Sunday, November 20, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #262

Journal of a Living Lady #262

Nancy White Kelly

Some old friends recently moved to San Antonio, Texas, and invited us to visit. We took them up on the offer and invited some mutual friends to come along. Our original plan was to drive. When we discovered that it would be necessary to drive for two days each way, we opted for flying. Buddy’s was relieved. So was our son, Charlie. Though not a gambler, Charlie gave us odds of 85% to make it home safely.

When traveling, there are lots of arrangements to be made. Plane tickets. Lodging. Car rental.  The hardest part for pet owners is finding responsible care for left-behind animals. We solved part of our problem by trading weeks with Charlie. He and Tori agreed to keep our 12-year-old Chihuahua, Oppie. We agreed to keep their Chihuahua, Snickers, while they vacationed in California the following week.

However, what to do with Coco, our cat, was a major problem. We inherited this formerly stray cat from Charlie and Tori when Micah was born. Coco and Buddy are a cozy two-some. I am considered an intruder in the relationship unless I bear fishy food on a silver platter.

Coco couldn’t board with Charlie and Tori. Not with a baby and two dogs there already. Neither did we want to cage her. Coco is a free spirit. She does not like to be confined even briefly.

Since Coco goes in and out the pet door independently, we decided to let her have free reign of the house. Plenty of food and water was left and we departed for what we hoped would be a fun trip and a diversion from our daily routine. We didn’t see Coco when we departed for the airport, but her short disappearances are usual.

Buddy will be the first to admit that he is a worrier. Not me.  I don’t worry about things I can’t change. Besides, why worry? Buddy worries enough for half the population of the world.

Sure enough. We had been in Texas less than twenty four hours when Buddy began to worry about Coco. The next day he called Charlie’s former college roommate.  He asked Jared to go by our house to see if Coco was okay. Jared was also asked to check the garage in case she was accidentally locked inside.

Thirty minutes later, Buddy called a church friend, David, and asked to do exactly the same thing. I rolled my eyes at that second call.

As hours passed, Buddy’s anxiety level rose. He put in a third call, this time to our neighbor, Terry. Buddy asked him to search for Coco. Of course, he also asked Terry to check the locked garage. This was becoming a real-life version of “Has anybody here seen Waldo?”

That night Buddy checked with each of the searchers. Sadly, nobody had sighted Coco. Buddy disclosed the secret location of the house key and asked each one to check inside the house.  I dared not roll my eyes again as they might have locked into position. What lady relishes the idea of a man roaming the house where dust may linger or unmentionables hang?

After breakfast the next morning, Buddy called his close friend, Haydn, who lives nearby. Even though Haydn isn’t in the best of health, he volunteered to go inside the house and search for our missing tabby.

Coco has feline bi-polarity. Her mood changes quickly and drastically. She can be very, very affectionate or arrogant and aloof.  I could imagine silent Coco perched atop our dresser, casually preening, and wondering why all these strange people were calling her name.

By the third day, Buddy was miserable. If he could have flown home without upsetting the whole traveling party, he would have. Money for a full-fare ticket would have been no object to him. It certainly would have been to this family bookkeeper. Buddy has no idea how many items I sold on eBay to make this Texas trip less of a strain on Uncle Sam’s monthly allowance. But, thankfully, a sudden return trip wasn’t necessary.

Haydn called. Coco was fine. Buddy was relieved.

Less than an hour later, David called. Coco was in the house seemingly content. Buddy thanked him for his trouble.

Later than night, Jared called. Coco was okay. Without comment, Buddy thanked him for his effort. Terry, the neighbor, has since called. None of the four knew about the other.

This saga sounds like the plot for a new comedy movie, perhaps a sequel to Home Alone.
Be assured that if the Kellys ever go to Texas again, Coco will have a ticket.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #261

Journal of a Living Lady #261

Nancy White Kelly

A fine Christian gentleman and long-time Presbyterian pastor passed away a few months ago. Last week I met his charming widow. As can be expected, she is having difficulty adjusting to life without her long-time partner. Her eyes became misty as she recalled how her husband had helped pick out the family cat. That cat had become a great source of comfort during lonely days.

Her frail voice quivered as she went on to say that her beloved cat was recently killed by a neighbor’s dog. I gave her a hug. It was all I could give to help alleviate her obvious pain.

Probably it was a good thing that the neighbor’s dog wasn’t close by. As much as I love animals myself, I might have clobbered that dog for bringing such grief to such a precious little lady.

The widow withdrew from my embrace. Feeling comfortable with our budding camaraderie, she began sharing other distressing events in her life.

Yard work had become the lady’s therapy. She spent many hours outside pruning, planting, and mulching. One sunny day a transient neighbor stopped to speak and asked if she could use the bathroom.

“Of course,” she replied, motioning for the neighbor to go on inside. The guest was in the house only a few minutes. She thanked the widow, got into her car, smiled, waved, and then drove away. The widow lady got busy again with her gardening.

Several days later she discovered that someone had been using her credit card…BIG TIME. The widow remembered the visiting neighbor.

Apparently this widow had laid her credit card by the phone to make a contribution to a nationally-known TV preacher. The phone number that she was dialing stayed continuously busy. Wanting to return to her gardening, my friend left the card by the phone with intention to call later. It was shortly after that the itinerant neighbor had unexpectantly dropped by. In that brief interim, it seems that the neighbor left with a valuable, rectangular, plastic card. Charges have been brought against the neighbor. Forthcoming investigation revealed that the widow was not the only one scammed.

The lady ended our conversation with a shrug of her shoulders. “Probably the Lord was trying to teach me something.” She said. “I wish I could figure it all out.”

“I think I know what the Lord is teaching, “I said, forgetting the good advice to think before you speak.

“Yes, Mam,” I answered. “First, God is telling you that dogs and cats don’t bond well.   Secondly, He is telling you to never leave an unattended credit card in view of a stranger.”

My own frankness startled me. But maybe it helped. The little lady’s face lit up like the proverbial light bulb. I think she got it.

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.