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Norwich Bulletin - 11/23/2008

Giving Thanks

When I see white clouds against an azure sky,
I will think of Milo,
When I see a boat with white sails skimming over the blue water,
I will remember Milo,
When I see large snow flakes fall gently to the earth,
I will see Milo’s precious face in each flake.
When I meet a kind and gentle soul,
I will remember Milo and give thanks
That he was part of my life.

I know I should give thanks for the fact that both my husband and I have good jobs and can continue to care for our cats in this drowning economy. Of course, that does not mean we are not struggling. We work extra jobs and budget in order to keep our heads above water. But when I walk into my house and am greeted by my four legged critters, who are truly happy to see me, I do give thanks for the lives that I am allowed to touch, and those that touch mine.

My husband and I lost the cat of our hearts. Last Thanksgiving his loss was very new and I was too angry to be thankful. But with the passage of time and the memories of a very special blue-eyed white cat who touched many lives, I have come to realize how very lucky I was to have been Milo’s owner (although we never really own our cats), and I am truly thankful that he was sent our way.

But there have been other losses this year. Some expected, and some not. Our seventeen year old black lab mix Kenya, left us after a very long and happy life. As sad as we were, we knew that she had lived a full life and was loved by every member of the family. Not being a dog person per se, I feel very thankful that we had such an understanding and good dog, who managed to always be happy and healthy. This is the way I picture losing all of our pets – to old age. Actually, to a very old age.

But that is not what always happens. Two years ago, a charming tuxedo cat arrived on our doorstep and took up residence as our greeter cat. Very much like out previous greeter, Brutus, this kitty did not want to live inside and showed himself to be very street smart in the dangers that lurk in the country. The yard and the garage became his domain and our new little butler, Jeeves, was a social butterfly whenever anyone came to visit.

But last September, when we had our yearly dinner for our cat fancy friends, Jeeves did not show up. Knowing he was quite the party animal, my husband and I were quite concerned. Jeeves has never come home. We are resigned to his loss, but not knowing what happened is a terrible feeling. So I have decided to believe that Jeeves was sent to us for a specific reason and after his time was done, he had to go on to the next family, who needed him. Even if it is not clear what actually happened, this is the story I choose to believe.

Thanksgiving is a time for remembering and for being thankful for all that we have in our lives, and all that we have had. This year, there will be one less family member at our table. Our oldest daughter is in Brazil, teaching English as a second language, working with inner city kids and teaching women how to sew. My youngest daughter has been on the campaign trail with Senator Obama since Iowa, and will be getting ready to start her new job. I am very proud and thankful that I have such great kids, but will certainly miss them at our table this year.

I will also miss the little black nose that was always sitting just within reach to catch a stray piece of turkey. I will miss the little black and white cat that will not be sitting at the door, waiting for his Thanksgiving dinner. But I will especially miss the incredible blue-eyed white cat who touched so many lives with his gentle soul. In this age of uncertainty, we are thankful for all you are given, and we wish you the same this Thanksgiving season.

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