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We went to buy a door, but we came home with a dog. What? Well, you'd have to know Cathy—impetuous, sweet, loving, caring, and a whole bunch of good stuff.
I met Cathy soon after arriving in the beautiful town of Belmont. She attended church two blocks from my brother's house. “Yes,” was her response to my fumbling query of, “could we go out sometime?” We did, but it wasn't the romance I was hoping for; it was much better. It became the friendship I desperately needed after my divorce and banishment from New Jersey. Said banishment was, “why don't you go south and live with your brother?” So here I was, and I made a friend.
My brother was finally finishing his apartment and clearing out his house. I was able to help him with both tasks. Two sixty-plus-year-old men clearing out a four-bedroom house. Cathy then invited me to live as a boarder in her home. That's when the dog, named Sugar, came into the picture as I proceeded to help Cathy redecorate her single-wide. Her sense of humor came through as we removed three large mirrors from one wall. So, later in the process, we discussed what to do with the wall. Maybe we could put up some mirrors, with a straight face, as many poker players wish they could muster up.
One morning, I woke up to Cathy's suggestion: we should get some goats. They were notorious for eating kudzu, which was quickly reaching its ever-invasive tentacles towards the trailer. “Sure, why not?” This was after the door dog, Sugar, who was so sweet but hard to train—or was it I who was hard to train? Regardless, the said dog had been given to a farmer shortly after her arrival.
So, we got two Billy brothers, really just kids barely showing horns. Never being much of a rancher, I learned to lasso, though none too well. I built them a pen, but they broke out, climbed over, and I tried to tether them and stake them out. They just proceeded to tie themselves in knots. Those two goats ran me ragged. Then they ran loose, and people didn't like wandering goats eating up their flowers—who knew? Not I.
We called the man we got the goats from, asking if he wanted his goats back, no charge, just come catch them. And he did, very impressively, I might add. Thinking back now, I wonder how many times this same scenario had played out over the years. Does he just keep selling the same goats over and over?
Many foibles, follies, and fun moments were part of life knowing Cathy. Unfortunately, Cathy was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. A month later, we were saying goodbye, or more like “see you in Heaven.” As sad as it was, she assured us she was ready to go home where her body would be made whole. Cathy suffered two debilitating strokes, and yet she had been strong and independent these last seven years, including getting her daughter through rehab three times.
She truly loved God and was a pleasure to be with, always. Even when she was suggesting, “this is the last item for the grocery cart,” which may have included four more things.
It's hard to lose a friend, but she would be the third best friend I would lose in the last few years. Each one special at a certain period of my life.
I carry a large love of Cathy with me each day, as well as parts of all the other friends I've been blessed to have in my sixty-plus years on this ball of tears and laughter.
Thanks for listening. God Bless.