Sometimes he would launch himself into my lap, kneed my stomach for a bit, and settle in for a nap, covering my lap with so much large white cat that he threatened to fall off. Most days, he would lounge with us for a while, but he did prefer to be outside, especially at night, for he was a nocturnal beast. He was a good hunter, and when he caught a lizard or some other small critter, he would bring it to the house, and since he did not have lower front teeth, those critters usually survived. Once, I had to sweep his catch out of the door after he made his special delivery inside the house.

His latest trauma was due to a close encounter with an automobile, possibly aggravated by the instinctual “hiding” that cats do when they are hurt. By the time I found him and took him to a vet, a day and a half after the incident, I had to use the one on call for emergencies. She was personable enough, but the ink is still drying on her diploma. Poor Kitty 1 was in a bad way. After a two day hospitalization, he seemed to be getting better. The young doctor let me bring him home, but things went downhill fast, so I took him to the regular vet who gave me the bad news via telephone. “I almost never recommend euthanasia,” he said, and then went on to tell me about his total renal failure and told me that poor Kitty’s time had come.

As Lord Byron said, “Ah, surely nothing dies but something mourns.” Despite my mourning, there was no ceremony for Kitty 1, just an overdose of pain medicine; so this brief entry is his requiem. As cats go, he was the best I have known, and I have been owned by quite a few of them. No doubt some evil neighbor is glad, but I still look outside, expecting to see him, then I catch myself and find something else to do.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Birthday at the Varsity

People in Georgia know it by the distinctive aroma. The hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and onion rings do smell and taste different from those same offerings at a DQ, or some other burger joint. The Varsity is 80 years old this year, and it is one of my 90 year old friend's favorite restaurants.

Our friend's special neighbor, MS, came up with the idea that the best way to help celebrate this friend's 90th birthday was to have the Varsity come to her. So that's what we did. I rented a facility in our small town and recruited some helpers; sister got a catering contract and flew in from out of town, and today we celebrated 90 years of her life, and 80 years of greasy food. It was a surprise party, and I don't think our friend faked it.

We had people from out of town, people from her neighborhood, and people from our church. We had fun today, and my family pitched in, decorating, helping the elderly set with their food, and with clean up.

One of the other attendees is an event planner extraordinaire, and she said, "I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED" the truck. So if you want to have some food which tastes like you are at the ball park, you'll need a flat spot and about 40 or so folks to help you eat it.

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