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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It’s Tuesday. What does that mean to you? For me it’s trash day. Tuesdays can mean a lot of things to different people. Part of my day I can control but chances are before the day is over I will have some surprises……and so will you.

Tuesday’s in my working years meant I would be at a certain town with a certain crew. I knew where I was going and why. I have several yearbooks that have chronicled my time in that employment. It is easy to see the change in those pictures which go from that first yearbook to the last where I was placed in the Retired section.

It has been thirteen years since then and now Tuesday’s can mean anything. By the time we leave employment most of us have a stack of things we want to do. However the days are still only 24-hrs long and a lot of those “to do” lists have to take a back-seat. I have been blessed with good health for which I am grateful. However family illnesses kept me in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms beyond counting. I’m not complaining. I would far rather be the caretaker than change places any day and it is my choice to be there.

It is just that all those ideas about retirement need a little dose of reality. In my case I would like to live in a house that looks like the cover of Southern Living. The reality is this…….if I keep house like that I have no time for hobbies, flower gardening, reading…..and anything else I might want to do.

The truth is this. Do not wait another day to try something you’ve been dreaming of for retirement. You may not make retirement. You may not want to do some of the things you thought about when you find out how much time and money it will take. Another factor is patience. Will you have less or more?? Much of what I do takes patience and there are many things to stay clear of if you want things done in a hurry.

I watched elder family members accept the fact a lot of their dreams were…..just dreams. Sometimes thinking about something can be enough. The important thing to me was how they accepted age and health issues with grace. Part of our day is necessary but when we allow time for God to speak to us it is amazing.

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I have had several people mention Napoleon lately so I’ll bring you up to date on him. After crying his heart out every night for a female to come to him he finally became silent and gave up. The time had passed.

Shortly after, he began losing his beautiful feathers and spent most of his time every day picking and grooming…….leaving them wherever he happened to be. It was so terribly hot and humid he stayed where there was shade and perhaps a little breeze. He would scratch up the dirt and lay down in it……then rolling from side to side he shaped it into a nice little bed. Sometimes I would be in the yard and see his tail feathers sticking out from under a bush.

Our heat was in the high 90’s for much of July and August. The rains quit after we had so much before. It was hard on outside animals and they did the best they could. The cats didn’t eat much of anything. They lost weight until they were the proverbial “rag of bone and hank of hair.” They preferred to stick it out in the garage……I don’t know why because the garage was hotter than it was outside. They seemed to know how to cope so I let them choose their options

I wasn‘t out much either and though I looked for Napoleon he wasn‘t around as he usually was. Sometimes he didn’t even come for his bedtime treats. Usually before dark at the last rays of sunlight he would come to the front porch and look in the window. That was my cue to get his snack. I looked and worried about him like an old hen with one chick.

He kept losing feathers and finally got down to one long eye feather. I was tempted to step on it while he was walking, thinking it would come out. Then I was afraid it might hurt him so day by day I watched as that one feather drug along behind him. It was so funny looking I managed to get a picture and one morning he showed up……the last feather was gone.

I don’t know why he sleeps in Becky’s tree while it is mating season. The minute it’s over he never goes back. He hasn’t slept in the big oak out front here, either. He must have found a better tree because he always goes the same way until he is out of sight when it’s bedtime. He is a sweetheart and still comes to the porch when he wants food….. and follows me around if I’m outside.

Well, I’ll put the picture on for you and then I must get busy here. I’ll give you updates when he starts growing his feathers back or he’s had an adventure. In June he officially became 6-yrs old.

Essentially Esther

Friday, August 20, 2010


Lovey was the cat who ran into the lobby of the Troop G Headquarters and ended up in a box by the door. Becky, ever the one to find a solution to a problem, called me, told me the poor cat had come to work in the back of a pick-up and was scared half to death. (No wonder with everyone trying to catch her to put her in a box.) I’d be scared too. Long story short……I brought her home and put her in Chevy’s cage. I hung around to see who would blink first. After a long stare-down, they each found a corner and stayed put. The look on Cali’s face told me how she felt about another cat coming into her domain. Not too good.

I was afraid Lovey might give Chevy a bad time since he was just a kitten and everything looked like fun to him. Fun to Lovey was not having her tail pounced on. As I wrote previously, they were allowed out of the cage for a few days and then we opened the door to a big new world.

Looking in a cat book at the Vet’s I learned Lovey was a “blue Russian.” She was more aloof than Chevy or Cali. I think she was having trouble adapting to her new home and feeling included with the other two cats. She was usually off to herself somewhere but she still wanted to see what was going on. Lovey was more suspicious and ran off any time we tried to pet or be affectionate towards her. As time went on she became more trusting and worked into a routine with the other two.

Even yet, she prefers to be doing her own thing and is a fearsome female if anyone tries to pick a fight. I will be writing about the other two strays who came, one of which was ignorant of the respect Lovey deserves. The other evening I was walking Mandy and all the cats were following along until one of the new strays decided to pick a fight with Lovey. He advanced towards her with a half-turned body, giving her the leering look of impending danger. She threw herself down and rolled slightly on her side with ears back, screaming like a Banshee Indian. Her mouth was open with teeth showing and by now her claws were like a pair of vises just itching to dig into him.

He wasn’t feeling so tough with the unexpected reaction and the other cats had stopped their wandering to see how it was all going to turn out. He was losing face and she was giving him no ground to retreat on. Ever the peacemaker, I intervened but couldn’t resist giving a look in Lovey’s direction and saying, “Lovey, that was beautiful. You are some cat!”

I really admire someone or something that won’t be walked on and I just can’t feel pity for a coward………….

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Chevy was the youngest kitty we adopted. We were driving up Main Street and Becky noticed a small kitten sitting under a car at the Chevrolet Dealership. He was just a tiny thing and cute as could be. He was sitting under one of the new cars and Rocky whirled around and parked as close as he could. We both got out and slowly walked towards him but he would run from one side of the car to the other. We were going around the car like a Ferris Wheel trying to coax him out. He was fast and obviously thinking his boring day had suddenly turned into fun. Fun for him.

Our concern deepened because of the close traffic and him being so young. We decided food might be a deal breaker so we drove home, got some milk and dry pellets, went back, but he wasn’t buying it. We finally left and came home, fearing the worst. Rocky was up and out early and went back to the Dealership to find my bowls were gone……when he went in to inquire about them, the owner walked up and said he had thrown them in the trash. He wasn’t going to have cats around eating on his Lot.

Rocky was friends with one of the mechanics so he walked into the garage area and was telling him about the kitten and that he hated to see him run over. He told Rocky he would watch for him and if he could get him in a box, he’d call us. It took a couple of days but finally we got the call and the cat was ours. He was such a cutie.

The next thing was to keep him from running off or Cali running him off. Rocky fixed a nice cage and put it on saw-horses so it would be easy to feed and have a litter box. I’ve forgotten how long he was in there but he was happy anytime Cali or we come in the garage for company. My favorite thing was to take him out of the cage and love him……he didn’t mind that at all.

As I mentioned in the last post, we came by Lovey un-expectantly. She joined Chevy in the cage and we were on close watch to see how everyone reacted to one another. Chevy was delighted to have the company, Cali was disgusted with yet another cat, and Lovey was taking inventory to see the possibilities of getting out of the cage. As time wore on Chevy watched every move Lovey made and was taking notes. She was the only one he could learn from at the time. He was captivated with her.

We knew they had to get out and become a cat and do cat things. Eventually we let them out of the cage one night when Cali came in the garage to go to bed. We left and hoped for the best……..when morning came we found them all sleeping in various places. It was a couple of days before we let the little ones out with Cali. We weren’t prepared for the show they put on but that is a story for the next post.

(To be continued.)

Essentially Esther

Saturday, August 14, 2010


In order to keep reasonable order to the cat stories I’ll begin with each one and move on. I know people who love cats will read about them so this is just for you. And to the ones who find themselves here by mistake, as Curtis used to say, “Useless matter that doesn’t really matter.” Speaking of Curtis, I still can’t come to the realization that he and Ellen are both gone. They were without a doubt two of the best!!

Cali is first. She was hungry, lost and afraid. We urged her to eat by leaving the food and walking away. Strays aren’t too picky….they are won over with food and after checking you out as the food giver. In no time she was eating on the deck and lounging around. As I mentioned, we named her Cali, obviously lacking anything original. In no time she grew into a quiet, well mannered kitty with graceful movements.

There isn’t any cat anywhere that can climb a tree as fast as Calie. Our neighbor’s had a cat and she was not going to relinquish any of her territory. She made Cali’s life pretty miserable one summer. Cali could go up any tree in the neighborhood with amazing speed and believe me, she had lots of practice. I’ve never seen another cat climb as high as Cali, either. That summer she was in the oak a lot.

Actually, Cali’s life took a dramatic change when we acquired Chevy. She had been our only outside cat and was used to having the garage to herself at night. We didn’t know how she would react to the kitten so Rocky had a large cage for him and we thought that would be safe enough until she could get used to him. Before he was out of the cage, we acquired yet another cat. She was probably around 6 months and we put her in with the kitten. The cage was about 5ft X 5ft with different levels and the kitten was a huge “show-off”……..anytime we went to the garage he would break his neck to get us over to the cage. Strangely the older cat didn’t give him any trouble and they were soon attached to one another.

Long story short, the time came when we figured Cali was going to have to get used to them out of the cage. After a couple of days they hadn’t killed one another so we left the door open to see if they’d run off or what. Poor Cali was beside herself. To our surprise she turned into an instant mother and was doing everything she could to get them back in the garage. From then on, Cali became their mother and their trainer for all things cats need to know.

She is happy to follow me anywhere. Any of my outside chores will find her close by and I am the only one she trusts to come back down out of a tree…….but that is a story for another day.

(To be continued.)

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There are a lot of cat people around……and there are a lot of dog people around. However, if you’ve never had or wanted a cat you’ve missed a lot of fun. First off, Cat People don’t like to hear a person say, “I don’t like cats because they are too independent and aloof. Dogs, however, are friendly, loving and show lots of personality.” Yah, but…….you have to walk a dog in good or bad weather. Give me a cat and litter box any time rather then having to go out late at night and walk the dog.

First, let me explain away the idea that cats do not have personalities. I have two house cats, three adopted strays who stay outside but sleep in the garage and two stray males who happened on the scene and decided I was a push-over for free food. All of them have very distinct personalities. However, the last two males are not allowed in the garage after I found they sprayed everything in sight.

Callie is the eldest. We named her so because she was, of course, a Calico cat. She came in 2001 half starved and scared. Small and demure she was light as a feather and a real lady.

Next came Chevy, a tiny kitten that was running around parked cars at the Chevrolet dealership. It would have only been a matter of time until he would run out under a car on Main Street and be killed. He was a spunky, mischievous gray and black Am. Shorthair.

Lovey was next. She was a young Blue Russian cat who rode into the parking lot in the back of a pickup at the Highway Patrol Headquarters. She waited at the door and ran in when she had a chance. Becky called to see if I would come pick her up because of course she couldn‘t stay at the office……..that got me another kitty. Lovey has always been starved. I feed the three of them in the garage when I let them in at night and they eat out of a round plate. She is a master at wolfing down most of the food from the two who eat with manners. She immediately pushes her head into the center (or beyond) and eats side to side then backs up enough to eat the food all the way back to the edge of the plate. I hate telling on her but she is a Miss Piggy.

(To be continued.)

Essentially Esther

Monday, August 09, 2010


I’m posting a picture of my first-pick Cosmos. My “card friend” encouraged me to plant some seed so I did. Our rain quit soon after planting but they survived with watering and TLC. I got excited when the first buds appeared and finally the first blossoms were popping out all over. They are absolutely beautiful in person. They scream summer and sunlight in an explosion of orange, yellow and rust. I was so proud of them I had to take a picture for all to see.

It is one thing to pick flowers for the cards but when those beauties come from your own yard it is even more rewarding. My friend has had butterflies hatching over the weekend and I’m going to try and visit in hopes of seeing the butterfly emerge from it’s confines. Almost everything in our yard blooms to invite butterflies and hummingbirds. I am fond of both. While I was watering in the back yard this morning I discovered a half of an egg shell. I’ve never seen a white one before so I wonder if any of you know what kind it would be? It was a little larger than a robin’s.

Our temperatures are in tune with most of the country……..hot, humid but dry. It seems a conflict to say dry and humid…..but it’s what we have. I have to water early in the morning because of so many bushes and plants…… when I’m finished it’s time to get out of the heat. I haven’t been able to work outside for the past few days and now I’m going to have to do over what I had accomplished. How the weeds thrive in this weather I don’t know. With the extreme heat everything else dries out or barely hangs on with what water they get. The small trees that come up in the middle of my flowers have to be cut down two or three times. Maybe I should try hacking and chopping my flowers like I do the trees…….maybe they would show a renewed growth.

My yard work has cost me three pairs of gloves. I have a bad habit of taking them off and laying them somewhere……I know I’m the only one who ever does that. They get covered up with cuttings and end up being burned with the brush I have cut out. I will have to tie them together with a string like my mother did with my mittens. Time to get busy here so I’ll stop with this. Another page of my mother’s special things she wrote down….. and I liked this one.

“Tearing the Bible apart is like tearing up a road map…..it doesn’t destroy the road.”

Essentially Esther

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I was thumbing through my file cabinet and found an old yellowed tablet in which my mother kept dates important to her. I was fascinated with the wealth of history saved from notes, newspaper clippings, photo’s obituary’s, locks of hair and things too numerous to mention.

I spent a while looking at some of it and decided I wouldn’t be able to get clear through so decided to add one photo that is my favorite. It’s a five generation picture on my maternal side. Five generations of first born girls in each family.

My grandmother is holding Becky’s baby, Jennifer, my mother is standing behind her, then me and Becky. I was forty years old when this picture was taken. Today as I write, Jennifer is packing to leave for the Ukraine later this month. Time has a way of going on ahead of us it seems.

My grandmother (who I was named after) died in 1974.….also my dad. My brother died in 1989 and my mother in 1991. So Becky, Jennifer and I are down to three generations now.

I write much of what I do for family, to let them know who, what, where and why. I am the last who can do that for them. I want them to know that two old forks I have, for instance, were once owned by my great-grandmother and my grandmother. The one has a wood handle and only three “tines” which I would call tin or something like that. The other has a handle of bone, also three tines……carved to make a handle and joined by small brass rivets. My mother kept simple things to remember the people she loved. Mom went through life content with her surroundings because she was at peace with herself and the world at large.

It is a gift of character I will probably never have. My dad impressed me with “now” and the future. He could cast off anything when it was no longer of any use. He wasn’t wasteful by any means but he was interested in development. He would have made a good scientist. He was a mechanical man who could fix anything, He was a thinker linked with action.

I am a mixture of both I think. I find peace in the things my mother liked and taught me……. and I also love getting things done and finding a way to hasten the process. I appreciate good workmanship because I know what it takes to make lengthy projects. I like the natural. Wood, glass, metal ……anything made with hands. It all starts there for me.

Well, that’s enough “history” for today from my world. I encourage all of you who read me to write down things you want your children to know or to remember. It is so loved and valuable ……more so as the years go by.

Those old memories re-told are precious to those of us who lived them. They are worthy of being handed down…………

Essentially Esther