Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the girl who is nostaligic

It's the summer of 1989 and the family is spread out all over the place. My sister is in Australia as an exchange student, my father is on a business trip in California. It's just me and my Mom for a few weeks of summer. My 15th birthday is fast approaching and my Mom comes to me with a proposition. She really misses my Dad, so how about we go visit him and check out Disneyland? Well, I really didn't think that was the definition of fun. I mean, Disneyland? For my 15th b'day? My teenaged angst wouldn't have such a thing. Besides, if I don't go and my Mom does, I'll have the house all to myself.

Fat chance.

Mom went to CA to be with my Dad and left my sister's bff in charge to "babysit" me. (Basically just spend the night and check in) Pshaw! This is a teen movie waiting to happen! Dreams of popularity and parties danced through my head. They are only thwarted by the fact that I am hardly popular and I really have no network, grapevine, or even idea of HOW to throw that rocking and compulsory "parents are out of town" bacchanal bash.

It's a good thing too, because I was so much of a goodie goodie (although my Mom would disagree) I wouldn't have had any fun at all.

Which explains why I was home, alone on my 15th birthday.

My mother calls me about mid-afternoon to wish me Happy Birthday and tell me where my present was hidden. She directs me to go out to the storage shed in the carport. Since we didn't have a cool cordless phone (still relatively a new thing at the time) I had to lay the phone down, go and hunt and come back.

I searched that storage closet up and down and simply could not find my birthday present! I must have made three trips back and forth from the phone to the shed and back again with no success. I exasperatedly told my Mom, "There's nothing there! Just boxes and luggage and Christmas decorations."

"Julie, the luggage is your gift."

Well, I must admit, I was severely disappointed. Luggage? I'm newly 15 and you get me luggage? I tried not to let my mother know, but I think she figured out I was less than thrilled.

Really? Luggage?

Now, in my parent's defense, they always tried to fulfill both my wants and needs at the same time. Since my sister had received new luggage for her trip to Australia, they figured I must want some too and I would likely need it eventually (it actually got quite the workout my jr and sr year of HS).


So I decided if my parents weren't going to get me a gift I liked, *I* would get me a gift I liked.

So I called my bff, Laura, and told her that she was going to get me a kitten. Her job was to find a "Free Kittens" ad in the paper and find one for me.

So that is how I got Zephyr, or Zeff.

She was such a cute little kitten-a mackeral tabby with a perfect "M" between her ears. But she was dumb as a box of rocks. Sheesh. She had a habit of running into closed doors. The running joke was that when she backed up to try again, it was because she was just testing to see if it had changed its mind about being solid. The Zephyr of her name referred not just to "gentle western wind" but the gentle wind that must be blowing between her ears, lol!

Over the years she mellowed and, evidentially, gained some wisdom. When I left home, she stayed behind with my parents. She went through a "Vampirella" stage, as my dad called it, when she only went out at night and came inside in the morning to sleep. That ended when she was evidentially attacked by a dog and found bloodied and battered on my parent's front porch
one morning.

As I approached my 30th birthday, it dawned on me that Zephyr was still with us and going strong. A little slower, maybe, but still active and loving. Definitely the Grand Dame of the house. The running joke then became "she doesn't know she's supposed to be dead." Since then, I've just been waiting for the call that she was gone.

That call came today.

She turned 18 in May and was going downhill fast. Skinny as a rail and starting to get that raggedy look, she had taken to being rather indiscriminate about her hygiene (always a bad sign) and started just "letting go" whenever she had the urge. While cleaning up one of her presents yesterday, my Dad noticed what looked like blood in her stool. Being a good animal owner (pets are really FAMILY to my parents. Your kid is sick? Take her to the pediatrician. Your pet? Instant vet visit.) he took her to the family vet today. The diagnosis?

Intestinal Cancer.

So Dad had her put down today to spare her any further pain. Tonight she will join Hot Dog, Jordan, Lucille, Tut and Smokey in the family pet cemetery. I wonder where her spot will be.

I wish I had a good picture of her, but my only recent one is this of her looking like a shadow of herself. I'll have to go hunting.

So a glance into my past to explain why I'm sad in the present.

Hug your furbabies today.

1 comment:

jenscaleshr said...

Hugs sweetie.