Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday and this year a lot of folk, human and animal alike had a lot to be thankful for.  Kid was so happy that Lemuel and his flock were alive to enjoy the day.  It was the first day all week that there had been no rain, and Kid raced over to visit Lemuel as soon as she saw Bart head by the house.  Kid practically danced across the field to the turkey run, yodeling Lemuel’s name.  “Happy Thanksgiving, friend.  I am so glad we can say that to each other today!”  She leaned against the fence and Lemuel put his head close and nuzzled Kid with his beak.  “Oh, your wattle is tickly.  Please extend my greetings to the hens and Tiffany.  I can’t stay, because Val has to leave for work soon, and I want to wish her a happy holiday before she goes.  I’ll try to come back later.”  Kid raced back across the field.  Lemuel looked at her as she ran and thought how lucky he was to have a friend like her. 

The hens were thankful for life – their own and Tiffany’s.  This morning Maria had fed them, and she’d given the hens a mix of their own feed and the poult feed, which was a special treat for them.  The poult feed had an extra special taste to it all its own that reminded them of when they had been very young.  Comfort food for turkeys.  As she put the poult feed in front of Tiffany she whispered to her, “I’m trying to work something out, Tiff.  Don’t worry about a thing.”  Tiffany was clueless, but her mother, Courtney was not.  Maria was on their side, things would work out.  As Tiffany blissful ate her food in the warm broody house, Courtney went over to the main coop to tell the other hens what Maria had said.  After she shared her news, Lydia led the hens in a group thank-you to the Celestial Turkey for her assistance. 

Rudy, Peep and LT were enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving at home.  The Mommy was cooking for the Daddy, one of his brothers and their friend, Mike.  Peep dearly loved to eat turkey, and she wasn’t going to let any thoughts of Lemuel and his flock get in the way of that enjoyment.  She knew for a fact that the Mommy had bought the turkey from the grocery store.  She’d checked out the wrapper while it was defrosting, and it was a Butterball Turkey from North Carolina, and not one with whom she had mutual acquaintances.  The Daddy had set up the table earlier this morning, and the turkey was in the oven.  There were all sorts of other delicious smells from things cooking on the stove.  She was sorry that the yarn lady wouldn’t be here today, but she knew that Mommy would give her lots of snacks throughout the day. 

Rudy and LT were sunning in the back yard.  It wasn’t very warm, but it was the first sun they’d seen in days and they were determined to enjoy it.  Rudy whispered to LT, “Do you see the wild turkeys?  They’re just inside the woods. I bet they’re still worrying that someone’s gonna chase them down and quick throw them in the oven.”  She and LT laughed, but she called out to them, “Hey guys, Happy Thanksgiving.  You’ve survived.  It’s too late for someone to cook you up this year.”  She saw one tom nod his head and the turkeys worked their way down the edge of the property towards Snoogum’s house.  LT decided he’d hang outside until everyone had come and gone and then go in for turkey.  He’d seen the size bird Daddy had bought, and knew there would be plenty of leftovers.  Rudy, on the other hand, preferred to be hand fed, so she’d go in as soon as guests arrived and pose prettily in hopes of tidbits. 

Ziggy and Bella were snuggled under the table in their beds.  Val had to go to work today, which made Ziggy a bit sad, although she worked each and every Thursday.  It was a holiday; shouldn’t she be able to stay home?  She was on the phone with her brother right now, talking about just that.  “John, most of the folks in the group home don’t have any family left close by, and so some people have to work on the holidays.  I’d rather it be me, because then I know we can all have a fun day and a tasty dinner.  At least I know I can cook up a storm.  I just hope they made the pies yesterday.  I’ve been off since Monday, and if they didn’t bake the pies there are going to be a few disappointed people.”  Ziggy thought about what she’d said, and decided that the folks from the group home needed his mommy more than he did today.  They’d snuggled in bed this morning until she had to get up, and he knew that when she got home they’d play and snuggle again.  It was right to share such an excellent mommy with others.  Emma was on the back of the couch, also listening to the conversation.  She’d miss Val today, but knew that she’d come home when her shift was over and they’d be together. That was what was important.  Bella just snored. 

Buddy was hanging on the back porch, regretting that there would be no holiday leftovers for him since Val would be eating at work.  On the other hand, she’d probably feel bad not having any leftovers to give them, and at least provide extra squishy food, and maybe something special from the fridge.  He loved Val.  She was the one who’d seen him hiding in the compost when he was nearly starved and brought him back to health.  There was no one better in the world than her, and he thanked the Great Cat that she’d invited him to come live with her. 

Tatum and Ursula were enjoying a visit from the English Lady.  She took care of them any time all the humans went on vacation, and every year at Thanksgiving they went away to see the yarn lady’s sister in New Hamster.  It was no big deal.  Food arrived on time, and often in greater quantities than the noisy girl provided.  She was convinced they were overweight, and so had been shorting their rations for a while now.  That made for cranky cats.  Ursula knew the English Lady and loved her.  She was the one who had taken care of her when she barely had her eyes open.  She’d fed her from a bottle and let her sleep in the bed with her, all snuggled up under her chin.  If it hadn’t been for the English Lady, she probably would have starved to death, and she never would have come to live with the yarn lady and now the noisy girl and Tatum’s beloved Daddy.  Ursula twined around the English Lady’s legs and tried to communicate all the love she had for her and the thanks for taking care of her when she was a wee one. 

Tatum watched from the stairs.  He knew the English Lady, but she just wasn’t his beloved Daddy, or even the noisy girl.  He missed them a lot when they went away, but when he thought about it in the grand scheme of his life, it was just a blip.  He’d lived at the shelter for almost all of his kittenhood until his beloved Daddy had brought him home to live.  It had been scary at first to live without a cage around him, but when he realized that he could go anywhere in the house and that he was surrounded by people he knew and loved rather than new faces poking themselves into his cage every day he’d decided that he’d come to the perfect home.  It was good to be Tatum, he thought to himself. 

Clementine was afraid she’d die of loneliness.  The yarn lady had left two days ago, saying that she’d be gone for days and days and days, but that the English Lady would come over and feed her and spend some time with her so she wouldn’t get too lonely.  She’d left some lights on for her, and the radio was on low, so that there would at least be some voices.  The yarn lady called every night and talked to her through the answering machine.  It was good to hear her voice, but she didn’t want the yarn lady’s voice, she wanted her to come home right this very minute.  It wasn’t fair.  What kind of thankful holiday was this if you couldn’t spend it with the one person in the world that meant the most to you?  As she sat on the red blankie the yarn lady had made for her, she heard the sliding door open, and the English Lady’s voice call her name.  Clem stretched and jumped down on the floor, walking to greet her.  The English lady picked Clem up and cuddled her close.  “Oh, dear heart.  I truly know what it’s like to not have your family and loved ones with you for the holiday.  It can be so lonely and sad, but there’s always someone else there to love you if you let them.”  She held Clem and sang a little song to her while Clem purred along, although she didn’t know the words.  They sat on the sofa together for a while, cat and human, each thankful for the others presence.  


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