September of 2001 was a bad month for everyone. But along with 9/11, we were dealing with the death of my husband’s grandmother and with my parents moving to Arizona. It was not a good month. But after my parents moved, I was tying up some loose ends at their house (this was 19 years ago; I think it was a garage sale but who knows) and there were two tiny orange kittens running around outside. I played with them and watched to see if anyone came to claim them, but saw no sign of it. So I did what any crazy animal lover would do, and took them home with me.
We already had two cats, so the husband wasn’t thrilled, but he went along with it. I named one Thumb, for the extra digit on one paw, and the other Freckle, for the freckle on one paw. Sadly, Thumb had some health problems and didn’t make it through the night. But Freckle thrived and settled into our family.
This was Christmas of 2001, and man alive, look at those three babies! But don’t let that cute little photo fool you — Freckle was the orneriest cat I’ve ever had, always getting into things and knocking things off tables and desks. I loved him but to be honest, he drove me nuts. A few months later, my parents came for a visit and this happened:
My dad had recently lost his previous cat, and he and Freckle bonded. I confess, I was more than happy to send Freckle back to Arizona with my parents. And Freckle lived out there for 11 years, coexisting with their dog and getting into all kinds of trouble. After Dad died in 2012, Freckle moved back here with my mom and tolerated her new cat and all the new children petting him and squeezing him.
Today I had to take Freckle to the vet for the final goodbye. He was 19 years old, wheezing all the time, down to skin and bones. Just like it often is, we knew it was the right time but it still sucked. Thanks to covid, I didn’t get to go inside, but the vet came out to the parking lot to give him the sedative so I could hold him while he fell asleep. It felt right, me being the one to take him. We got to come full circle. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.