Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thinking and Thanking

I'm home from church today sitting with a cat that is about to pass from this life. We've had her about 11 years and she's a sweet little thing. We let our cats run inside and outside and one risk of that decision is disease, and she has one of the untreatables. So, she'll die soon after having lived a happy life full of lots of petting, snuggling, all the sunbeams she would ever want to lay within, plenty of fresh air,  trees to climb, squirrels to bother and fireflies to chase. She used to follow my kids to school, right to the corner where they crossed with the crossing guard. They often reported that they would turn around and see her and she would stop and act all nonchalant, like she just happened to be there. A few minutes later she would show up at the door, give me a very pointed and salutatory look that always seemed to say, "Report: All is well, they made it to the crossing guard, " then sweep past me like she'd finished a secret mission and go take a nap. She was always loyal to us and the kids and it was a comfort to see her around.

She seems to be comfortable, just tired and ready to be free of her broken little body, and I didn't want her to be alone. I know. Many of my best friends are not animal people and may think I'm nuts to go on so about a kitty. I'm okay with that. I don't really understand a lot of things other people do, so it all evens out. I am one of those folks who easily connects with animals, perhaps because my own thought processes are so simple and basic and sometimes humans just wear me out. Animals just love you and appreciate you with complete trust. Even cats. It actually seems a little miraculous to me when a soft, friendly kitty comes and sits upon my chest and looks at me. I am certain she is telling me about her day and asking about mine. It's the closest I come to telepathic, wordless communication. I feel good and peaceful inside. So, it seems right to try and give this little orange gal some comfort and company in her final hours after she's been such a faithful companion to our family.

As I sit here, I have time to consider our lovely holiday weekend in Kentucky. We went there to celebrate Thanksgiving with two of my sisters and their families. The rest of our family was scattered hither and yon around the world, so it was good to be together with about 15 of us, plus my sister's in-laws. Thanksgiving just seems better to me with a big crowd.

All the traditions were observed with propriety. We made my mom's rolls and her sweet potatoes, the in-law's special stuffing (which was delicious), a parade of desserts both old and new, and all the other usual autumnal delicacies. We prayed and laughed and everyone helped out and the house was filled with noise and laughter and giving of orders and much moving of tables and washing of dishes. All as it should be.

There were photo shoots and hi-jinks and an excursion to a local light display. There were camel rides and baby yaks to pet and even a kangaroo. It was good times for all.

The 8-hour drive to and from was peaceful, yet again through the rolling hills of West Virginia and Western Maryland, and this time I got to just ride and listen to my book while the kids dozed and watched a movie or two. Travel now is easy, with everyone able to pack and carry all their own gear. That is a nice thing about this time of life and motherhood. No more frenetic traveling circus moments. We just...go.

Now we're back and the wonderful feeling of the holidays is here. The music has started playing, the house is getting stripped down in preparation for it's holiday finery, and we are making plans and joking about gifts. In spite of the marketplace doing its best to steal Thanksgiving from us by starting all the holiday sales even earlier, and in spite of the world being crazier and more upsetting by the minute, the feeling of the holidays prevails, if we choose to acknowledge it and ignore all the noise. It's possible.
I am thankful for so many, many things.

Here are a few of them:

9 of 26.5 grandchildren on my side

My Sis and BIL

What would a visit to a Christmas wonderland be without a train ride?

My niece really loved her camel ride. 

Aerial view of the final prep before the big feast.

All ready to eat!

My other Sis and BIL. They obliged me with a very early, chilly photo shoot so I could practice some new techniques.

Hot tub + teen boys + free time = crazy hair, fun times and a wet lens. It was worth it. 

The official Thanksgiving portrait, 2011


  1. thanksgiving sounds like it was a wonderful time.

    I'm sorry to hear about your little faithful friend, though. She was the only one that would come by me when I visited your house. She's such a sweet little thing, I know she had a very good life with you. Rest in peace over the Rainbow Bridge, little one.

  2. I have been an animal person all my life and I know what you mean, it is really hard when one of them leaves us, I am glad you have so many fond memories of this faithful friend. I also love your account of Thanksgiving, one of my favorite days of the year!

  3. Wonderful pics Kel...I'm so glad you guys all got together...i was a little teary eyed reading and looking at everyone together...maybe next year we can have something like that with the ever growing Arizona contingent!


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