A cat’s tale

*Today’s post is part 1 in a three-part series by my friend Debra Dickey. As a fellow cat lover, I’m particularly thankful for the humor :).

Black calicoI have an acquaintance who always had the most hilarious things happen to her, and with her story-telling abilities, they were even funnier with the narration!!  I often thought, “How could all those things happen to one person??”  Well, yesterday, I was introduced to just a taste of such unimagined predicaments as she used to regale us with!

It being the Thursday after the ice storm, I decided to leave home about half an hour later than usual due to possible road conditions, plus, give other drivers time to already be at work. Bridges were slushy, but fortunately the roads were clear.  With a forecast of higher temperatures for the afternoon, I had no traveling concerns for the remainder of the day, so I arrived at work about 15 minutes after 8:00 a.m., pulled into my typical parking place, and turned off the engine.

This is where my tale begins.  I immediately heard a disturbing, mournful yawl, and because I was still inside my car, I knew it could only be coming from one place — under the hood.  Oh yes, one of my Dad’s cats had crawled up in my car and ridden 25 miles with me to work.  OH . MY . GOSH!  And so now arises the conundrum  — the challenge of a wild cat rescue!

Immediately I launch into ‘cat rescue’ mode, but of course, after I raised the hood, and before I could latch on to her, the cat jumped down and began to run in the parking lot to hide.  Because it is an outdoor cat, it is in no wise tame, and though I tried in vain, she would not come to me at all when I called her.  I followed her from car to car, but she always crouched underneath and unreachable.  (Think “Funniest Home Videos”!)  Finally, finally, she jumped up on another vehicle’s tire, and although I knew rescue would be terrible, I also knew that this would be my only chance, so I grabbed her and held on for dear life.  She went ballistic, biting, scratching, clawing . . .  I will probably have scars for life!  At any rate, I managed to hang on to her. Whew! Yes. Yay!! Mission accomplished! ……. Ooh . .  wait!  Now what?!?  I have a wild cat on my hands!!  I have to figure out what to do with her, and how to get her back home again.  Great.  I might have been able to let her loose in a confined room in my office until the end of the day, but for a variety of reasons, I didn’t really think that was my best option.  So I brought her inside, and sat in my chair, coat, one glove, still on, and held her and cuddled her until she began to calm down.  I’m bleeding, but at least I know that she is safe for the moment, not lost somewhere 25 miles from home.

Fortunately, work was a little slow that morning, but we attracted numerous co-workers who were immediately taken with this pretty cat, and very interested to know the reason for her visit!  As I related our adventure, several people would have loved to pet her, but I quickly explained what a very bad idea that would be. . . .

The end to this story is that I called my sister, who doesn’t live too far away, and is quite kind that way, and asked if she would come to pick up the cat and take it home again, and, other than one mishap when she accidentally let the cat go (!), and the fact that by now it is sheeting outside, we got the cat in a box, and she and the cat made the trip without further misfortune!

The cat is fine, showing up in all the regular places at her home, but oh the tales she will have to tell her grandchildren!   But if you happen to be superstitious, it’s a bit uncanny that the number for this story is 13…..and it was a calico/black cat . . . . .

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Three lessons from my mother

Today’s post is written by one of my students, Jesse Shoemaker. Jesse wrote this essay in response to the prompt: Write about your mother or someone who has acted as a mother figure in your life. Describe this person and share at least three lessons you’ve learned from her.

Painting By Luplau Janssen

Painting By Luplau Janssen

My mother is a great influence in my life. She has always been there for me when I needed her to be. No matter what the circumstances might be, she always tries to find a way to fix my problem, even though I am resistant to the idea of help or advice.

My mother is a small woman. She has shoulder length hair that is coal black with heavy fades of brunette and blonde blended throughout. Her voice is slightly shrill considering she prefers to yell across the house to talk to someone rather than walk in the same room as they are and speak in a normal tone. Her eyes and mine are the same, heavy brown hazel that can change from green to brown to gold.

My mother loves to sing and dance. I remember as a child, when we would finish a movie as a family and the credits were rolling, she would jump up and grab my hands, pulling me off the couch and into a little dance we would go. She is so full of life.

When I was 11 years old, my mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a muscle disease, which later became neuropathy, a nerve disease. As I entered my teenage years, it seemed like she was at her worst. There were days that she could not get out of bed; most of the time she could not get around without the use of a walker, crutches, or a wheel chair. Even the softest touch from anyone could cause her to have an inflammation of tremendous pain. Even though she has endured so much pain on an everyday basis, my mother is still one of the sweetest ladies ever. I have had very few friends that dislike my mother, and the few who do just think she is too nice, and it freaks them out a bit.

One lesson I learned from my mother is to explore the world around me. When I was young and before she became sick, my mother would always take my sister and I on hiking trips, canoeing, or some other outdoor activity that we could do as a family. If it was not for my mother I would have never experienced the thrill of white water rafting or the rush of adrenaline I get when rock climbing.

The second lesson indirectly learned from my mother is to always let go of the past. When I was a teenager, and my mother was sick, my sister or I would have to stay home and take care of her while our step dad was working. Needless to say, I felt like part of my youth was taken away from me. I held a grudge for several years towards her, until finally we sat down and talked, and I finally vented what had been bothering me for so many years. It was as if a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I could finally see some happiness and joy coming back into my life.

The last lesson I learned from my mother is to never give up on yourself or your dreams. Like I mentioned earlier, she was very sick for several years; however, she never gave up on trying to get better. My mother overcame significant weight gain from her sickness and is now a little older woman who likes to dig in her garden and work on as many projects as she can. It is as if she is trying to make up for all the years of not being mobile enough to do the things in life she enjoys.

My mother is a great influence on me. She has taught me to explore the world around me. She always reminds me to let the past go and, most importantly, to never give up on myself. I cannot think of any better lessons a mother could teach her son.

Dirty dancing’s not THAT bad

Just wheat

The class of 97, on the White River, April 26, 2014 The class of 97, on the White River, April 26, 2014

Last weekend, I said a fond farewell to a former high school classmate whose life was recently cut short. His sister hosted a “Celebration of Life” service at a local restaurant; the White River rolled and roared along beside us as we recalled living memories of our friend driving recklessly while listening to rock-n-roll music, or sending $100 to someone desperately in need of gas money for a trip home, or talking about his love for fashion and his desire to design clothing someday.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect–clear blue sky with a few puffy clouds here and there, a warm breeze, the bright sun blinding us as we took a picture together, with just one of us missing.

Some of the original Dirty Dancing crew a few years after the watch party :) Some of the original Dirty Dancing crew a few years after the watch party 🙂

As I chatted…

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