Number 12: The Missed Blogiversary

highway_line_12On June 14th, 2016 this ole blog turned 12 Years Old.

Happy Blogiversary To Me! 

Thank you to all those readers that still occasionally drop by.  Through all the troubles, changes, and lapses over the years; I am still glad I started this thing.

Many weblogs started in 2004 are no longer available on the web. There were times that I thought about not renewing hosting for another year, but I still renewed.  I had years of popularity and years where readers visited like a tumbleweed in a ghost town.

If you have never visited Historical Marker One, take a look and read a little of the history of how I started this damn thing and why I’m still here.

It’s good to still be around.

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“Fathers’ Day Thoughts”

The Following is partially reprinted from March 2, 2oo5:

Daddy was born in 1912 and witnessed a great many things transpire over his lifetime.

Born in the Delta of Mississippi, he spent part of his young childhood living on a riverboat, farming, and then working with his step-father in a sawmill for the enormous pay of 17 cents an hour.

When the Dadswagger-740480Great Depression hit in 1929, hardly anyone in Mississippi noticed.

But Dad took advantage of the Civilian Conservation Corps initiative and became a baker for a railroad project.

He joined the US Army Air Corp in 1939.

In 1941, Dad was walking to work, and looked up in the sky to see hundreds of planes approaching. The airfield he was traversing began to take enemy fire, strafing bullets hit the ground around him. He made it to his station to learn that Japanese Forces were attacking Pearl Harbor. From Hawaii, he later was stationed in Manila, The Philippines.

sydandpollyanddebbieIn 1951, he married Polly Hall. He was 40, she was 26. Old people by southern standards. He left Polly and two kids in Texas, while he was “stationed” to “the top of the world”; Thule, Greenland in the Arctic Circle.

He retired in 1960 and bought a house near his final duty at Columbus Air Force Base.

But, not ready to quit living, he converted his military vocation to a Civil Service job and at age 50, had one more child–the author of this blog.

dadandme1965Dad was not always sure about this boy. He never quite understood my passion for performing, my desire to be famous, or my dislike for what he called “real jobs”.

But, he supported me in all that I did, and little did he realize that his wit and imagination that he used on me as a child was the very thing that inspired me to be what I wanted to be.

Dad’s favorite poem was by Edgar Guest. The first line reads,

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.”

And each day, he showed me that sermon in his life.

These days I look around my home and I remember Dad.

His funeral flag is folded in a traditional triangle and sits atop a bookcase in my living room. Rifle shells from his gun salute, next to his military medals rest in a small jewelry box. His picture sets on a table.

I still dream about him being alive from time to time, talking to me. And normally a day doesn’t pass that I don’t think about him.

The night he died, I stopped at my favorite bar back “home”. I bought a round a drinks in his honor and toasted his name.

Shortly after the toast, a huge burly “biker” came up to me, and grabbed me in a “bear hug”. After the hug, he looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and said,

“Man, I knew your Dad. He was great man, but he ain’t gone, dude, he lives inside you”

And so he does.

sydrobison

HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY TO ALL THE “DAD’S”

OUT THERE!

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“For Which It Stands”

americanflag1I pledge allegiance to
the flag of the United
States of America and
to the Republic for
which it stands, one
nation, indivisible, with
liberty and justice
for all.

Flag Day 2016

 

 

Pledge Text 1924-1954

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“Sunday Thoughts”

It’s been a cat weekend at ye olde blog; might as well make “Sunday Thoughts” about those critters as well.

 

“One cat just leads to another.”

–Ernest Hemingway

brain“Kittens can happen to anyone.”

–Paul Gallico

“It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens.”

–Cynthia E. Varnado

“A kitten is the most irresistible comedian in the world. Its wide-open eyes gleam with wonder and mirth. It darts madly at nothing at all, and then, as though suddenly checked in the pursuit, prances sideways on its hind legs with ridiculous agility and zeal.”

–Agnes Repplier

“The reason cats climb is so that they can look down on almost every other animal — it’s also the reason they hate birds.”

–K.C. Buffington

squeakyandthe brain“There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person.”

–Dan Greenberg

 

 

 

 

Photos ©2016 by Renee Robison

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There ARE Cats in America! / Part 2

From Part 1 of There ARE Cats in America!:

“I’M NOT A CAT PERSON

First and foremost, I am NOT a cat person.  Second, yes this is the lowest of lowest blog-type entries. It is a blog entry about cats.  Third, I am NOT a cat blogger.  Now with that out of the way, let me tell you about my cats.”

I SHOULD NOT BE A CAT PERSON

I didn’t intend for this to be the Part 2 of “There ARE Cats in America”, but the story you are about to read is what chronologically came after Part 1.  At the time it was written, this blog wasn’t active, but I needed an outlet to vent my emotions.  I turned to the Notes App on Facebook and poured my heart out.   I’ve added photos and a link to the Azalea City Cat Coalition to the original story and a comment afterwards.  Part 3 comes next week.

April 22, 2015; 8:16pm

STRIPE

I’m very sad. I’m grieving. I have cried out loud, sniffed back tears, and have had my voice waver as I tried to express a thought. I’ve lost a pet.Late last summer a feral mother cat gave birth to 3 little kittens under a vacant house next to our home. We named the two boys, Grey and Black. The girl cat was Stripe.

Stripe was the last one to become domesticated. She was always wary of our hands at first. She ate last from the dish we set out; waiting for us to step back after the boys ate. Slowly, she began to trust us. She would let us scratch her head or rub the last half of her back towards her tail. Still; if Momma cat acted skittish, Stripe would bolt away–following Mom’s lead.

Stripe was the Hunter. She learned quickly from Mom how to stalk, how to pounce and how to capture.

Stripe was loving. She cuddled with her brothers and bumped heads with her Mom as they greeted each other. And when another stray kitten was dropped off at our house; Stripe was the first to adopt her new sister, Willow Kitty.

Stripe was the last of the kittens to find her “purr”.  The boys quickly found theirs and purred with contentment when being stroked. One day though, after Stripe had grown accustomed to us picking her up, she cuddled with my wife, Renée, and began to purr.

When the caSTRIPEANDBWts were young, our intention was to find homes for them and keep just the Mom as an outside cat that we named “Ava”. But, over the Fall and the cold winter–with cats all snuggled in beds and blankets on our porch–we somehow lost the feeling that they needed other homes. I bought an electric space heater to provide them with warm air on the porch. I took mild joy in scolding Renée that she bought the “wrong” cat food.  I left the front door open a crack to see if one of them would wander in. Much to my “house” dog, Spike’s, dismay; they did indeed venture in to check things out.

Stripe and Willow Kitty were spayed and vaccinated a month or so ago. We took advantage of a local Trap, Neuter and Return program for stray cats. We had done a good job of domesticating the cats and the thought of finding the girls another home came up again. Although we never really looked very hard.

Three days ago, Stripe seemed listless, she wasn’t enthused and “kitty begging” as I called,”Kitty, Kitty, Kitty! signaling suppertime.  Her breathing was labored. She crawled into the Cat Carrier set up on the porch and used it as her private room. We called the vet and set up an appointment the very next day. But, on that day Stripe  disappeared for most of the day. She returned looking as if she felt better. (Maybe, I thought, she threw up a hairball and now feels better) The appointment had been cancelled. By last night, she felt bad again. Heavy breathing, a “pained” look, and dull, almost oily hair, covered her.

I took her to the vet today. She suffered from a high fever and ulcers in her mouth. Her breath smelled. Tests revealed that she had Feline Leukemia. Possibly, she had developed it months ago but showed no symptoms. Her immune system had shut down and a virus had spread quickly through her body. I just got paid today and was willing to spend my entire check on Stripe getting well. The doctor informed me that Stripe would not get better. I told myself she was “just a stray wild cat”, but that didn’t stop the tears.

I asked many questions of the vet. I tried to be matter-of-fact and logical through the explanation of the options. The doctor was kind and answered them all. My last two questions:

“Dogs can be calm at a vet’s office, and you can make them comfortable before they are stuck with a needle. Cats are less calm and sometimes struggle with vet care. How do I know Stripe won’t be scared or skittish before she is stuck with a needle?”

The Doctor said, “I won’t even charge you; if she is stressed, we can give her a mild gas anesthesia, she can go to sleep, before we stick her with a needle.”

The second question:

“Could I pet her before this happens?”

“Yes, take your time and call us when you are ready”

I’m not a believer in the Rainbow Bridge. A place where we see our pets of long ago; after we die. I’m not a believer that a pet has an eternal soul. I do know that a pet, or any animal, has a soul as they live. I believe it’s okay to anthropomorphize human qualities in an animal.  I believe they care, they love, and they recognize us as friends or family. Stripe’s soul was huge and I know she recognized us as family.

Stripe

Stripe

I also believe, in the continuous energy of the Universe. Stripe’s energy is not extinguished. Her released energy will still hunt and capture some other form down the road.

I can’t finish this note, without telling you that I have tears running down my face again for that little “stray” cat.

And I have to say, as I was taking my time and stroking Stripe one last time, I noticed something. I rubbed her little head, and scratched her little chin. I told her that I would miss her and that I was sorry that she was in pain. I told her I was sorry that I could not “fix” her or feed her a can of Mariner’s Catch. She looked up at me and…she had once again found her purr.

Reading this story again, and looking at her photos, I still miss little Stripe.  I’m not, nor should I be a Cat Person.

END OF PART TWO

 

I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.

–Jules Verne

 

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There ARE Cats in America! / Part 1

I’M NOT A CAT PERSON

First and foremost, I am NOT a cat person.  Second, yes this is the lowest of lowest blog-type entries. It is a blog entry about cats.  Third, I am NOT a cat blogger.  Now with that out of the way, let me tell you about my cats.

Ava“He” was a stray living under a vacant house next door. He was a black and white “tuxedo” cat with a bit of black also under his nose.  He wasn’t annoying and I didn’t want him to go hungry, so I put out some food for him.  He was feral. There was no trust in humans. He ran, if you tried to approach him. Because of his black “mustache”, I started saying, “Hello Adolf”, when ever he would make an appearance.

One day, I noticed that Adolf was PREGNANT.  And just like all the “transgender” hullaballoo in the headlines, Adolf quickly became Ava.

 

The name change seemed appropriate. (I opted for an A, instead of E)

Black(BW), Stripe, and Gray

Black(BW), Stripe, and Gray

A few weeks passed and on one particular day, I noticed little eyes peeking out from under the vacant house. Feral Ava had given birth to three feral kittens. The kittens’ fear of people was instinctive.  But, as they ventured out from under the house and as they were ready to be weaned; I coaxed them out with a canned catfood-milk soup at first. They were timid, but I “psssssts- pisssss-noised” them out each day as Ava watched. Only when I would leave did she finish off whatever food was left.   The kittens soon became accustomed to AND wanted to be held, scratched and played with. I temporarily named them Gray, Stripe and Black.  We weren’t keeping them. We would find them homes as soon as kitten-ly possible.

They soon learned to climb the fence or wiggle through an opening in the fence separating our home from the vacant house. Much to Ava’s dislike, our carport became their hangout.  But of course, we were still “looking for homes” for all three.  And, then someone decided that since they saw cats on our carport, that one more wouldn’t hurt, and abandoned a small kitten in our yard.  Ava decided that the small “wittle kitty” needed a Mom and began nursing her.  The new “wittle kitty” became Willow Kitty and her new brothers and sisters told her it would be okay to stay with the Robisons;  “they never throw away good cats“.

Fall came and brought cooler weather.  The cats, except Ava, found themselves places on the enclosed porch to get away from the cool night winds. I hung a plastic shower curtain over the opening to the porch to block the wind and setup a small electric space heater to take the chill off the porch.  The “kittens” braved past the rustling curtain to find make-shift beds and blankets waiting for them. Of course, Ava felt the cool night air was just fine or if she wanted, she could always go back under the vacant house.

I’m not sure how it happened, but whenever the”kids” were on the porch, somebody in the family would say “There ARE cats in America”  and when the kids were out and about in the yard;  “There are NO cats in America!”. Both were lines from a 1980s animated movie, “An American Tail“.

Grey4.1As winter came, there were nights that the space heater could barely keep up with cold.  By then Ava was on the porch snuggled into a blanket or afghan left for bedding and surrounded by her kids.   She even let us pet her, but not too much; and she said,

“Please don’t try to pick me up, I STILL have a vacant house to take care of.”

But the kids had other ideas, they began to notice that when we opened the front door that inside the house was much, much warmer.  They bravely entered into unknown territory and found the carpet to be appealing to walk on, but much different from grass.  There were spots in the house under the ceiling vents that were so very warm and toasty.  Short visits inside with the front door open, made Ava anxious. She did NOT want her kids in another country; they should stay right there in America.  We tried to explain to her that the living room WAS America, but she wasn’t buying it.

Gray and Black informed us that they were house cats. Willow and Stripe took their cues from Ava and would only visit; but always needed the door to stay open for when Ava told them it was time to go back to “America”.

Willa

Willa

Spring came and as responsible pet owners, we took everyone to the veterinarian for vaccinations, and Willow and Stripe underwent a spaying. Unfortunately, Ava was insistent that she would not be caught or trapped.  Willow and Stripe didn’t care for the car ride in the carrier.  Lots of “meowing” and growling went on for the trip to the vet, but an anesthesia hangover provided for a calm trip home.

Gray and Black went next for vaccinations, and enjoyed the ride immensely. They were calm and sat quietly in the carrier taking in the experience. I imagine that they knew that their day of surgery was not happening on that day due to finances.  Knowing their “cathood” would be intact, allowed them to just take in the sights and sounds of the trip.

Now, with 5 cats; not 4 kittens and a cat, it would seem I had indeed become a “cat person” and we were to have a long relationship with these “feral” kittens that we weren’t going to keep.

END OF PART ONE

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