B-I-N-G-O and Bingo Was His Name-O…

Our family lost another furry friend this past weekend.  He was a black and white cat named Bingo, belonging to our oldest son and his family.   Bingo’s home was  just down the road from us, and he was my “grandcat”.

Nobody really knew where Bingo came from.  A couple of years ago, as a kitten, he just showed up at our son’s back door one day.  Since he “just showed up”, there was somewhat of an indecision about what to call him for a while.  The cat ended up with three names–Stupid ~ Toby ~ Bingo.  Name #1 was correctly descriptive, but quickly  got eliminated because it really wasn’t a very nice name.  Name #2 somehow just never quite seemed to fit, but “Bingo” seemed a perfect match–even if he was a cat!

We used to laugh and say that Bingo had nine lives because he sure lived a lifetime of adventure in just a couple of short years.  Some cats are just more prone to trouble.

Once, when he was still a relatively young cat, Bingo hitched a ride under Christina’s,  car, without her realizing it.  About a mile down the road, Bingo apparently fell out from under the car, and landed in the middle of the busy four-laned highway.  Christina didn’t actually see him, but heard the sickening “thud”.  When she returned home from church, and couldn’t find the cat, she knew what must have happened.  Bingo was nowhere to be seen along the highway, so we all assumed that he must have crawled off and died somewhere.

The days passed, and Christina decided to get another kitten to fill the void left by Bingo.  She chose another black and white kitty, and they named him “Spencer”.  Then, lo and behold, weeks later, just as mysteriously as the first time, Bingo showed up again!  He was very thin,  battered and scraped all over his head and tail,  but he was alive–and he’d found his way back home!

Bingo after his car accident

Because Bingo was so skinny after his accident, I began to make it a habit to carry dry cat food in my car, and often I’d drop an extra bowl full of food off to Bingo and Spencer on my way to town.   Before long, both cats began to run out into the road whenever they saw my car coming down the road.  Eventually, I stopped feeding them, for fear of accidentally running over one of them.

Bingo’s house is only about 1/4 of a mile from ours, and frequently he’d make his way down the dirt road to visit us.  I have more than a dozen cats of my own, so of course,  Bingo didn’t usually receive a warm welcome–with the exception of my black, bob-tailed cat named Suzie.  Suzie liked Bingo, and would often spend time with him.  The two became friends,  and Suzie would even help protect Bingo from some of our more aggressive cats.  Bingo didn’t really need Suzie’s help, he was small, but he could more than defend himself!  He was tough.

I was on my way to town, a couple of months ago, when I saw Bingo walking down our dirt road.  I noticed he was staggering, so I stopped my car and got out.  At that point, Bingo laid down near the edge of the road, and didn’t seem to be able to get back up.  His tongue was hanging out and he was panting for breath.  It was a hot day, and I wondered if he was having a heat stroke.  Bingo refused to let me near him, by snarling and growling at me.    Somehow, Bingo managed to make his way back home by that evening.  He wouldn’t eat for a time, and we all thought he was “on his way out”,  but  Bingo eventually overcame whatever his problem was.  Once again, he’d beaten the odds.

Sadly, Bingo wasn’t so fortunate this past weekend, when he wandered out onto the edge of the highway.  Bingo had thirty acres of land to wander in on our side of the highway, but I guess the grass just looked greener on the other side.  Doesn’t it always?

I was the one who spotted his lifeless body on the far side of the highway.  My heart sank when I saw him.  He was on the edge of the four-lane highway that runs beside his home.  Darn that highway!  It’s claimed far too many lives of our furry loved ones.

Bingo was laid to rest yesterday, in the pecan orchard, along with several others who have gone on before him.  Bingo will surely be missed, but he will never be forgotten!

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Published in: on September 11, 2012 at 9:34 am  Comments (5)  
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Meet Me On Monday…

Once again, it’s Monday. Not too much to write about as far as the weekend was concerned. One of most exciting things I did the entire weekend was to clean out the “bill box”. Yes, I know, that’s pretty sad!

Does anyone else have a “bill box”? I actually have three plastic boxes that I keep old receipts and other stuff in, and all three were filled to capacity. It took me about two hours to get them cleaned out and organized, but I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished!

The weather in our area was sort of “weird” all weekend.  The sun played peek-a-boo a good bit of the time, and it rained a couple of times on Saturday, and Saturday night.

Ed and I woke up to a power outage on Sunday morning.  We ate cold cereal for breakfast, then sat around for a couple of hours, until the lights came back on.  We both agreed, it’s hard to accomplish much without electricity.

I didn’t even realize that Sunday was Grandparent’s Day, until Sunday evening when two of our grandchildren came to see us, bearing a gift-

I love this thoughtful gift, crafted by the boys and their mother, Christina, and will always treasure it.  I don’t know if I was more impressed by the plaque or the great photo of the boys!   I know, from experience,  that getting little boys to cooperate with anything,  can sometimes be a challenge!

Speaking of challenges, I’m joining “Meet Me On Monday”, and here are Heather’s questions for today:

1. What is your favorite memory you made while on walk?

My favorite “walking memory” is from about 25 years ago, when I participated in our church’s walk-a-thon to raise money for youth camp.  It was a five-mile walk,  so I trained for several weeks to build up my stamina.  Walking along beside me were lots of enthusiastic children, a few more parents, and my seventy-year-old father-in-law!  Toward the end of the walk, I was sort of struggling, while my father-in-law was still comfortably walking, laughing, and talking!  Simply amazing!

2. Do you prefer to live in the city, suburbs or country? Why?

I’ve lived in all three places, and believe me, country living is THE BEST!  I love the privacy–being able to do whatever I want to in my yard, without worrying about neighbors or a home owners association.  We’re also able to have a large garden, chickens, and a variety of pets.

3. Post the cutest kid/pet/whatever picture you have taken lately?

4. What is your favorite recipe made with apples?

I love the fried apples at The Cracker Barrel!  I’m not sure why they called them “fried” though.  If you’ve never tried them, they are basically cooked, seasoned apples, without a crust.

My question for you is:

5.  Do you save a lot of receipts and papers, or are you a “clutter-free” type of person?

Published in: on September 10, 2012 at 11:34 am  Comments (11)  
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A Little More “Girly” News…

You may have been wondering what’s been going on with “my girls”, since I know how much you love hearing about my adventures with them 🙂  If this is the case, today’s your lucky day!

“My girls”, aka the chickens, are doing great!  They’ve grown into some large, fine,  red hens, but I wouldn’t expect anything less since they are very well-fed!   I’ve yet to find anything that those six won’t eat!  Ritz crackers are their newest favorite snack.

All of the hens, with the exception of one,  are officially earning their keep by providing eggs.  I don’t know which hen isn’t laying yet, but I suspect it’s the runt of the bunch–the one I call “Lucy”.  Lucy has always been the smaller, weaker one in the bunch, but she’s always been a favorite of mine, simply because she’s the underdog.  Lucy is at the bottom of the pecking order.

When I say the hens are earning their keep, I mean they are really earning their keep!  Since the girls began laying, the last of July, they have already provided us with a grand total of one hundred and twenty-three eggs!  I’ve been gathering four to five eggs every single day.  I’m cooking eggs every day, plus giving eggs away, and I still have nearly four dozen left eggs in the refrigerator!   I’m sort of glad that only five hens are laying!  It doesn’t take many hens to keep a family supplied with eggs.

Not only has the number of eggs increased, the size of them has increased, too!  Look at the size of the egg in this photo!  If this egg was a human baby, it would be at least a ten pounder!   Ouch!  I’ll bet that egg will have two yolks, too–twins!

Gathering eggs has become quite a daily adventure!  Whenever I go out to greet “my girls” at eight o’clock each morning, there is usually an egg already waiting for me.  Someone likes to get an early start!  The huge egg in the photo was found in the nest yesterday morning!

I usually gather eggs twice a day.  I find it interesting that there are three different nests in the chicken house, but all of the hens insist on using the same nest!  Sometimes I see a line of hens waiting to get on the nest.   They remind me of a bunch of women waiting to get into the ladies room!

I have two options for gathering eggs. First of all, I can open a small door on the outside of the coop, and gain access to the eggs without actually entering the chicken coop.  This door opens up to reveal only the nests.  My other choice is to gather eggs from inside of the coop by reaching through the large side door of the chicken house, and into the nests. It’s a bit of a stretch to reach the nests this way, so I use a large, long-handled spoon to gather the eggs!  I like to add a little excitement to my day, so I usually take the spoon approach 🙂  I have to go inside of the coop to clean and feed anyway.

Recently, I’ve noticed one particular hen doesn’t seem to appreciate me taking the eggs out of the nest.  At first, I noticed her hopping into the chicken house whenever she saw me standing beside it.  She seemed to be watching what I was doing.  Then, one morning, I actually saw her trying to roll an egg out of the little bowl that I put the eggs in!    Even when I gather eggs from the back of the nests, that same hen watches and makes a fuss!  Every day she clucks, quacks, and acts quite disturbed when she sees me with eggs in my hands.  It’s actually sort of sad, and I’ll bet I’m going to have a difficult time with that one whenever she turns “broody”.

Broody is the term used for a hen who desires to sit on her eggs and hatch baby chicks.  Every day I tell old “Renny Henny” that she will never be able to hatch any of our eggs because we don’t have a rooster!  I don’t think she believes me.  You may recall that “Renny Henny” and I have butted heads before–over when it was time to go to bed…Visions of chasing that rebellious chicken all around the coop still dance in my head!

I’ll keep you posted on how things go!

Published in: on September 7, 2012 at 8:30 am  Comments (7)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Juror Number 16…

Does anyone remember back in February when I received my first jury summons?  Do you remember when I reported,   I was also chosen to serve on a case on April 2?  Out of about two hundred  people–only twelve of us were chosen to serve on the lone case scheduled for the entire month of April.  What were the odds?!

Despite being terrified, I ended up enjoying my court room experience.  I’d never been to court, and it was interesting to see how the process works–and they fed us well!

Unfortunately, I ultimately paid a price when it was all over.  I was sick for a couple of days following my one day of jury duty.  You see, sitting for long periods of time, along exposure to stressful situations often takes a toll on my body, and causes health issues.  After all was said and done, I began to ask myself,  What would have happened if court had lasted one more day?  Could I have made it to court the second day?  I was concerned.  I knew there was no way I could ever last through a long trial.

On my next doctor’s visit, I discussed these concerns with him.  He told me to let him know if I got summoned again, and he would take care of it.  I don’t think either of us dreamed it would be so soon, but around August 10, guess what appeared in my mailbox?!  Another jury summons for me–juror number 16!

If I ever had any doubts about not being able to serve, my “medical issues” of the summer of 2012 definitely laid those doubts to rest!  Since the first week of July, I’ve been unable to sit comfortably–for even short periods of time, and wearing fitted clothing is a nightmare!  Sometimes even wearing underwear is a nightmare.  Um, I don’t think showing up in court, pantyless,  would go over well with the judge, do you?  

Needless to say, I was at my doctor’s office bright and early on Monday morning, after receiving my jury summons on Friday!  My doctor took care of things, and I’ve been permanently excused from any further jury duty.

Last week the list of jurors was published in our local newspaper, and of course, my name was no longer on the list.  While reading over the list of names, I recognized two people’s names who were also called with me back in February!  Now what are the chances of that?!  Perhaps the three of us should go out and purchase a few raffle tickets, since somebody obviously likes to draw our names…

Published in: on September 6, 2012 at 10:15 am  Comments (8)  
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Our First September Hodgepodge…

The month of August is but a fading memory, as September gets into full swing.  Time is moving at such a fast pace,  some days I find it difficult to keep up.   However,  I know that today is Wednesday–and Wednesday means it’s time to participate in “The Hodgepodge”!  Here we go…

1. In your opinion what’s the most important job in the world? Oh, and parenting is a given so besides parenting, what’s the most important job in the world?

I’m not sure–because there are so many jobs in this world that depend on each other–from the doctors who take care of us,  to the construction crew who built that doctor’s office so he’d have a place to practice.  From the police who keep us safe, to the dispatchers who take the calls and direct the  police where to go…EVERY job plays an important role, as far as I’m concerned.

2. Share a favorite or not so favorite memory from a childhood birthday.

I only had one birthday party while growing up.  I think it was when I turned six.  That party is my favorite childhood birthday memory, and is one of the few childhood birthdays that I can actually still remember.

3. Peanut butter-crunchy or smooth?

I prefer crunchy peanut butter, but I’ll eat either one.

4. William Butler Yeats is credited as saying, “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.” Your thoughts?

I don’t think we’re necessarily happy when we’re in the process of growing, because sometimes growth can be a difficult or painful process.  That being said, once the process is over,  we are usually happy once we look back and realize that we’ve grown.

5. What’s something that makes you cringe?

Watching anyone get their ears pierced.  I can’t stand to be in a store when someone’s getting their ears pierced, so I’ll bolt for the door!

6. Name a song that always puts you in a good mood?

(You Make Me) Smile by Uncle Kracker

7. The answer is yes. What’s the question?

If you could go back and change anything about your life, would you?

Random:

I’m going to use my random thought to thank our hostess, Joyce, for the fantastic job that she does with this meme each week!  Her questions often cause me to pause and look deep within myself for the answers–and that’s a good thing–a sort of growing process.

I can’t even begin to imagine how Joyce comes up with such interesting, thought-provoking questions week after week, but I’m grateful that she does!  Through her questions, future generations of my family will be able to gain some insight into the kind of person that I am, and I’m pleased about that.

I’ve also noticed that Joyce visits each of the participants of her meme each week, and always leaves the nicest comments!  As bloggers, we all know how time-consuming commenting can be at times!!!

So, Joyce, I tip my hat to you this week, you’re one in a million, and I feel blessed to have you for a blog friend 🙂  I also dedicate the following song and video to you…

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 9:12 am  Comments (11)  
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The Summer of 2012…

Summers come and go every year.  Some years summers are quite memorable, while some years they are not.  Sometimes summers are memorable for good reasons, while others are memorable for bad reasons.

The summer of 1972 was memorable because it was the summer Ed and I got married.  The summer of 1986 was memorable because our family discovered camping that year, and had loads of fun.  I remember the painful summer of 1994 when my doctor and I spent the entire summer trying to find the right combination of drugs to put my rheumatoid arthritis into remission, and I remember my mother dying during the summer of 1997.  The summer of 2007  found Ed and I busily finishing up the construction of our new home, while 2010 was the awful summer that our (now) daughter-in-law, Jennifer, discovered that she had cancer–then lost her mother,  just a few short weeks later.  Yes, some summers are more memorable than others!

The summer of 2012 will go down as a memorable summer for several reasons.  Summer 2012 started out with such fun and promise.  Ed and I  successfully grew our first  garden together, and we raised chickens for the first time in over thirty years!  We also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary together.  Life was good–but then a few things changed…

Toward the end of June, things began to take a bit of a downhill plunge.  My daughter and I had a disagreement toward the end of June, and we haven’t been able to resolve the situation.  It’s complicated.  Unfortunately, our disagreement overshadowed the rest of the summer of 2012.    In addition, I’ve spent most of the summer being plagued by health issues that I can’t get totally resolved.  This, too, is complicated.  Both issues are so frustrating!  Why does life have to be so complicated at times?

I don’t know what the fall  of 2012 will bring, but I’m hoping and praying that things will get back on track one of these days.  I’ll be happy to put the summer of 2012 behind me and just move forward, even though I realize my summers are growing more scarce with each passing one.  How about you?  Will your summer of 2012 be a memorable one?  If so, why?

Published in: on September 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm  Comments (7)  
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Meet Me On Monday – The Labor Day Edition

I took a bit of a break from blogging over the past several days to enjoy spending more time with Ed.  He’s still off today, so my blog post today will be brief, but I wanted to join Heather for her Monday meme.  I’m a creature of habit, what can I say?

1. What was the toughest job you ever had?

Does anyone remember those little tourist stops from back in the sixties?  You know, those little stores that carried all kinds of souvenirs, jams, jellies, moccasins, etc.  (You can occasionally still find those little shops down in Florida.)  Anyway, when I was a young teen,  my uncle owned one of those shops.  His store also had a little “fast food” restaurant in one corner of it.  I  once worked in the restaurant section of that store .  I had to take the orders, prepare the food, serve the food, and clean up the mess!   I only lasted about two days before I quit!  I wasn’t tough enough to do it all back then!

2. What one characteristic makes a good boss?

Fairness–in other words, not showing  partiality to certain employees.

3. How did you celebrate ‘the end of summer’?

I didn’t do anything special to celebrate the end of summer.  Ed and I had tentatively planned a day at the beach, but we never made it there.  Instead, we just hung around the house, did a few odd jobs, and spent a lot of time together.  Ed’s grilling hot dogs for lunch today.  I guess that will have to qualify as our “official cookout”.

4. Do you follow the fashion rules about Labor Day being the end of wearing white etc?

I won’t wear white sandals or dress shoes after Labor Day, but I’ll continue to wear my white shorts until it gets too cold to wear shorts.

My question for you is…

5.  Do you swim in the ocean?  

I’ll wade, but won’t go deeper than the tops of my legs.  I don’t care much for the feeling of salt water on my skin–and then there’s the little problem with sharks…

Published in: on September 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm  Comments (10)