Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Faithful Friend

Driving through the night on a heart-wrenching mission is something I have done before. It never gets easier. The night of the 21st with a full moon in the sky and freezing temperatures outside the warm interior of the car, we took our beloved Lenny on his final trip. We went to the all-night emergency hospital in Tualatin. At about 9:00 p.m. the vet gave him the fatal injection and he went limp in our arms. His valiant struggle with cancer was over and he could rest in peace. Windy and I both held him and he was wrapped in his kitty quilt I made in Osceola. Andy was with us and helped with driving as neither Windy nor I could focus enough.

All day that Monday, I sat on the couch and he stayed close. It seemed he was trying to comfort me as he did when I was so sick and recovering from surgery in Osceola. If I got up and went in the other room, he followed me. We needed each other on his last day and we both knew it was the end. I didn’t give him the dreaded medications or try to get him to eat. I wanted him to just be happy for his final hours.

But oh the sadness. He leaves a big empty space as he has been part of my life for many years. Windy’s cat in the beginning, but he came to live with me a few years ago and we bonded very tightly. At first, he was the youngster and Rocky was the old cat that he re-energized. Then Lenny became the old cat that was enlivened by Little Skye.

But always…Lenny came to greet me when I came home from wherever I had been… work or errands. Positioned by the door he would say a happy meow. And when I sat down on the couch to watch TV he would climb on the back right by my shoulder and just perch there and keep me company while I worked on my knitting. He loved to come and sleep by my head at night and sometimes his purring was so loud it would wake me.

He was quite particular about his water and preferred fresh from the tap. He had his own special purple water bowl and he liked to have it refilled often. He loved his catnip kitty grass. Until at the end when he couldn’t chew or eat.

In all the time he stayed with me, I never had to punish him. He never needed it. He was very well-behaved and never got into things. He had his own special eating place, but never got on the counters in the kitchen. He did have an affinity for flower arrangements, especially the dried variety. But for the most part…he was always a gentleman.

He lost his buddy Rocky when we lived in Osceola and he grieved mightily for a long time. They had been so close and always slept curled up together. I missed Rocky so much I didn’t want another cat. But finally the time was right and Little Skye came to us a year ago. He was never as close with her as he had been with Rocky, but still they got along and romped together right up until the end.

He only tolerated the dogs, but did seem to enjoy racing away as Buddy gave chase every morning. They gave Lenny his space and we all co-existed in harmony.

Now our life is out of balance and we will grieve again as we have for Squeaker, Babe and Rocky. We will honor him with thoughts and the many photos we have taken over the years. His ashes in a little wooden urn will join the others kept in the rolltop of the antique secretary. Out of sight, but close by. Because their spirits are still with me and I think of all of them with love and affection and many, many happy memories. Rest in peace, my beloved companions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Windy's Tribute to Lenny

July 31, 1993 - January 21, 2008

We said goodbye to our sweet Lenny tonight. He had an incurable cancerous tumor in his mouth. Lenny lived a wonderful life of 14 1/2 years. He lived with me & my mom back and forth his whole life. He started in Eugene, Oregon, rescued from a back step of a bar in a cardboard box with two siblings. He was a tiny kitty. The moment I held him, I knew we would have him forever.

We have had some wonderful journeys, and he has been by our sides every moment of his life. He has lived in Eugene, San Francisco, Sacramento, Osceola Missouri, and back to Oregon living his final years in Wood Village with my mom. Lenny has brought us many happy moments, years and hours of great snuggles and kitty kisses.He was my original baby, and I'm glad he got to meet my new baby Ember. We love you Lennard.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Sad Day

Leonard Eugene Graham-Anderson
July 31, 1993 - January 21, 2008
Beloved companion. 14 1/2 years.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Misty River

The Columbia is shrouded in fog hanging in a strip along its path as it winds out of the Gorge and heads for the coast. Passengers in planes headed for PDX will have a strange view from above of the obscured river.

It’s still raining in Oregon, in case you were wondering. And dripping in my dining room. This is getting a bit tiresome. The weather continues to challenge residents. Driving can be difficult. Only a few miles away, snow is piling up. An avalanche closed the highway to Mt. Hood yesterday.

When I venture out, I am decked out in my Columbia coat and wearing my awesome Columbia boots. Fashionable only here in the Pacific Northwest. Comfortable, warm and waterproof. Walking the dogs, going to work, shopping, etc. I am prepared.

It would be easy to fall victim to cabin fever during these deepest dark days of winter. Thankfully my job and my activities keep me from living on the couch, tempting as that would be. I do look forward to the end of the day when I can kick back with my knitting, but I try to keep a balance in my life.

If I wasn’t out driving in the early morning on my way to my job I would miss the awesome sights like fog on the river or sunrise on Mt. Hood. If I wasn’t out walking the dogs as evening falls, I would miss the flocks of migrating birds coming in for the night or the sunsets that streak the western sky.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shelter From the Storm

Daily TV news reports show the ravages of the storms that have hit the Pacific Northwest over the last month. Hundreds of people have lost their homes. Seeing the shots of these wrecked houses with people’s possessions and lives spread about in the mud and wind and rain is so sad. It makes the small roof leak at my house seem inconsequential.

My home, modest by any measurement, is my sanctuary. When I am inside with the door locked I feel so safe and private. I’m surrounded by furniture I have lived with all my life. By all the things that have meaning for me…books, photos, memories. My comfortable bed, my new TV, the crib for the new grandchildren. To lose all that would be devastating and my heart goes out to the folks affected by the floods and winds.

I cannot imagine the pain of being cast out from here. Perhaps shivering in the cold and waiting on the roof for rescue. Last night as the wild winds battered the house and the windows shook and the old bones of the structure creaked, I realized how important my home is. Although I have lived in many different dwellings over the years, each has been “home” while I was there.

This morning as I sit with my coffee, reading the paper and watching the storm outside, I am so blessed to be safe in my home. The Hideaway. Shelter from the storm.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Way To Go Jayhawks!

Kansas 24, VT 21. I'll bet those folks up in Lawrence on the Kaw are jumping with joy this morning. Kansas was known as the "biggest surprise in college football this season."

In any sports contest, it is family tradition to cheer for any school any family member attended. My sister went to KU and I remember many trips to Lawrence to visit her. So of course, I watched the Orange Bowl and rooted for the Jayhawks.

My parents both graduated from the University of Illinois and every fall when I was growing up, we made the trek from KC to Champagne-Urbana for Homecoming. So I was disappointed when the Fighting Illini got trounced in the Rose Bowl.

It has nothing to do with schools, 'bout those Trailblazers?

P.S. Can you tell I am enjoying watching sports on my new flat screen High Def TV?