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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 023. Thank God for Pets

A Thanksgiving Day Story: It's Just Me Again No. 023. Updated. 'The part about Lanky is a 2010 occurence,' Robert Stone writes. It's a delightful Thanksgiving Day story for pets (especially cats) and pet lovers: 'Thank you Lord for pets and God bless Abby - wherever you are darlin'. We love you!'
The next earlier Chuck Hinman story: Small Town Doctors
Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:

By Chuck Hinman

Thank God For Pets (a Thanksgiving story)

After the wonderful meal enjoyed at the Tallgrass Thanksgiving 2005 Buffet came the traditional afterglow time with family in my apartment.

I didn't sleep well last night mostly because I was having seconds on some of the wonderful things we had talked about. We got around to re-living what an important part our pets play in our day to day life.

Our last cat, Abby came in for her share of the conversation, with our wondering if she is providing some new owner with delightful times. I had to give her away when I moved to Tallgrass Estates retirement home. Abby was a mostly "outdoor kitty-cat." All our family knew and loved Abby! She was Connie's cat.

When I wasn't sleeping last night, thinking of the things we had talked about, I was curious why our pets are seldom mentioned in the things we are thankful for at the before-meal blessing. I think they should be, after the respect paid them at the afterglow!

Son Paul glowingly reported on UB, Anton, and Miss Kitty, his three cats he shares his life with in his home in Tulsa. And although none of his cats refer to me as their Grandpa, I know them well enough that they compete with granddaughter Kasi for their share of grandfatherly affection! And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Paul told a pet story that I think is the crown jewel of pet stories. He has a long-time friend, Barbara, who has the apartment adjoining his. I thought Paul had a lot of cats with his three, but imagine his friend Barbara sharing her apartment with five cats! I am sorry I can't remember her cats' names.

Paul and Barbara are surrogate parents of each other's pets in the absence of one or the other of them. He even knows how to give the twice a day shots for one of Barbara's sickly cats which she doesn't consider putting down. Barbara is in Iowa over Thanksgiving with her "people kids" so Paul had to leave early to tend to Barbara's cats' Thanksgiving repast. And here's the story.
Barbara is such a pet lover that in addition to her five cats, she befriends all the neighborhood cats by putting out food for them twice a day on the porch outside her apartment. She buys a huge bag of dry cat food twice a month. Paul says it is a known apartment ritual that when you see a procession of stray cats making their way to Barbara's second story "cat dining room" in the morning and in the evening, it is feeding time and the cats know it. (We have a similar ritual at the Tallgrass dining room -- three times a day and instead of stray cats, it's just the residents!)

It has happened for so long, Paul recognizes the cats. Paul says the cats do not want to be befriended any more than to be fed, and if you do try to befriend them, they scatter -- all ten to fifteen of them, even jumping off the second floor feeding station!
Thinking of that situation kept me pleasantly awake last night with all that that daily ritual implies, not only Barbara's inordinate love for pets, but the cats' faithful dependence on Barbara to "perform" each day. Barbara even arranged for Paul to take her place in that ritual during her absence. Isn't that some pet story?

And of course Mary Ann's "Sunny" is a known family legend! She unashamedly says that Sunny is her best friend! And I wouldn't attempt to infringe on his territory with Mary Ann, my only daughter! They have something going!

Sunny is getting some age and Mary Ann is aware that he won't be around forever to provide the loving relationship she has grown to expect. She will be a basket case when that happens; he is so special to her! He runs and hides when anyone comes to his domain. What a character!

So what about pets? I concluded after four or five pleasant sleepless hours last night, reliving the afterglow of this year's Thanksgiving, that the Hinman pets are a vital part of what makes our lives what they are -- happy! So don't think of messing with our pets!Thank you Lord for pets and God bless Abby -- wherever you are darlin'. We love you!

This story was posted on 2010-11-25 06:22:30
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Thanksgiving 2010: Turkey Day Exhaustion

2010-11-25 - Photo by Trooper_558. South Central KentuckyTurkey Day Exhaustion: "This fat cat has had all he can stand," writes Trooper_558. "Now, just waiting for someone to open a window." Clicking Readmore accesses an mostly unrelated Thanksgiving Day this picture helps illustrate, Chuck Hinman's "Thank God for Pets." Trooper_558 posted the photo at Group at
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A Fairplay Christmas: A scene ready to come to life in the movies

2010-11-25 . Fairplay, Adair Co., KY
It appears to be a title scene ready to be animated in a Christmas movie. All the figures are alert in reverent or expectant waiting: The madonna and the Christ Child, the angel figure and the little children, Emmitt Otter's mother Alice, white stockinged tabby cat, and the black dog. Something big is coming down. On the left, Ladybug, the only fully alive creature in the scene, guards the little band. There may be another storyboard for the scene. It's the artwork of Twila Phillips. The Alice Otter figure has invaluable provenance. It was given to Twila's husband, by Myrtle Jessee, the long time USDA supervisor in Columbia for whom Darrell worked before her retirement. Miss Jessee now lives in Glasgow, KY, Twila Phillips said. There's been a major change since the picture was taken, Twila said. "Ladybug is not as alert as she was then. Age has slowed her down." Clicking Readmore accesses a mostly unrelated story, but one Ladybug seems destined to illustrate, Chuck Hinman's "Thank God for Pets."

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Lightning was a brilliant cat

2010-11-26 - Photo by Pen. Shelby Co., KY
Was there ever a smarter cat than Lightning? Probably not in terms of sheer intelligence, though sometimes he didn't seem to have real practical sense, and that lack may have hastened his demise when his thirst for knowlege took him one mile away to the library and he became a traffic fatality statistic. We're almost sure Lightning understood, may could read the English Language. He would set for hours with the boys looking at the pages of their books while they read. Above Lightning was daintily opening his cookie package. Now we all wish we had asked him what it said. Clicking ReadMore accesses a somewhat unrelated story by Chuck Hinman, "Thank God for Pets." We thank Him for Lightning.

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