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Cats

Good-bye Two

Two is the name of the cat who lived with us for 12 years, and sadly, our time together ended Christmas Day. She was too ill and weak, and so we chose to do the humane thing. Yes, we are so sad. Let me tell you about our cat, and you will understand why.

We found Two in a shelter in Northern New Mexico called Taos Feral Feline Friends, where its director had cats live in rooms in her house, except for the feral ones who had a separate building. Leanne brought us to the so-called old and obese room, and this black cat came up to me immediately. She started talking. I told Hank, “this is the one.” He wanted to look around, a fact I reminded the cat several times.

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Two on my lap from NM to Massachusetts.

We usually give our animals human names. She came with the name Dusty, but that didn’t suit us. So, we named her Two, in honor of the two best cats we owned, also black. Actually, her full name was Dusty Two Cats. (I believe she was named Dusty by her previous owners, whoever they were, because she loved to roll in dust.)

We discovered that Two, who we suspect was Burmese, was a chatterbox who tried her best to communicate with us verbally. I swear she said “no” and “I don’t wanna.” We tried but failed to get her to say “yes,” however.

She also understood when we said “eat” or “out.” I am not making this up.

Unfortunately, her previous owner had her front paws declawed — something we would never do to an animal — so we had to keep that in mind. If she wanted to go outside, we were with her, especially in Taos where coyotes are opportunity feeders.

Not having front claws also hampered her hunting abilities, but lizards were catchable. As for birds, she waited patiently until one hit the large front glass of our house and dropped to the ground.

She drove Hank nuts when she escaped inside the culvert on our driveway.

We solved that situation when he and our son, Zack, on a visit, built a secure fenced-in yard. She liked to sit beneath the tall covered gate — that’s a picture of her above  — and even once ventured onto our 36404_1503605437102_4658278_nhouse’s roof. Hank climbed a ladder to coax her down, but typically she did it when she was ready.

What else can I tell you about Two?

When Hank had hernia surgery she sat on his lap, pressed gently against the incision, earning her the name Nurse Two-Two.

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Ab anxious moment for Hank watching Two on the roof of our home in Taos.

Probably because of that experience and the fact he was home more than me, she clearly favored Hank. Two and I had our relationship although it was clear I was second banana. I wasn’t hurt.

During the winter she would sleep between us, under the covers with her head on the pillow.

She loved baking in the sunlight or beside the wood stove. Another of her favorite spots was the ironing board, especially when we were trying to iron. She didn’t play with toys and typically, wanted to be in the highest spots of the house.

During our cross-country move from New Mexico to Western Mass., she spent almost all of the 2,400-mile trip on my lap after she complained vehemently about being in a carrier.

To get out attention she sat on a newspaper or book that we tried to read, or in my case, walk across the keyboard.

Two would sit on Hank’s lap, his legs extended for more than an hour while he watched TV. I was impressed. Ten minutes was my max.

She had her favorite napping spots. Last night, I looked at the chair in our front living room and 10550038_10204551590536752_4851730321312986156_oimagined her there, curled and relaxed.

The list goes on. Two was a member of our family and so much a part of our life. She trusted us. We trusted her.

This year she had two bouts of a urinary tract infection that required antibiotics. But her decline began in late fall. She was, by her records, 17 or 18 years old. She still ate and drank water but toward the end, she began distancing herself until we decided we needed to let her go.

During the past week, I think about feeding her when I get up or that she’ll be watching in the living room window when we come home. The list goes on.

As I’ve said before, the hardest part about loving an animal is losing one.

Will we get another cat? Yes, someday. But this cat will have a tough act to follow.

Good-bye, Two. We loved ya.

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pumpkins
art, family, Writing

Outside the Box

On my latest cleaning kick, I went beneath the bed in my office for boxes, and well, boxes of paper. Two contained school papers from when my kids, now young adults, were kids.

Going through the papers I marveled at my children’s creativity. Then, I decided they should have them.

So I spent hours sorting the papers into six piles. I discarded anything that was badly damaged, was boring (like a list of spelling words) or had no name. The one exception is the piece of art at the top of this post. Unfortunately, the child did not sign it but it is too good to toss. So I am keeping it unless someone claims it.

Most of the papers were from elementary school, some from middle school, several from before. It appears we didn’t hang onto anything from high school.

Without prejudice, I’d say we have a family of artists and writers.

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A watercolor by Ezra

One son, at a very early age, showed the promise of the artist he has become as an adult with unusual perspectives and skill. Another, who is a heavy equipment operator by day and a musician the rest of the time, drew vehicles with attention to detail and dimension. A third son, who is an aspiring comedian, wrote a book in first grade about Jefber the Hero Bunny who starts a comedy show.

Among the three girls, I found thoughtful essays and creative writing. Their teachers thought so, too.

One daughter wrote this beginning for a short story:”I can remember reading in a newspaper how people can be swept away by huge waves. I must have been eight or so, and thinking maybe  problems could be taken out to sea like people.”

Here’s something from another: “One day when the sun was shining, my brother Nate was working at Ernie’s house. Then some people came to the house. They had left something behind. It was a shoebox and on it said, “SHOOT THIS CAT !” When they told me this I was horrified. So they opened the box and saw the cat. So we took it home. We were going to name it Lucky but we decided on Roxann.”

I called one daughter to say she should take up painting after seeing her artwork.

There were several instances I laughed so hard at what a child drew or wrote they brought tears to my eyes. (For instance, I copied one child’s invitation to baseball player Bo Jackson, then in his prime, to attend his birthday party.) I came from my office to show Hank and he laughed too.

By the way, the box had papers my mother held onto for me. It looks like I IMG_1154was a good speller, took dictation well, and had nearly perfect handwriting. But I discarded most for recycling except for that fun folder — Medeiros was my first last name — you see on this post.

I am also holding onto the cards the kids made professing their love for their father and me on special holidays and birthdays.

The school papers are now in large padded envelopes ready to be mailed. I hope our kids enjoy them as much as I did.

OTHER PAPERS: So what did the other boxes contain? Drafts of manuscripts at various stages. After I reached what I felt was a critical stage, I printed the draft and marked it with red pen. (I do have the versions stored on discs and thumb drives, and an email account dedicated to them.) In the end, I decided to keep the first and final drafts of each. Now I’m down to a manageable two boxes and feeling lighter for it.

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