It was the best of times it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of the noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two CitiesThank you Charles Dickens for these words! I believe you said it perfectly. The year 2007 was not a good year for me. In a six week period, I experienced the death of an aunt and two uncles. Five months later, our beloved Bobo kitty, who shared seventeen years of his life with us would pass. Two weeks later a dear cousin would pass and two months later a lifelong neighbor. And my Father was dying with cancer. It was the worst of times.
For those of us who are blessed enough to share our lives with a pet, their passing leaves an empty place in our hearts and our homes. No more being greeted at the backdoor, no more jumping into the middle of the bed and staking his claim, no more supervision during weed pulling, no more raids on the Christmas tree. No more together time.
One day AppleJack crossed the line and suggested we get another kitty. AppleJack is a brave man! After my melt down and giving him the forty nine reasons why we would not be getting another cat, he listened. Fast forward a few weeks, brave AppleJack brought up the subject again. A second melt down, more tears, more reasons.
A few weeks later, we were driving in Franklin, we drove past The Factory. The Factory is a renovated circa--1929 group of buildings that once served as the home of Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chief and, in later years the Jamison Bedding Company. It is on the register of National Historic Places. This landmark is now the home of a unique shopping experience. Happy Tales is one of the occupants in The Factory. Happy Tales is a rescue center for cats and dogs.
Brave AppleJack, crossed the line again, and suggested we stop "to visit the kitties at Happy Tales." Yes, you guessed it, another melt down, another forty nine reasons why this was a bad idea. Wise AppleJack said: "well, let's go anyway, we will leave anytime you want, besides the the Viking store is directly across from Happy Tales and you can buy yourself something new."
With great trepidation we walked into Happy Tales. With the first sighting of a cat, the tears began to roll down my face and I knew another melt down was on the way. To prevent the Happy Tales folks and innocent others from calling the men wearing white coats to bring the strait jacket, I found a set of chairs setting out of the way and sat down to compose myself.
AppeJack and I had just sat down when this spunky calico jumped into my lap. She meowed softly, lifted her paw to my cheek and caught a tear rolling down my face. She said, "Lady, I don't know what's wrong with you, but life ain't all that bad." With that statement, she sat down on my lap and started purring. Stroking her silk like fur, I composed myself. Five minutes or so later, Calico jumped out of my lap into Jack's lap. She said, "Bubba, do you have your work cut out for you. You seem pretty easy going, but that one beside you, well, she has issues." The spunky calico sat on AppleJack's lap for a few minutes and then jumped down and sat on the floor in front of us. We started watching her. We watched the way she interacted with the other cats at Happy Tales and the other people and children. There was no aggression, no hissing, no impolite eating or bathroom manners, just easy going. Thinking we were really smart, we realized she was watching us. She was watching us interact with the other cats, the children and the other people. Fifteen or twenty minutes passed and she made a second visit. "Look all you want folks, but when the end of the day comes, I am going home with you."
With this declaration, we started the adoption process. One of the many wonderful things about Happy Tales is their adoption process, it begins with an application and is followed by an interview. The application asks questions like: Do you know how old the average house cat lives? Do you know what hair balls are? How do you feel about pet hair on your clothing and furniture? Who will be responsible for cleaning the box? What kind of food will you be feeding? The application is reviewed and the interview begins. The application and interview determine if you are a suitable, responsible adoptable cat parent. Whew! After more tears explaning the death of our beloved Bobo kitty, we passed and the paperwork began. Medical records and shot records were reviewed with us. Miss Calico sat close by watching it all. Everything was going well until Miss Calico was placed in the carrier and the Happy Tales lady started to cry. She said: "we get so attached to them, we know they are going to good homes and we want them to be adopted, but they have become a part of our lives." More tears from me and the Happy Tales lady and Miss Calico once again had to come to the rescue. "Ladies, this is a happy day, cut the water works, me and Bubba are going to Music City."
On the drive home, Miss Calico never cried. There was no scratching or clawing the sides of the carrier, there was no instant release of cat hair into the car, just purring. Miss Calico did remind us to stop and shop for necessary essentials she would be needing for the night. You know the basics like food and cat liter.
When we arrived at Thistle Manor and opened the carrier, Miss Calico calmly jumped out of the carrier, looked around and started exploring. She confidently walked from room to room and then sat in front of us. "Not bad, I believe I can live here. You know folks it has been a long day and I'm tired, where do I sleep? In the morning, after everyone is rested from this emotional day, we will establish the rules and boundaries." This was the beginning of our lives with Miss Callie Mae Calico.
Since Miss Calico was born in March, a date close to St. Patrick's Day, a good Irish name seemed fitting. Callie Calico seemed to fit. The Mae came from the book, The Help. Remember Mae Mobley--you are kind, you are smart, you are important. We began a new chapter in our lives with this spunky, feisty, Calico.
It was the best and worst of times. A few weeks after Miss Callie Mae Calico came to live with us, my Father died. More tears flowed and once again she reminded me "life ain't all bad."