A Siamese cat one day appeared at my parents’ house. She was feral and would not let anyone come near. After my daughter spent the summer at my parents’ house during her school break, she finally tamed the cat. Soon the cat, Granny as Daddy called her, became an indoor pet. His pet. She would sit on the chair arm of daddy’s recliner with him every night. Many nights that Daddy could not sleep, Granny the cat, kept him company sitting on his chair arm and purring.
Dad changed as he aged and became more sensitive. When his body weakened and he slowed down, he appreciated nature and with this change, he loved to watch the wildlife. For a while, there was a fox in the neighborhood and each night he would sit out on the picnic table and wait for the evening to fall and time for the fox to come up to eat the table scraps and bologna he would leave by the tree. Eventually the fox grew used to Daddy sitting there and would come and hurriedly eat beside him. As the fox grew to trust Daddy, Daddy would call the fox and the fox would come. Growing up on a farm, I knew how to call pigs and cows, but I had no idea how to call a fox up. So how did Daddy call the fox? He hollered “Foxy fox, Foxy fox” and the fox came. This was a treat for visitors to watch the fox come and eat bologna. As Daddy had to stay in the house more and more, he would love to watch the hummingbirds gather around the hummingbird feeder that Mom kept on the porch. Right before Daddy went to the hospital/nursing home, his last few weeks at home, Daddy was leaving table scraps out by a tree for a possum that came up every night to eat. Daddy would sit on the edge of his bed and watch for this fat possum to come into the yard each night to eat the table scraps before he laid down. After he went to the hospital, if he didn’t finish all his food on his meal tray, he would have Mom wrap it up and take it home for the possum. When his body failed him and he could no longer work and do other things he found joy in watching these animals.
“Life is as dear to a mute creature, as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.” Dalai Lama