Still in a melancholy mood

My cat, Tio. Portrait drawn by my brother, Gary.

My cat, Tio. Portrait drawn by my brother, Gary.

I’ve had a lot of cats in my life time. Growing up, there was a point when we had 20 because two of our female cats had 5 babies within days of each other. We lived on an acre in town Vancouver. Mom and Dad didn’t like the cats in the house so they’d hang out in the garage, the back patio, under our deck and in the sticker bushes in the back of the property.

Somewhere along the way, a few of those wonderful felines realized if they jumped onto the exterior brick of my bedroom window sill, I’d let them in my room. I’d wake up sometimes or come home from some place and there’d be a line of four or five cats waiting for me to let them it. It was a precious surprise. My mom knew I did that but she quietly pretended that she didn’t. It’s extremely hard, if not impossible, to pull anything behind your folks’ back. They’re a lot smarter than you think they are.

I’ve always loved cats. They’re my absolute favorite animal. I love how aloof they are, how they don’t bow to anyone’s wants or rules. If a cat likes you, you must be pretty cool because cats don’t pretend for anyone.

I had my special cats growing up; a pure white one I named Blossom. She came from a litter of three white cats. The other two, Cotton and Cuddles, were my sister’s and my younger brother’s (younger than my oldest but older than me). Then there was Tio. I didn’t know the word ‘Tio’ means uncle in Spanish. It just popped out of my mouth. Tio was a girl, by the way. Out of the literally one hundred cats we had growing up (I have a picture of every one of them), those were the two nearest my heart.

My oldest brother had a very dear cat, Fluffy. She was all grey and she lost use of her back legs pretty early on. They make wheelchairs for cats and dogs with that condition now. My oldest brother isn’t one of my fondest childhood memories but when he was with Fluffy, there was this flicker of kindness and purity about him. She was all his and I think that sums up what Lee’s been looking for all his life.

Fluffy was an outdoor cat, crawling around our property with her front legs. She really got around. Lee would visit with her while he kept trails trimmed in the sticker bushes. He’d scoop her up every week and give her a warm bath in our upstairs bathroom sink. She got pretty ucky not being able to use those back legs of hers. Cats don’t like water but Fluffy trusted Lee. He’d bathe her, wrap her in a warm towel, even blow dry her. She would just lay in his arms, this unwavering trust a person learns when there’s no one else to lean on.

The day she died devastated him. I’ll never forget my brother and or family friend, Tim Hansen, coming inside from looking for her. He found her. Those moments in your life when you have no control of something but you wish you could go back and change it somehow anyway…those moments can eat a person up inside. If I’d gone out looking for her sooner. If I’d covered that pond with sheets of wood. If I’d kept her in the garage all her life, safe and protected from the world.

If we could look past every person that we don’t get along with, every person who’s hurt us or wronged us in some way, and see the pain in their heart from their unique life experiences that God sees and know that we’re all broken, we’d receive a gift this Christmas that you can’t buy in any store.



I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

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