Happy Birthday, Popcorn and Peanut!

We’d been married almost three years when we spent a weekend with our Central Oregon niece and her husband. On their front porch Mama Cat had a family of seven lively kittens, some white, some with orange stripes, and a couple with black faces and stockings. All of them needed homes.

I’ve never been able to resist kittens, and I probably played with them too much, because while we were inside eating dinner, their mother carried them one by one off to a hiding place. However, she overlooked a little gray female with a black velvet face. That evening, the tiny cat followed me around the house and cuddled against my neck.

Next morning, I happened to look out the window in time to see Mama Cat slipping up the hillside behind the house. She disappeared beneath a brushpile. Ah ha! When she left to go hunting again, Tami reached underneath the brush and drew out five kittens. She returned them to the front porch nest. But where was kitten number six?

I worried about the missing baby all day. At dusk, we saw a fuzzy white mite balanced on a branch atop the brush pile, wailing at the top of his lungs. I’d already lost my heart to his playful gray sister. Both Hank and I fell in love with the independent little male as well. 

We went home, the two kittens riding in my lap. We hadn’t gone far before we christened the bouncy white kitten with the orange ears and nose Popcorn. He soon outgrew his sister, making her name Peanut even more appropriate.

That was ten years ago this May. They were five weeks old when we brought them home, so we celebrate their birthday the second week in April. It’s been ten years of entertainment and companionship. Thank you, Popcorn and Peanut! 

Peanut and Popcorn in their new home
Redecorating the house
Mischief in the bathroom (Popcorn behind door)
Evening ritual…listening to Hank read aloud

A Gift from Cosmo

Lenora and Steve couldn’t have loved a human child any more than they loved Cosmo, their big, sweet-tempered Border Collie mix.

Dog-loving people have a built-in bond with other dog people. Over the years, Lenora had made many friends as she and Cosmo went for their daily jogs in Seattle’s green parks. One of those friends, Steve, fell in love with Cosmo and then with her. Shortly after she and Steve married, Steve’s job took him away from her beloved city, back to his home town of Tucson, Arizona. Lenora stayed to sell their house. Then she and Cosmo set out on the long drive to their new desert home.

Cosmo made the adjustment easier for her and helped his people get acquainted with their new neighbors just by being his own friendly self as they walked around their new surroundings. Eventually, arthritis slowed Cosmo’s gait. Still, they walked every day.

Lenora and Gretel One hot morning, Cosmo pulled them toward the shade of some nearby eucalyptus trees. They heard what sounded like the cries of a baby bird. Cosmo looked up and woofed. Clinging to an angled trunk above their heads was a tiny kitten with outsized ears and feet. She was barely old enough to be away from her mother. How had she managed to climb that tree?

Gently they pried the terrified kitten off her perch. Hungry and dehydrated, she trembled in Lenora’s arms. An extra toe on each white front paw made her look as if she wore mittens.

None of the neighbors claimed the kitten, so Lenora and Steve took her home and fed her, then took her to the vet for a checkup. Before the day was over, Gretel had helped herself to Cosmo’s food dish and played “ride ‘em cowboy” on his tail.

Cosmo and Gretel Then, ignoring his disconcerted expression, she curled up against his fluffy chest and purred herself to sleep. The aging dog had a new friend, and Gretel had a new family.

When Cosmo succumbed to a sudden illness, Lenora and Steve were heartbroken. But Gretel, with her winsome, playful ways, did her best to distract them from their grief.

Sometimes I wonder. Did Cosmo give Steve and Lenora a gift by drawing them to the right tree at the right time? Or did God use Cosmo as an agent to bestow the gift from His own divine hand?