October 14, 2011. Picture it. Dusk. 7:15 p.m. A suburban high school football field, 70ish degrees with a clear sky, the players running onto the field, the crowd rowdy, M-80’s going off, teenagers running every which way. I’m (close to) middle-aged and out of my element, in my convertible, top down (the car), and I’m early. I wasn’t supposed to get there until half-time. I open my cell phone.
“Carla! I’m here! Where are YOU?”
“Uh … you’re EARLY.”
Me, “OK. What do you want me to do?”
Carla, “I’ll be right there. Don’t MOVE.”
Who am I?
Back story: A coworker and friend, Carla, asked if she could borrow my convertible and, well, ME, to chauffer one of her daughters with her daughter’s boyfriend around the football field at half time as part of the homecoming celebration. Naturally I said yes.
I’m so glad I did. And I’m glad there was a communications gaff that placed me there early because I got to witness a high school football game once again.
Well that’s not entirely true. The game was a “fond-memory-type” backdrop to the HOOPLA going on in the stands. Holy Toledo!
The Drum Major! The band! The Pep Squad (peppy indeed)! The cheerleaders! The cacophony and the sheer mass of high school students relentlessly moving and shouting and squealing, having decorated themselves with glitter and paint and bright yellow spandex. Did I ever have that much energy? Had I ever entertained the notion of a painted glittering handprint on my thigh … in maroon?
At one point, I turned to Carla and said “If you notice me quivering, it’s only because I’m way over-stimulated.” (shiver)
Those young adults were so alive and glowing and, whatever their inner travails might have been, they were happy that evening. And it was joy to witness.
None too soon the time came to descend from the stands and start the car. It was ready to go: The top was down and Carla and I placed beach towels over the seating area and the back seat. The Deputies lined us up with the other convertibles and we waited for the end of the first half.
As an aside, I’ve NEVER seen a football game so one-sided. The opponent (and guest!) was being slaughtered! Poor things! The score was 49 – ZIP at the end of the half.
So the homecoming candidates were assembled. I won’t pretend to know what all was going on. Someone else was in charge. Yippee. I chatted up the other convertible drivers. One had a schweet, cherry 442. Purrrr.
Next, the kids were going through the pomp and circumstance at the 50 yard line, being presented to the crowd. Meanwhile the cars moved around the field at a moderate pace to get in position. We slowly cruised around to the stands. Carla was in the passenger seat. (As IF I would do this without her.)
So the field ceremony comes to a close and the homecoming kids (runners up, too) climbed into the 5 or 6 waiting convertibles and endured the paparazzi and screams of delight.
First up, the yearbook staff snapped numerous photos. Now … remember Carla and I are in the car, too. So … uh … we might be in the YEARBOOK!!! Ha ha ha! BWA ha ha ha!
Then I am signaled to move forward, following the vehicles in front of us. What a hoot! I grinned the whole time. The high schoolers lined the fence around the track/field and shouted “We LOVE you!” over and over. The two kids in my car kept saying “I feel like a movie star!” And, indeed! Why not? Who could blame them. They were!
Twice around the track then back to the stable for me.
I came away from the event feeling connected and so glad I could help some fine young people have such a great evening. The feeling of community and family was heady for me.
I thank Carla and her family for including me. And I want that yearbook photo!!
Four months old and Gracie’s coat is coming in. She’s beginning to shed and she’s begun the feline bathing routine. Lick lick lick.
Here is Grace at about 10 weeks and at then at 16 weeks. Growing fast!
The rubber is meeting the road for me. I’m going to learn if I’ll be spending the next 15-20 years sneezing and sniffling.
Years ago, I endured allergy tests at the insistence of my then-husband. There was just too much sneezing and mucous for him. I don’t blame him: I thank him. My allergies were certainly bad enough to warrant a visit to the allergist.
CATS. TREES. MOLD. DUST! – pronounced the allergist.
(Finger-wagging) “You have to get rid of your cat”. Period. No question.
NOOOOOO! (Tears.) Sammy-cat is a member of my family! This was answered with a head-shaking, stony silence.
I kept the cat. I endured the weekly shots. (Guess I showed them.)
After Sammy-cat died I “kept” another cat. (Whoops!) Once again I wanted a furry friend to be my buddy, part of my home, part of my heart. So I went to the shelter and he chose me. He touched me on the shoulder and he looked at me with those bright, sunny eyes. Done.
My allergy held steady.
Murphy (a most intelligent, gregarious cat) was with me until 2004 when he left. I don’t know what happened to him. He was a wanderer and a fighter (even though neutered). I’d brought those (absurd to him) dogs into the home and he didn’t like it. He put up with them for 3 years.
Murphy may have chosen a new home. There were plenty for the asking. I’d received calls from lady admirers with homes he regularly visited. He charmed them. Maybe one of them took him in. I just don’t know. I searched and never found him. I hope his fate was a gentle one.
There have been no cats since Murphy. It’s been all dogs. I’m assuming I’m still allergic to cats. Not “asthma attack allergic”: more “perennial rhinitis allergic” and “sinus headache allergic”.
Fast forward: It’s 2011
I had an assignment to write a story about the numerous kittens fostered by the wonderful (government) employees at our local “pound”. My heart was deeply touched. I fostered a litter of four four-week-old kittens. Lo and behold: I adopted one. Shocking! I’m a foster failure. (Hey, at least I didn’t keep all of them!)
Now that I am owned by a cat, I’m hoping the years of self-restraint have reduced my allergy. I’m optimistic … or deluded. I have committed to this little wonder. I will endure her purring and playfulness and litter box odors and scratching. I will go for allergy shots if I have to. I will invest in Kleenex stock if I have the spare income. I will vacuum often. Um. Well. We’ll see on that one.
One thing is for sure — my feline will teach me to accept my irrelevance. (We are only good for opening cans.)
(Achoo! God bless you.)
I came across this inspirational piece yesterday. Good stuff. Worth sharing.
Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments
Author: Kent M. Keith, Ed.D.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only the top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
My house with a roof that doesn’t leak (anymore)
My job which is part of a joyful, service-oriented enterprise, and my manager who leads me well
My Mom from whom I continue to learn (but she doesn’t realize it)
The rest of my family including my friends (you know who you are) from whom I continue to learn and who are vastly entertaining
My co-workers from whom I continue to learn and who are also vastly entertaining
Old friends and new friends
My neighbors – Xtreme entertainment (and fine folks and friends)
I am relatively healthy considering I’m barely trying (I ought to)
My new kitten, Gracie, who is simultaneously a trial and a joy – she makes me laugh!
My sainted dog, Chloe, who is loyal and loving and mindful of my wishes including the one that says “Don’t hurt that gremlin kitten!”
The public library
Alarm clocks (really)
The sun and the clouds and the sky, the breeze and the odor of sea water
Fans (the blowy kind)
Generosity and generous souls
My Mother’s handyman
Being an American
The guy who mows my yard (even though he butchers the honeysuckle by my mailbox)
Humor, most kinds
There’s plenty more. Just can’t think of them.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!
Now at 4½ months, Gracie Lou is discovering (or revealing) her many talents, abilities and, yes, jobs. She’s practicing for a career in something. I’m not sure what. Some possibilities:
A career in home décor – She appears very motivated. I’m not sure she’ll go very far with this since she seems to like most things on the floor. For example, kitteh décor dictates that towels do not belong on towel racks: they belong on the floor. Other “floor should be’s”: pillows, eyeglasses, phones, magazines and hairbrushes. Also, contrary to what I thought I knew, window blind slats do not need to align and pet toys SHOULD litter the floor, the location changed often and without warning. As she matures a better career move for Gracie might be to move toward window treatments and, hopefully, away from this “floor thing”.
Massage therapist – I believe the instructions to other kittehs would read “While the subject lies facedown, walk up the subject – from foot to neck and head – gently extending the claws so as not to injure but certainly to hurt a bit and annoy. The subject comes awake very quickly after this procedure.”
House cleaner – I only mention this potential career because kitteh is adept at finding dust bunnies. Her follow through is poor. She does not throw them away. Perhaps she needs a small dustpan with a tiny wastebasket.
Dog herder – This requires the saintly cooperation of Chloe, the perfect dog. Gracie accomplishes dog herding by utilizing her kitteh claws and teeth, wrapping her kitteh “arms” around Chloe’s leg and gnawing on it. Chloe moves the leg. Kitteh persists. And so on. Kitteh becomes very enthusiastic about this at times which requires my intervention because Chloe gives me the “Make! It! Stop!” look.
Athlete / Gymnast – This is hardly unusual for a kitteh but I must mention it. Among her best feats: climbing a bare wall.
Magician – Kitteh is especially good at the disappearing and reappearing act where you are looking for her frantically because you are afraid she somehow escaped the house. She must be in “thin air” because I can’t find where she hides.
These aren’t her only career choices but they certainly are “the big six”. Stay tuned.
First – the cutest thing: I woke up one morning with my 9 week old kitteh sleeping on the back of my neck, IN my hair, and happily. She may have been purring. It was altogether a lovely experience.
And now, other things kitteh loves to play with:
- rubber bands (broken)
- hair bands/ties
- tin foil balls
- pipe cleaners (lots of fun to watch, too)
- little bows
- dust bunnies (not that they are plentiful in my house)
- anyone’s fingers
- my toes (biting, ouch)
- towels on racks that apparently should be on the floor
- bags – any variety
- the air – a pretend friend (i. e. nothing visible – cute!)
- her tail and back paws
- hand bags and contents
- sunglass earpieces (tasty!)
- Chloe, the perfect dog
- just about anything else she encounters.
No cost/low cost entertainment for kitty. Yay!
So. You’ve figured out I’ve adopted one of the four kittens that I had fostered.
Well what was I to do? She GAZED at me! She followed me around. She seemed to think I was a goddess.
I have given her many names – the root name is Grace. That is because, a) a friend suggested “Gracie Lou Freebush” from that movie and, b) … she, the kitten, reminds me very VERY much of Grace … Grace from God. She’s such a gift. Lovely.
Gracie Lou. Gracie Love. Gracie Belly (for her round kitten belly) …
Last but not least, she and Chloe get along wonderfully.
Many pictures to follow!