counter on blogger

Pickle Me This

June 14, 2017

We Love Huron Playschool

I honestly don’t remember who I was before playschool. When I had one child, when I’d never published a book, when I was a bit lost wandering around the neighbourhood without a destination. These days we meet friends every time we step outside the house, but it wasn’t like that then. My friend Nathalie lived in the neighbourhood (even though we met first on the internet) and she had three children, had been a mother for a while. It was Nathalie who told me about playschool when Harriet was two, and I registered her for the following year. That summer we came by to visit while playschool summer camp was in session, and as we walked in, an actual pig came down the stairs behind us, noisy and oinking. From our first moment there, playschool was remarkable, and this has never ceased to the case.

The pig hasn’t come back to visit. And the Ministry of Education has since prohibited visits from farm animals for public health reasons (BLAST!) but the pig was really only emblematic anyway. Of the fact that playschool was never boring, always fun, and the things you think will never happen there are never the things that do…in the best possible way.

Our family has spent five years at playschool, five years in which we’ve become us as a family, a family of four, a family tied to our community, supporting our neighbours. Everything I know about the world I’ve learned from playschool, the challenges of working in a co-op, and the rewards as well. I’ve learned so much about people, and sharing, and what it means to be friendly (and that it’s not nice to bite). Our children will carry the lessons learned at playschool all through their lives, and I know that I will too.

On the playschool blog, I’ve written a little post about what the community there has meant to me and us over the last five years, and about how much we’re going to miss it. It’s a truly extraordinary place, and we’ve been so lucky to be part of it.

September 9, 2016

And then there were two

img_20160909_083427

And then there were two—kids in school, that is. And now there is one, which is me, home alone for the first time in nearly two months. Not alone for long though—I had a co-op shift at Iris’s school this morning, and so it’s just been for the afternoon. Yesterday Iris and I had a special last-day-before-school day together, and the two days before that we had orientation and cleaning at the playschool (where I mopped under carpets and cleaned out garbage bins—it’s non-stop glamour for me). And so this week has been busy, definitely not regularly scheduled programming, and I’ve had deadlines and have had to work in the evenings to get it all done. But it’s all done now, and next week the new routine begins and…it’s so good I want to swoon. Starting Monday, Iris will be a playschool from 9-3, and so my days will be free to focus on my work (as well as swimming! I’m getting a membership to the UofT pool and am intending to swim every day…) and every evening I don’t have to do anything but read books and go to bed at 11:00. The thought of such things makes me want to start whooping with joy.

I will be doing my freelance work, and will have lots of time to focus on 49thShelf, and other writing projects I’ve been meaning to get to—short stories that need revising, essays I’m intending to write. I have also been writing a novel all summer and would like to finish a draft this fall. And my blogging course starts in a few weeks, so I’ll be freshening up that material. And I know that soon 9-3 won’t seem like time enough, the same way our apartment seemed really spacious when we moved in 8 years ago, but I am going to luxuriate in it for a little while.

PS Check out my baby. When Harriet headed out into the world, I remember thinking, “World, be kind to her.” With Iris, I’m thinking, “World—watch out…”

img_20160909_083305

July 3, 2016

Summer Starts

IMG_20160630_093826

There is no better way to travel then on trains, where the leg room is ample and there is so much time to read. When we booked this weekend away, the train journey itself was the destination, but we had to arrive somewhere, so we chose Ottawa, where we have best cousin-friends and even other friends, and cousin-friends who were kind enough to offer us a place to stay. And it was Canada Day Weekend, so what better place to be…even if the place we mean to be specifically on Canada Day is our cousin’s beautiful backyard across the river in Gatineau. And it really was amazing.

IMG_20160630_110535

As we’d hoped, the train journey was a pleasure. I had more time to read than I’ve had in weeks. I finished Rich and Pretty, by Rumaan Alam, which I liked so much and will be writing about, and started Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which was lovely and so much fun. They also had my favourite kind of tea on sale (Sloane Tea’s Heavenly Cream) and so all was right with the world.

IMG_20160702_143313

It was such a nice weekend—the children had children to play with and I got to spend time with some of my favourite people. We had an excellent time with our cousins, and met up with my dear friends Rebecca who took us to the Museum of  Nature, and last night I got to visit with my 49thShelf comrades who I’ve been working so happily with for years but have only ever hung out with a handful of times. Apart from one traumatic episode of carsickness (not mine) and the night the children took turns waking up every twenty minutes, it was a perfect long long weekend. I also learned that it is possible to eat my limit in cheetos and potato chips, which I had never suspected. Also that it is probably inadvisable to start drinking before noon.

IMG_20160702_145058

We came home today, another good trip, this time with me reading Nathan Whitlock’s Congratulations on Everything, which I am really enjoying, I also started reading the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time with Harriet, which we will continue this week. And we arrived home to find that our marigolds have finally bloomed, third generation. We planted them a couple of months back in our community planter, and have been waiting for the flowers to emerge. (Sadly, our lupines didn’t make it.) Summer is finally here proper, what with school out, and even 49thShelf’s Fall Fiction Preview being up (which is my main project for June), and my work days shift with the children being home. I’ve also decided to write a draft of a novel this summer, which is only going to make a tricky situation trickier, but who doesn’t like tricks? We shall see. We will do our best. And there will also be ice cream and holidays and barbecues and sand between our toes, and splash pads and ferry rides and picnics and pools and flowers. It will all go by so fast.

IMG_20160703_195217

November 13, 2015

A very good day?

IMG_20151106_132239

This morning not long after 6:00, Harriet woke up coughing. Waking up her parents in the process, and as I adjusted to consciousness (and her much more morning-person father went downstairs to get her a glass of water), two thoughts occurred to me: 1) there was nobody left in my bed. Not a single person. Not a single person who is small and insists on sleeping whilst burrowing into my body, thrusting her little hands down my shirt, and kicking me in the abdomen, and lately has been joining me nightly around 2 or 3 am. And 2) I had had enough sleep. As in, I could open my eyes and sit up, get out of bed, open the curtains and begin my day, coherent sentences and all. I feel like this perhaps once a month, if I’m lucky. (See previous note about resident kicker in my bed.) It was extraordinary. My first premonition that this was going to be a very very good day.

It also meant we had two hours before we had to leave for school, instead of the usually scramble. (Most days, I am lucky to drag my sorry self out of bed by 7:45, and my husband does everything—breakfast making, bag-packing, children-dressing/brushing/etc. He is our resident Hero.) And because I make a point of being useful in wholly impractical ways, I decided that I would make us french toast for breakfast. It was to be sweet potato french toast from How to Feed a Family, but we were low on sweet-p’s, so I used acorn squash instead. And it was delicious. And then Stuart proceeded to do everything as usual while I sat at the table drinking tea and browsing twitter until it was 8:15, leaving me a quarter of an hour to shower and dress. We were out the door before the 8:30 news turned to sports, and ages before The Current started (which is always how we know we’re late).

Today was a PA Day so there was to be no grade 1, but I had a co-op shift at Iris’s playschool, and Harriet was coming with us. Along with a group of other children who partake in the playschool’s after-school program normally but needed full-day care today. So that the classroom was packed with kids of all ages, playing together and have such a good time, and it never got too crazy. It was a lot of fun having Harriet there, and it was a distinctly unboring co-op shift in which time flew by. And then home to leftover pizza for lunch, and I got dinner in the oven already (a chicken, leek and sweet potato casserole). Which means that we’ll be eating early, dinner finished before our super-babysitter arrives at 6pm (which is to be a new bi-weekly arrangement—early Friday night dates so that Stuart and I can go out together often but STILL go to bed early, which is best of both worlds). And we’re going to see Mavis! at the Bloor Cinema around the corner—getting home in time to catch an episode of Raised by Wolves before bed.

So it’s looking good. Just past the day’s midpoint, it’s still too early to say whether this qualifies as a very good day proper, but from where I’m standing now, the outlook seems pretty bright. Friday the 13th has a habit of working out for me—it was on another one, 12 years and eleven months ago exactly, in fact, that I met my excellent husband, after all.

Update: I had the feeling as I published this post that I was tempting fate, that I was sure to be struck and killed by a westbound bus sometime just before dinner. But the trouble turned out to be farther away and so much worse—not a very good day on the whole, for sure. Which made me thinking about a post like mine and about the point of blogging in general, and while surely my acorn-squash french toast doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, the darkest parts of the world are all the more reason to celebrate the those small and perfect moments of light. Thinking about Solnit and Woolf’s darkness as well: “To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next…”

October 12, 2015

My grandmother’s china

IMG_20151012_134217

“I have your grandmother’s china for you,” her mother said. “She took good care of it.”

I highlighted this line from a story in Kelli Deeth’s The Other Side of Youth when I read it, the china emblematic of all the ways in which the lives of women my age have failed to progress in the manner that previous generations might have foreseen. All these boxes of china wrapped up in paper and boxed up in basements, and it means nothing now. I grew up in a house with a china cabinet, is what I mean, and it is very unlikely that I will ever have such an item myself, let alone a place to stand it.

Which is not to say that the domestic has no hold, that we don’t give any value to stuff. My Pyrex fixation certainly speaks to that (and I realize now that since the photo in the link was taken, I’ve acquired a set of turquoise Cinderella bowls, and also put a halt on all non-essential Pyrex acquisitions to keep things from getting too out of control). But what I don’t need is a massive collection of dishes and cups to be hauled out on special occasions, just the same way that I don’t need a parlour for afternoon callers. What I like about Pyrex is its usefulness, and then it occurs to me that there is a similar way around the grandmother’s china as well—what if I actually used it?

IMG_20151012_134448

I have no recollection of ever seeing this china before—I didn’t pay attention to things like plates as a child, particularly if they were patterned with wildflowers. It is also possible that my grandmother didn’t set the table quite so formally when I was coming to visit. Although I do know my own mother’s wedding china intimately. I have no wedding china, but I have a vast collection of cracked and chipped dinner plates that it’s starting to seem shameful to feed my children from, and so I asked my mother if perhaps I could take a look at my grandmother’s china. If we could use them for everyday. Would that be more or less troubling, I wondered, than the plates remaining boxed up until the end of days, or else given away to a consignment store (where I would have totally bought them if I’d happened upon them)?

And so we took them, and now they’re here, unpacked in the kitchen. Some of them need cleaning—the gravy boat is still stained from some dinner more than a decade ago. But for the most part, the plates and cups are in excellent condition. Plates of various sizes, 10 of one, 8 of another, 11 side plates, 11 saucers and 9 tea cups. I wonder what they started with? Only 2 soup bowls—what happened to the rest of them? Or was soup more an intimate course, something best suited to a couple?

IMG_20151012_150000

Predictably, I’m now a bit obsessed with my grandmother’s china. Who knew? Spode China in the cowslip pattern with a chelsea wicker design. There turns out to be a busy online marketplace for fervid Spode collectors, and now I’m lusting after Spode eggcups and a teapot. I also admire the buttercup pattern (seen here). The former curator of the Spode Museum Trust blogs about all things Spode here (and this is why I love blogs so: there is almost nothing under the sun that has not been blogged about yet).  Spode was founded by Josiah Spode in 1770 in Stoke-On-Trent—Josiah Spode was almost an exact contemporary of another pottery-maker called Josiah but instead of a Spode he was a Wedgewood.

IMG_20151012_143633

We spent this morning at the museum, which re-enlivened my delight in the thingness of things, and it occurs to me how much of my boredom with and dismissal of my grandmother’s things has to do with the idea that this is baggage, something to be carried and put somewhere. (My grandmother never ever put her china in the dishwasher, my mother tells me. We don’t have a dishwasher, so we will quite easily be able to continue in the same tradition.) But with the idea that these things could be used rather than put up on a shelf to be dusted—it changes everything. The best part about things in museums is what they tell us about ordinary life, and so it seems fitting that my grandmother’s china should become part of our ordinary life as well.

Which ensures, I suppose, that each piece will be eventually get broken and never be passed down to anybody, leaving nothing for us to be known by, our ordinary life an enigma to those who come after us, should they even care to wonder. A paradox—the Pompeii exhibit is case in point; does it matter if your frescoes are preserved if you’re dead? But I wonder if it isn’t better to simply live in the moment after all. From a person’s point of view, I mean, if not from that of an archivist.

September 10, 2015

It begins.

IMG_20150903_132951

I got pregnant at nearly the exact same time as Harriet started playschool three years ago, when she was three years old. And I so vividly remember those precious mornings, the time, rushing home to rescue my tea from under the cozy and sit down to get some work done, not wasting a single moment. To be alone. Although the time did not seem so luxurious: I was in my first trimester and would pass out every night not long after Harriet did. If I hadn’t had those mornings, I would have had no time to get any work done. After Christmas when my energy levels had returned, I got a job writing a book about Arctic exploration, the gold rush, mountain climbing, and parkas, and by then my days of freedom were numbered anyway. So I spent that winter reading Pierre Berton on the Klondike and listening to Iris by the Split Enz over and over again, dreaming of my baby as she kicked away inside me—so you see, I was really not so alone at all.

It seemed like the smallest window, that year. I knew that with our new baby, we’d soon be thrown back into newbornland and babyhood, and we’d have to find our way out again. That it would be a long before I once  more found myself at home alone at 9:30 in the morning, the teapot still warm. I edited an entire book as the baby slept on my chest, for heaven’s sake. And now, here I am. And dare I say it: it all went by so fast?

This morning I dropped Harriet off at Grade One, which she is enjoying immensely so far, and then Iris and I trekked down the street for her to begin her first day of playschool. The playschool she has known since she was a fetus: she spent her first year in her carrier as I did co-op shifts three times a month. By the end of the year, she was scooting around the room like a champion. It has always been familiar to her. We love the teachers. Last year when Harriet was no longer a student there, we still visited our playschool friends often, and we’d play with them at the park.

Drop-off was not without its drama. Iris was not happy about my departure, and while I wanted to get out of there and trusted she was in very good hands, I’m a bit worried about the teachers who’ll have to deal with her. Though I assure myself that perhaps like all parents, I’m imagining that my child is more unique and particular than she actually is. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ve seen it all before. And that she’ll have a wonderful morning.

And now here I am, right back where I’ve been before except that this is the way forward instead of just a blip. It’s even time to put the kettle on. It’s time to get some work done. To figure out this new routine, just what to do with all this space and this quiet.

See also: “When I got home again, I didn’t know what to do because there was so much that I wanted to do.” 

June 30, 2015

Summer Plans

IMG_0489There was a while this weekend when summer plans weren’t looking good. On Saturday I made a soup that featured the uncanny flavour of actual dirt, which was devastating. And it rained and rained all day, and even the next day, so our plans to go for a hike were ruined. All melodrama heaped on by the fact I was premenstrual. We decided to go to the board game cafe instead of the hike, but when we got there, there was a sign on the door explaining that they were closed due to flooding. We ended up going out for schnitzel instead, which was kind of consoling, but the weekend was mostly disappointing all around, and the children reached a state of maximum solid gold 100 karat bonkers. By Sunday evening, Stuart had stopped telling me that he was jealous that I was the one who got to stay home with them all summer.

Fortunately when Monday arrived, it delivered the sun. We went to the park and built castles, moats and fortifying walls, which Iris wrecked and we tried not to get annoyed about. And then the girls practiced climbing, drawing on their inner-monkeys, all the while satisfying my agenda which was basically to get these children as exhausted as possible. Fresh air and physical exercise! Scurry up the play structure. Faster, faster, go! Which might turn out to be the theme of the summer entire, except for the afternoons when Iris naps, Harriet watches movies, and I get my work done. Everything slows right down at nap, and the challenge then is to strike a balance between the two. Between go and stop, between fun and relaxation, between doing stuff and doing nothing.

IMG_20150624_191728This summer, as with all summers, I become busier than usual just as my time disappears to the children being home and weekend getaways. And so the days are full, full, full, and I need to stop adding to the fullness by baking strawberry pies at 10pm because I end up staying up too late and the pie turns out looking like a bloodbath (even though it was very delicious). This summer is going to have to be about the store-bought pies, and hotdogs for supper, no more dirt soups and choosing my priorities. Which include meeting my deadlines, doing well at my work, not ignoring my children to the point of neglect, and hanging out with my husband (which is hard to do when the prime time of one’s workday begins at 9pm). To help with this, I’ve hired a babysitter one morning a week, and look forward to that solid block of three hours to work, which will feel positively luxurious as it goes by so fast.

But it won’t go by as fast as the summer itself will seem to, which is the lesson I learned last year. I really do like being home with my kids, providing I get ample time to do my own thing during our days, and I feel really lucky that my home and professional lives merge so seamlessly. When the children (both of them! I know!) head off to school in September, I will miss them dreadfully…even as I begin to delight working in the daytime and the possibility of evenings of leisure (a stretch, perhaps).

So in the meantime, we’ll be visiting the library, reading books together, hanging out with friends, going to visit my parents, frequenting local cafes, Harriet will be doing a few daycamps, Iris will be taking long naps (I hope!), and I will be doing my darnedest to tire them out so that bedtime occurs before 9pm. We’ll be spending a week away at a cottage, a long weekend camping, and we’re looking forward to fun weekend adventures in the city too. Plus spitting watermelon seeds, wading in local pools, forgetting to put on sunscreen, and gathering our freckles while we may.

June 17, 2015

Nobody ever believes in love

Stuart-and-Kerry's-wedding-(86)Nobody ever believes in love. I certainly didn’t. Ten years ago right now, the day before my wedding, when my husband-to-be and his mum were running errands in their town, they ended up waiting for ages at the bank. I was at home waiting for them to come back, and when they didn’t, I started to feel sick to my stomach. It was terrible. I was convinced that halfway there they’d had a heart-to-heart, and Stuart had confessed he didn’t want to go through it all, and now they were driving around in circles trying to come up with the kindest way to let me down. I was convinced of this not because I lacked faith in Stuart or in our relationship, but because it just seemed too easy, too simple, too lucky, that our wedding, our marriage would transpire. Because there were no flies in the ointment (except that we were both of us unemployable, and neither descended from moneyed stock, sadly).

“Marry a good man,” answered Anne Enright in this weekend’s Globe and Mail Books to the question, “What the best advice you’ve ever received?” And I did. Ten years on, it only becomes more clear.

I still don’t believe it totally. Perhaps the problem is that I’ve spent my life reading fiction. It occurred to me as I contemplated writing this post that it would be very novel-like (i.e. the way that life goes) if three days from now by husband told me he didn’t love me anymore and was leaving me for somebody whose forehead wasn’t perma-wrinkled and rashy, maybe some whose abs were less rippled than mine (by which I mean rippling in the breeze, of course). Years ago, I read a line from an article about divorce—”‘Barring some catastrophe,’ Bonnie says, placing a hand on her husband’s khaki-clad knee. ‘We are going to have a successful lifelong marriage.'”—and it turned out I knew of Bonnie, though by the time I came across the article, she was already divorced. I don’t know if there was any catastrophe. But still. I am so fascinated by declarations of undying love and gratitude in the acknowledgements pages of backlist books by authors whom I know to be no longer attached. “To Pablo, my everything. It begins and ends with you.”

So I don’t know. But here is what I do know: ten years ago I married a good man, and I love him more and more all the time. And more than that, I like him. He is my choicest companion for any endeavour, from the Valentines we spent in the hospital ER while our three-year-old had an enema to dreamy vacations far across the sea. He is kind and patient and fun, smart and interesting. Everything good that I have ever made has been co-conspired by him. He is supportive, hilarious, imaginative, good, hard-working, generous, and adorable. I am absolutely nuts for him, and really, I could adjectivise him all day. And he loves me back. He doesn’t just say it, but he shows it. Simple, easy, lucky. Can you see why I’m not sure?

I worry about writing down these things in case I come across as more irritatingly smug than I usually do, if such a thing is possible. But in not writing it down, a different kind of narrative takes hold. The kind that presumes that it is not possible to be married to someone for ten years and to love them more and more all the time. That marriage is a sham, it doesn’t work, that everyone is cheating, or longing to. Which is so far from my experience, in which my marriage is the bedrock of my entire life. Solid ground, I think. The surest thing I know.

Or do I? I think so. But it’s a kind of faith, marriage, believing in somebody else, believing in oneself even. That’s all it is, but then it’s everything. It’s all we’ve got, but then there’s all we’ve got—with a focus on the muchness. Ten years ago, we had no idea. We were two weeks away from moving to Canada, making a start here, I was embarking on graduate school, Stuart applying for permanent residency. The year we got married and the year after that, we lived on groceries from No Frills, $50 a week, mostly chickpeas because we couldn’t afford meat, and things made from soup mixes because we didn’t know how to cook. But we learned. It was such a long time ago.

DSC_1017But things started to happen, the way they do when you start leaving your twenties behind. We figured out what we wanted to do and how to do it. We decided what our priorities were going be. It wasn’t all uphill—there were job losses, plenty of failure and disappointment, stupidity, illness, and mistakes. But all these things are better weathered together, and we’re better for them. Better for having kids too, our amazing daughters who are even harder to believe in than love is, because how can the world really be capable of such miracles as that? Life begetting life, first principles, but I don’t get it at all. All this extraordinary amazement at the most ordinary things, and when I look back on the last decade it overwhelms me. It makes me think there is no such thing as ordinary after all.

You never know what’s around the corner, though I think that’s a blessing far more than a curse. “To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next,” writes Rebecca Solnit in her essay, “Woolf’s Darkness,” which is also an epigraph of my novel. (The other epigraph is from Harriet the Spy.) And while I could never have forecasted the past ten years in my wildest dreams, I think I would have hoped for them, if I’d dared to. For our incredible fortune, by which I mean Stuart and me, and that we found each other at all in a world so big and swarming with other people.

March 19, 2015

A sign of spring

sheetsI love the springs that arrive like this, like an unexpected gift instead of something long overdue. Spring is not quite here yet, but it’s making itself known, the way the green of a crocus appears like a dot in the dirt (and the way a tooth first appears, a dot of white on a baby’s gum—this is my metaphor lately). There are no leaves on the trees and the air still has a chill, but look how the sky is blue, the snow is gone, and our household’s sheets are drying on the line.

Though the surest sign that it isn’t spring (yet) is how cold were my hands after hanging out the sheets. Soon though…

laundryI was inspired to hang out the sheets from Sarah’s blog post about hanging out her washing (and her comments on the magical high-up washing lines with pulleys that need to be hauled in and out—I dream of these, though they terrify me also. What if something comes loose and my pillowcase falls down six stories, lost forever). It strikes me what a literary thing is clothes on the line—indeed, as I was hanging the sheets this morning, the “Grandma hanging washing on the clotheslines to be dried” line kept bouncing through my head from Peepo.

For more on literary washing, do read Anita Lahey’s blog post, “Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry.” (Lahey had a poem included in the anthology, Washing Lines, a collection of poetry of laundry and washing.) And see also Matilda Magtree (Carin Makuz) with “Pinning, Pining and Penning,” about repairing clothespins and other essential acts.

January 27, 2015

A Remarkable Cat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne day in 2008, not long after we’d moved into our apartment, my friend Rebecca came over, and a small grey and white cat walked in right behind her. “Do you know that cat?” Rebecca asked, not sure. It was her first visit to our new place. The cat seemed friendly enough, and remarkably at home. I checked her collar and saw that her address was next door, the other side of our semi-detached house, the home of our landlords. “That’s your cat?” I asked them the next time I saw them. “She likes to come visit,” they told us. “I hope you don’t mind.”

IMG_3494We didn’t. I was thrilled to have a part-time cat. I had no wish to have a pet at all, but a part-time cat filled the little void in my heart, plus I didn’t have a baby then, but I wanted one. Georgina slept on my chest while I read. She used to come over when I came home for lunch, and sit in squares of sun on the floor and watch me eat. She napped on our bed. She hung out on our porch. At one point, she came down with a bizarre injury in which she had a hole in her side and had to have an operation. No one knew how it happened—perhaps a fight with another local cat? She did have a wild life, and a mysterious one. (There was a legend about the time our former downstairs neighbours were caring for her and she appeared on the roof of a house across the street, and refused to come down.) When she came home after her injury, we sent her a package of cat treats in the mail and signed the card, “Get well soon. From the cats of Brunswick Avenue.” I think we had a lot of time on our hands. The children next door were young then, and found this most intriguing. Apparently, when they’d brought the package in, Georgina heard the treats rattling in the package, and came bounding down from the third floor.

georginaGeorgina used to sleep in Harriet’s crib before she was born, and I have this photo of her asleep on Harriet’s change table on top of the sleeper she was due to wear home from the hospital upon her eventual arrival. After the baby was born, we saw Georgina less, partly because Harriet absolutely loved her and manhandled her and would end up with scratches on her face. But she was still our part-time cat, which meant our girl never noticed she didn’t have a pet at all, and that we never had to pay the vet bills as Georgina’s health problems began to mount. Two years ago, we went over to say good-bye to Georgina, whose kidneys and heart were failing. Though that she didn’t die until this afternoon says something about this most amazing cat who thoroughly used up every one of her nine lives. It was always a pleasure to hear her scratching at the door, and we’re all really going to miss her.

What I am going to miss the most though is how she used to sit outside on our garden wall, and how when the windows were open in the summer, we’d hear the people outside going by stop to talk to her. Unaware that we could hear their cat murmurings, as they rubbed behind her ears, and spoke in a goo goo voice. And then someone else would come along. “What a sweet cat,” the second person would say, and then the pair would get to talking, conversations drifting upstairs to us. Strangers meeting in the street, people reaching out their fellow human beings, someone leaning down to pat a cat on the wall: all of these signs that there is goodness at the heart of the world.

I’m going to miss that.

I don’t think you can say this about every cat, but Georgina made the city a better place.

Next Page »

Mitzi Bytes

Sign up for Pickle Me This: The Digest

Best of the blog delivered to your inbox each month!
Twitter Pinterest Pinterest Good Reads RSS Post