Today, Tuesday, December 16, 2014, I dropped by the blog to post the photo of the mastodon teeth that we were lucky enough to view, fresh out of the water at the Prehistory Museum in Greenwich, NJ, and I saw the photograph of my old cat, Seamus, on the afghan that I bought at the Fiber Arts Cafe in Millville. It made me think of two things:
1. Barbara Solem will be holding a book signing of her new book BATSTO: Jewel of the Pines at Bogart's Book Store in Millville, at noon, this Satuday, December 20. I'll be there and I hope you will too.
2. I didn't mention because it bore no relation to historic places but I feel compelled to honor the passing of my old Cat Seamus pictured on the afghan. He was my friend and companion for seventeen years. Every night as I sat and read or watched a tv show, Seamus sat on my lap, softly purring and simply being with me. He was a kind and compassionate cat who was forbearing with the young annoying kittens that I rescued, and with the dog. He was a composed and meditative cat and everyone loved him. He was uncomplaining in the pains of old age. He is buried in my yard with a small Celtic cross over his grave. He came to live with me in June when a boy, a student at the school where I taught, brought a box with two kittens to school to give away. The kids were all manhandling the kittens as you might expect, and as I was on yard duty, I stepped in and said, "I'll give them a home." It was a gift to me for which I was grateful for many years. I loved watching them play and grow and enjoyed their warmth and companionship. They are both gone now, one, Padraic, to a sadly early death from a disease he picked up from an outdoor cat, and this winter, his twin, Seamus, to old age.
My life has been blessed over the years with many kinds of friends, some human friends I've known since junior high school, some friends from each of the places where I've worked, and of course, my friends who are also relatives and whom I have known my whole life, but not least of all these friends have been my animal companions who consoled me in childhood sorrows, and made me laugh when I was anxious or worried as an adult, who sat with me year in and year out in sickness and in health. They asked so little and gave so much, they will all live forever in my heart.
On every holiday and on the birthdays of my parents, who also loved animals and always had dog and cat companions, I donate to various animal charities and shelters. When I was a teacher, I ran several kinds of charitable giving programs for animal shelters, too. Aside from providing a home to the occasional animal who comes into my life, giving to the animal rescue and charity groups is my way of saying thank you to all the animals who have warmed my life and support to the humans who are trying to help them. Finally, two of my friends are staunch and generous volunteers in animal shelters and in spay neuter clinics and animal protection programs, chief among them is Barbara Spector who deserves an award for all she does for love of our animal neighbors on the planet.