Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Let There Be Light

Spirits have different ways of letting their loved ones know they're okay once they've passed on. My family and close friends are into lighting. It all started after the passing of my brothers, Jimmy and Larry. My older brother, Larry, died from a heart attack in the late nineteen-eighties. Jimmy died in a car wreck in 1999. A year after his death, I began to hear from both of them. Whenever I mentioned my brothers by name, the light fixture in my living room would flicker off an on. It happened very time I mentioned Larry or Jimmy, or both of them in conjunction. Jimmy was also into television, much to my chagrin. I would be watching an old black and white movie on Turner Classics and Jimmy would switch the channel to "Sanford and Sons," one of his favorite TV shows. He did this at least four or five times in a row. Finally, I had enough and told him just that--"enough is enough." He quit switching the channels, but that didn't stop him from turning off the lights whenever his name was mentioned.

Then mama got into the act. It happened the day after she died. I was talking to my best friend and, naturally, mama was the topic of conversation. Suddenly, the light flickered off and on. I told my friend what had just happened and reminded her that the lights always flickered whenever I mentioned my brothers. We laughingly agreed that this would be our method of  contact. Whoever went first would say "hi" by way of Thomas Edison. Even though we made light of it, we were very serious. You see, my friend had lung cancer and was in remission at the time. Three months later she was gone.

The day of her memorial service, my friend contacted me. I was eating dinner with her daughter and several other family members, Suddenly, the chandelier over the dining room table very slowly flickered off and on. This happened several times. I asked the hostess if this had happened before. She said no. I knew in an instant my friend was saying hello. Some people may be frightened by these happenings. Not me! It's just people I love caring enough to let me know they're still around an everything is okay.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Cat Mama Shared Bacon With

I had a female cat named Hardy; funny name for a female, especially after she had her first litter of kittens. And what a litter they were, five beautiful tom-cats. There was one in particular that was extremely beautiful or handsome, if you prefer. His name was Rip Van Winkle, shortened to Riptoe.

He was part-Persian, black and white with a black body and white toes. That fluffy tail of his was always in the air, proudly waving. Arrogant he was and very mischievous. But you couldn't help but enjoy watching that crazy cat. Our neighbors had a canary whose cage was next to a window. That window had a screen on it. Riptoe would jump on that screen and hang there, spread-eagle until he fell off. Then he would jump on that screen and do it all over again. This would go on for hours. It's a miracle that poor bird didn't fall dead from fright or have a nervous breakdown. And there was my goldfish, Goldie. When I wasn't looking, Riptoe would stick his paw into the goldfish bowl and try to catch himself a fish. No matter how I tried to break him of his nasty habits, I couldn't. Despite that cat's sneaking behavior, no fish or bird lost one single fin or feather, thank goodness!

My mother loved that cat, despite his outrageous and antisocial behavior. And, of course, she was Riptoe's favorite human. He consistently brought her gifts like dead snakes and lizards, you name it. Unfortunately, Mama didn't appreciate his efforts. He was very offended when Mama screamed in fright at his gifts. Riptoe couldn't understand why she didn't appreciate his little tokens of affection. but he always forgave her. Each morning, Riptoe sat on the front porch waiting for Mama. Every morning, Mama had breakfast in the little den next to the master bedroom. And she would make sure there were at least three or four strips of bacon on her plate. My mama never failed to share that bacon with Riptoe. While enjoying their meal together, Mama would talk to that cat, and he seemed to listen. This ritual between Riptoe and Mama continued throughout that feisty cat's life.