Sunday, April 8, 2012
Pets of Christmas Past
One of the great drawbacks of these "historical" topics, like this week's theme of childhood pets, is that I suffer from the lack of access to photos. I can picture the photo albums in the living room armoire in my mother's house in Denver and the exact pictures I would show you.
Then I start thinking, for the umpteenth time, how I *really* need to get after digitizing all those photographs.
You can picture those old photographs, from the 60s, barely in color, square with those white borders around the edges. There's the one of me peering at a jack o'lantern with our kitty, Punky, sitting nearby. My dad grins with a hand on Shadow, the Weimaraner, who figures prominently in my early childhood stories. How I learned to walk by pulling myself up on patient Shadow. How my mother would send Shadow to find me if she couldn't spot me in the yard. Shadow always knew. After my dad died when I was three, and we went to live at my grandmother's house in Denver, and Shadow knocked an enormous bowl of spaghetti with marinara over on her kitchen carpet, Shadow went back to live with my North Carolina grandparents. The photo I would show you is one taken by their back garden gate, with Shadow gazing up in soulful concern. It feels like a betrayal that I don't really have any of my own memories of him.
Punky, though - short for Pumpkin - a cranky, marmalade cat lived with us for many long years. When I was seven, Stormy came to live with us. My mom gave her to me for Christmas. A particularly blizzardy Christmas, which is how Stormy got her name. She was my best pal and companion, and lived until I was in grad school in my mid-twenties. I'd show you that picture, too - me in my velvet Christmas dress, my hair up in a bun, and the utter, ecstatic delight on my face as my mom set the kitten in my lap.
I still remember the joyful surprise of that moment.
Those pets gave way to other cats and dogs. All companions to various stages of my life. Their affection is constant. Their simple pleasure in living provides a constant reminder of the daily small events that form the fabric of our lives.
Love to you all.