The Fantastic Automobile

old car Ozarks

When I was young, and don’t be surprised that I can remember so very long ago, my uncle showed up one day with a Model A coupe that had a mother-in-law seat. Oh, how I yearned to ride back there. In case you never saw one, where the trunk should be it had a pull out that revealed a seat. No roof over it, just out in the open. All my uncles tended to spoil me since I was the very first niece any of them had. The eldest on both sides of my parents’ family. So I rode in that seat, long hair flying, every chance I got.

Anyway, I think of that ride so often when I’m driving and staring at the fancy cars of today. For various reasons that seat would be outlawed on our highways. Now we are seeing cars that almost drive themselves, and that is just around the corner. I hope I live to ride in one.

Makes me think back even farther into the past. Being a historian of sorts, I settled on this subject thinking of how far we’ve come in transportation. In 1876 the White River Valley Historical Quarterly published a petition titled The Wilderness Road. It asked the Honorable County court of Green County to open a road recently closed by James Driden. It had been hand written originally and many of the words were misspelled. I have the typed copy.

It seems Mr. Driden claimed that the road damaged him on the account of teamsters burning his “railes”. The petition asked “Is this alone reason enough for you to shut us out from your town where all of our wheat and produce from this county and all North Arkansas travels?”

It seems that road was traveled by from one to seventy-five wagons a day in the cotton and produce season. The petition went on to list many reasons to reopen the road. The plea ended, and I quote, “…for the sake of humanity we ask your Honor to give this road and give it immediately.”

Their reasons for asking this favor of his Honor is because there were but few fordings on the James River “that we can hold the bottoms.” I’m not sure what that means except perhaps their wagon wheels would stay on the bottom crossing the river.

What I wondered was why a private citizen would be allowed to close a road in the first place. Anyway, it made me think of those early roads in Arkansas and how difficult travel was. I’ve read that many new arrivals had to chop down trees in front of their wagon as they traveled into the Ozarks. The Boston Mountains are named that for a reason. Boston was slang for a hard way to go. Obviously Mr. Driden’s road somehow bypassed the river crossing or had a fording that would allow wagon masters to hold the bottoms. The petition was signed by 178 residents. I have no idea if their plea was honored.

My Dad was sixteen when he accompanied his Dad to Arkansas. My Granddad was a powder monkey and they were building the new highway 71 north from Mountainburg to Winslow, and of course beyond. But a powder monkey was needed to place the dynamite that blasted boulders and even bluffs from the right-away over the mountains. At 16 my Dad also worked on the building of the highway. It turned out that eventually he met my mother, was smitten, and never went back to Texas.

Here in Winslow the highway that goes west out of town climbed steeply straight up. When Model As were in use they had to back up that highway. Anyone care to guess why? The gasoline wouldn’t feed the engine going forward. In those days women were beginning to drive and none of them were strong enough to back all the way up the mountain, so a woman mayor of Winslow, Maud Duncan, saw that a new highway was built that curled up instead of climbing straight up.

I for one am glad I live now instead of back then. There were so many barriers to climb over just to get through a day.

Below is the transportation of most residents in Arkansas in the 1800s

horsedrawn dray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Playing Hide’n Seek

harried woman

Yes, this is me today. Did you ever put things away in special places so you could find them, and then lo and behold, they were never seen again. Unless of course you were looking for something else and didn’t need the first one anymore. Had given up on ever finding it? Well, that’s me today. I’m searching images in boxes, on CDs, in my computer for two or three photos, only to find others I might use one day. I stop, save each of those to a special place, knowing full well I may never see them again.

I can hear you all laughing already, shaking your heads because you either never do that or you do it too. I did however find one I looked for a few weeks ago for the blog on snakes. It’s me holding one of the reticulated pythons I wrote about then. I did not find one I was searching for that I swear I had my hands on a few weeks ago. So the search goes on.

Since I’ve vowed to write a blog every Monday from now into perpetuity I put down my search and took up the keyboard to do just that. I promised readers it would tell tales of my adventures working for a rural newspaper. Though that doesn’t sound very exciting, you’ve already learned that it was if you’ve been reading the past few posts.

Besides writing about my misadventures and adventures, I will tell stories about those of others I interviewed over the years. There’s Robert Younkin, the famous aviator, whose nephew Bobby was killed in an air show not many years ago. I spent time with his wife until we watched this airplane land on her front lawn. “There he is now,” she said. I hoped for a ride, but that didn’t happen. I did get a great interview.

Then there’s Al Houser, the first Apache baby born to the Ft. Sill Apaches after they were released from prison to live in Indian Territory. Oklahoma for those of you who might not know that. Al’s brother Al is a famous sculptor. For two hours I sat in the living room of this Apache warrior while he told me tales of his life and about how he flew night raids over Germany during WW II. Think about the irony of that for a moment folks.

As soon as I find my articles on these so I can make sure my memory is correct, I will write the full stories.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t give a crap about history or the people who lived through it. This blog is for those who do.

Because I couldn’t find the following photo when I wrote the story, if you missed it go back and read my blog about snakes. Here’s the picture my husband took of me getting acquainted. Well, he was never much of a photographer.

me and python

 

 

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Seeing is Believing – Maybe  

python-e1554750469911.jpegBecause of the ability of computers to create any image we have in our minds, we no longer believe some things we see. If our mind rebels and says no, there’s no such thing, then doubt rises and we question the images we see.The featured photo I took of my host’s wife and one of the pythons I visited in their snake house. I held one and my husband took the picture. I haven’t found it yet. Yeah sure, I know you don’t believe me.

This week in my blog I’m showing you some more pictures that link with the blogs I’ve been writing of late. You saw the sabre tooth tiger, but at the time I couldn’t find some of my collection..

A search has begun for images to accompany blogs, and here are some you missed. I’ve been busy digging through hundreds, no thousands, of photos I’ve taken over the years, many of them for the newspaper. So I hope you enjoy a look at baby pythons hatching from eggs and my vision from inside Fifi, the only B29 bomber still flying. You’ll remember I climbed up through her belly hole and took a ride that included several touch and go approaches to Drake Airfield. Last I also found a photo of America’s first space man, Joe Kittinger, which I took  while he was at Drake taking the brave up high in the sky in his biplane. You’ll recall I was one of those privileged to soar through the skies with this heroic and historic man.

Coming soon, a story of my experiences with the tigers at River Glen including the white ones which I walked among.

I hope you enjoy these and stay tuned for more.

python eggs

python eggs hatching

 

aboard B29

 

Joe Kittinger

 

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Outlaw and bandit queen produces a Pearl

Belle side saddle

Belle Starr Side Saddle

For some reason lately I’ve been fascinated by outlaws of old. I wonder at what motivated them, what, why and how they did what they did.. Probably because I live in Winslow, one that always comes to mind is Belle Starr. Not that she hasn’t already been written to death, but still here’s my take on this much publicized rough and tumble woman.

This week I have more than a good reason to publish this. I’m involved in writing a western series, a continuation of one begun by my best buddy and friend, Dusty Richards. I have added to his lineup of characters a bounty hunter and I’ve based her loosely on the Starrs in this blog. She is the daughter of a woman who ran a house with ladies of the night in Ft. Smith. You’ll see the resemblance when you read the Texas Lightning and Texas Furies, my addition to the series. So let’s go western this week and have a rip roaring time learning some little known facts about Belle and Pearl Starr.

Homer Croy, author of the Last of the Great Outlaws: The Story of Cole Younger, wrote of Belle: “She is the most famous bandit woman America has produced. She’s unbelievable, but there she is and you can’t pooh-pooh her. She is more than herself; she is an embodiment of the time and the era.”

Most of the time outlaws of yesteryear are romanticized far beyond the truth. But Croy went on to praise Edwin P. Hicks, who wrote Belle Starr and Her Pearl, which was published in 1963. A good writer friend was kind enough to give me a copy of this book he’d picked up at a used book store, and it is autographed by Hicks. Only another author could know how thrilled I am to have been the recipient of this book. Not only does it tell stories not told anywhere else, but it is chock-full of photos of the Fort Smith of Belle’s time, of Belle and her Pearl, and of Belle’s environs.

About ten years ago I wrote what I had learned about Belle and Pearl, but I didn’t have this book.  Hicks, a native of Fort Smith, dug up so much more than was ever before published about these two women, and Belle’s life as well. He interviewed people who had actually known both women, and has given me so much more fodder for another article. Where his writing is used in this story, he will receive credit.

I want to concentrate on Belle and her first love, Cole Younger, because from that union came daughter Pearl. From her youngest Myra Belle Shirley was outgoing and fearless. She was not a pretty girl, but she made up for that lack with her audacious personality. She could deal with the roughest of men, be they Quantrill’s raiders or other wild outlaws of the day. From the first day she met up with Cole Younger, who rode up to her father’s farm in Scyene, Texas with a bunch of raiders when she was a slip of a girl, she was entranced. The feeling was reciprocated, and she teased and flirted with the well known, tall and handsome bandit. The Civil War was over, and the hills were filled with outlaws, many mean and unsociable

The personable Cole remained a long while at the Shirley ranch, and of course so did his impatient brothers, Bob and Jim. Belle was the better horseback rider, Cole the better shot and they traded what they knew. Soon they were inseparable, riding the countryside together.

Hicks wrote, “The way she sat a horse, sitting primly side-saddle fascinated Cole. And Younger appreciated her spirit, she was as wild as the prairie, as wild as the winds which swept across the prairie, and the wail of the coyotes at night. She was all dash and go and a spark of flame. . .”

As was bound to happen, Belle was soon with child by this man. This shocked Bible reading Cole Younger, and he couldn’t have a pregnant woman by his side while he ran wild robbing banks, so he began to treat her like a prostitute. Early in 1867 Pearl Younger was born, and her mother loved her dearly. The baby was hers alone, and the resentment she’d felt toward Younger for his treatment of her vanished beneath the adoration she poured upon this beautiful little girl.

Unlike her mother, Pearl was a beauty. And Belle remembered only the good things about Pearl’s father. How much in love they had been . . . all the rowdy times they’d had when he’d treated her as an equal. Later she would fall back in with Cole and his ways, but she continued to be independent and took up gambling to support her Pearl. For a while she had returned to school under her father’s insistence, but the wild life was her way and she could not leave it for long. Living with the leader of the gang that had committed the first bank robbery in America must have been exciting to this girl who would rather run with the men.

Hicks wrote, “She was a mite of a girl afraid of no one wearing pants.”

Continued later will come

Belle side saddle

Belle Starr Side Saddle

the rest of the story.

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The Day I Walked With Snakes

Snakes Tigers

Small reticulated pythons A white and a natural

Snakes have always been one of my fears. If one took so much as a glance at me in the wild I just knew he was measuring me either for how fast I could run or if I would fit in his mouth. So when my boss at the Observer asked me to interview “the snake man” I wanted to crawl under the desk or plead illness. But, liking my job a lot I thought, well how bad could it be? We would look at his little pets through glass windows and then sit and drink coffee while I obtained a good interview.

Coming up with a first question wouldn’t be difficult. Why in this whole entire world would anyone, and you look like a sane man, take up with such a career as this?” Snake handling? The study of snakes? Uh oh, research needed here so:

Herpetology (from Greek ἑρπετόν herpetón, meaning “reptile” or “creeping animal”) is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians (gymnophiona)) and reptiles (includingsnakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians …

None of these critters would make good roommates , but only a few of them frighten me. Feeling I was caught up on what Mr. Snake Man did, I gave him a call. He seemed anxious to show me around and tell me about his snakes. I arrived thinking I might get through this. He and his wife lived in a beautiful log cabin snugged into a cut in ragged bluffs.

I had my pad and recorder ready and settled down in a comfortable chair. That’s when I learned the awful truth. He expected me to interact with his snakes to obtain an interview. We had to go to the snake house first. He expected me to do so. So we walked up a slight incline back of his cabin to a building tucked into the bluff.

“These are reticulated pythons,” he told me and he opened the locked door.

I hesitated and in the silence of that Ozark morning I heard something coming from inside. Something he told me were his snakes breathing. Breath coming louder than the snake’s I took a step over the threshold on trembling legs. In the sunlight from behind me I saw, coiled all around each other on shelves around the room, huge, beautiful snakes. Oh, I’d seen them in movies and on television, but for real? And hearing them, smelling them was an all new experience.

Ranging in length from 15 to 30 feet, his pythons could swallow a whole goat. I thanked goodness I was larger than a goat.

“Touch them,” he said. “They like to be touched…” Even as I reached out, he added, “…and they’re not hungry.”

So, this woman who had once beat a poor garden snake to death, who literally went hyper when seeing one, laid a shaking hand on this living, breathing python, felt its life force, looked into the eyes that regarded me as if wondering as much about me as I did about her. Her skin was cool and though it appeared scaly it felt smooth.

He lifted the head of one. “Let’s take her outside.”

That seemed impossible. Were we going to talk her into going? She was too large to pick up or drag. His wife came out as if called and to my surprise that snake began to untangle from the others when she lifted its head and she walked out into the yard with it tagging along behind until its full length was stretched out in the grass. Then she sat and it crawled over her lap and around her shoulders.

Later back in the house she showed me some newly hatched white pythons, tiny replicas of the one we’d visited with earlier except they were a beautiful gold on white. He then took me to the trailer which he took on tours to fairs and shows all over the country. The floor was covered with hundreds of snakes and I stepped inside like a pro.  They crawled over my feet and went about their business, whatever it was.

While he kept all manner of poisonous snakes he was the only one who handled them. On one of my visits he dumped a wad of cobras out in the yard and walked among them while they stood and did their weird dance. He said it was too cold for them to strike.

I wen’t several times to see “the snake man” when he’d acquire a new species but the most exciting visit came some months later when he called and said I should come out because the latest eggs were hatching and I arrived in time to watch one by one as they cut their way through the shell and poked their little heads out.

He cured me of my overall fear of snakes and he also taught me to respect those who could do me harm. Once a python swallowed his head and it took five men to pry him out. He tells the story with a great deal of humor, explaining that he handled some chickens he was going to feed them and they mistook his smell for food. I was glad he told that story long after my visit to the snake house.

 

 

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The day I flew with America’s first spaceman

Kittinger planeSeptember, 1960 America entered the space race with a fantastic catch in the sky accomplished by a new space hero. Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger jumped from an open balloon gondola at 102,800 feet above earth. This was the highest man has ever ventured into space in an unpowered flight. His falling body is thought to have broken the sound barrier. For 16 miles he plummeted from space toward earth before his chute opened. This is the longest free fall in history, truly making this man our first spaceman. Cameras in the gondola snapped some of the most exciting pictures of a man’s daring. Wish I had access to them.

Most of the public today never heard this man’s name, but I was privileged to meet him one windy summer day at Drake Field in Fayetteville when I was sent to write a story about him for the Washington County Observer. Not only did we talk he took me up into the wild blue yonder for the ride of a lifetime in his barnstorming plane. My husband told him he couldn’t scare me. But he was gentle only doing a couple of maneuvers that had my toes curled against the floor. I was fortunate that day to live the words of the poem touching the face of God with this amazing man.

He later spoke of that space experience, saying he accomplished it in a tin can with duct tape and plastic bags. Kittinger passed out during the leap, but recovered to make a stupendous landing and enter the pages of space history forever.

The highlight of his life, Joe will never forget that historical space experience. He’ll always remember that announcement, “Three minutes to jump, Joe.” He talks about it, saying “I was ready to go. For about an hour the balloon rose from 50,000 to 102,800 feet above sea level.”  At that point he was exposed to an environment that required the protection of a pressure suit and helmet. The fear of their failure was always present. If either should break death was only two minutes away.

He said, “…there in the eerie silence of space, I knew that my life depended entirely upon my equipment, my own actions, and the presence of God.”

During his military career he spent 11 months as a POW in Viet Nam and after retirement, not willing to keep his feet on the ground, he flew around the countryside giving barnstorming exhibitions and taking those brave enough to climb aboard his 1930 New Standard D-25 bi-plane high into the skies.

One morning I walked with Joe across the tarmac at Drake Field and he held onto my hand while I climbed into the nose seat of his plane. Taking pictures in those days was not so easy as aiming a cell phone, but they took the accompanying one of me aboard that plane with a sort of gripping-my- lips pose which looks a bit like I was holding back a scream. A short race along the runway, my stomach clenched and we were airborne. A shout of wild joy burst from me as we climbed into the sky. Once high above Fayetteville he rolled over onto one wing giving me an sideways look at the ground far below. A few exciting passes over the seven hills of Fayetteville and we landed. I will never forget the flight or visiting with this man who had once sailed free of the bonds of earth.

Velda in the

Austrian Felix Baumgartner broke Joe’s record in October 2012 and Kittinger was his capcom” (capsule communications chief)—mission control’s primary point of radio contact with Baumgartner throughout his ascent. Joe celebrated his 90th birthday July 27, 2018.

Read more about Kittinger’s leap from the edge of space here. https://www.history.com/news/joe-kittingers-death-defying-leap-from-the-edge-of-space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saber Toothed Cats – In the Ozarks?

saber tiger

 

When the telephone rings at a newspaper, especially a weekly rural one, it usually means someone within the readership area has something to share. What they deem newsworthy. Often it’s unusual. This particular morning it was to be something way more than  unusual, it was freaky.

At the time, the 1990s, there was a tiger haven near West Fork where cats of the wild kind were taken in for various reasons. Usually because someone had bought a cub thinking it cute till it grew up and tried to eat their hand at feeding time. Or simply was way too big to be played with nor was it cute anymore.

When I first went to work as a feature writer at the Observer I was fascinated by the large tigers living there, some were the unusual white type. I soon made friends with the owner and she began to ask for me when she had a story to share. This was often because tigers are not always predictable, and I learned that right away. But I fell in love with the large cats and I soon learned their behavior is much like the domesticated pet kitty that owns so many of us. What they do not do like our kitty is purr or meow. The domesticated feline has learned this over the centuries in order to please and communicate with us humans.

Now to the story: The phone call that morning was to tell me in an excited voice that someone had brought in a medium sized wild black cat endowed with fangs much like photos of saber toothed tigers. She said it was very wild and very ill, so if I wanted a photo of it while it was alive I needed to hurry.

At the time we had an editor who thought he had to go along on all calls unless a body was involved, at which time he quickly found something else to do, so he went along with me to view this so called saber tooth. A caveat: we seldom if ever had bodies so I had to put up with him. He could neither write, edit, or take very good pictures but he was related to someone and convinced he could.

When we arrived he raced to beat me to the small cage where the cat was being held. Because if was lying flat he insisted on raising its chin up with a forked stick for this photo which he also took. To me it made this poor creature look like he had already passed into big cat heaven, but what it does show are the fanged teeth.

No matter what experts were called none could explain this oddity except that perhaps it was either a mutant or a cross breed or a throw-back. Here’s what “Live Science” has to say about saber toothed tigers:

Saber-toothed cats apparently did not go extinct for lack of prey, contradicting a popular explanation for why they died off, fossil evidence now suggests. … However, at the end of the late Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago, these “megafauna” went extinct, a die-off called the Quaternary extinction. I’ve always wondered what we saw in that cage. This is its picture. Since all I have is a copy from the newspaper it is not of good quality since at that time we used a darkroom to prepare the photos.

Those of my readers old enough to have known Logan France of Mountainburg know of the story he told about when he was much younger and considered quite adept at lassoing from horseback. In those days circus trains often traveled on the Frisco line that ran north and south from the Arkansas River Valley to Fayetteville. He told of the time the train wrecked and he was called upon to come help round up all the wild animals that had escaped, most especially the wild cats. Because they didn’t capture them all he always claimed that was where many of our “panthers” that are spotted roaming these Ozarks came from. And he surmised that some would have come from mating with our own wild cats. To this day mountain lions are spotted occasionally just at dusk. The Observer had a standing offer to anyone who could get a good photo of one, but all we ever got were paw prints in the dust which an animal expert said were those of mountain lions.

Saber-toothed tiger Facts. Saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) is one of the most popular prehistoric mammals that once lived in North and South America. It was dominant predator on the grassland plains and open woodlands during the Pleistocene (from 2.5 million years – 10.000 years ago).

Now, no one can say they didn’t learn something from my blog this week.

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In The Air With Fifi

Continue reading

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A Tale to Treasure

————————————————We experienced a wonderful weekend with Oghma people. Some came in from out of the country. I’m impressed to see so many authors actually engrossed in their career. I don’t know of another publisher who holds retreats for its board and authors. We had a great time at Sky Vue up on the mountain only a scant four miles from my home. But I stayed there for the entire get-together. What fun to compare our work and our experiences.

Writing is an unusual and trying career with its reputation for fame and fortune, ie Stephen King. All sorts of things are imagined by the non-writing population. People lined up for books and autographs, being chased through the super market, attending fancy balls, etc. I can tell you, there is little fortune even if most of us are recognized in the small puddle where we splash out our lives. While we may be large frogs in that small puddle, we aren’t known in the next puddle over. Yet I can’t think of another career that would please me more, and I have had a few before settling on writing

Take those 20 years I worked and wrote for newspapers. Probably the next best career. Though it encompassed writing, there is also the other aspect. For four years I served as city editor for one of the newspapers, which is a trying job. One edit I missed and became famous for was one I had written in a story about Doug Jones, the famous Arkansas author. I said his latest novel was a adventuresome story contained within 85 thousand pages. It should have read of course 85 thousand words. That was probably the worst mistake I let slip through while editing. And it was my own work. Not unusual, as we writers can seldom edit our own work without making mistakes.

Of the snakes I handled and the tigers I petted, and the airplanes I flew in, including the well-known B 29 bomber Fifi, I cannot choose my favorite experience. I loved them all. Now, in the winter of my life I have tons of memories to look back on. The people I met over those years remain with me in my memories and always will. Many of them remember me as well when I meet them on the street.

You would think making memories would have ended for me as I pass the aged of 80, but because I can’t stop writing, I continue to make them, thanks to the people who give me a hand. My next experience will be Ozark Creative Writers in Eureka Springs where I’ll make more memories. This will be my 32nd year to attend this conference. Tess Gerritsen will be there. Will she remember meeting me at a huge writers book signing back in the 90s? Perhaps not, for it was my first one as a fledgling writer for Penguin, but I remember her and I’m sure we’ll find something to talk about that will stick in my mind.

No scrapbook is large enough to hold all the marvelous experiences I recall so vividly, but I don’t need one, for each is pictured vividly in my thoughts, as if I were experiencing it at the moment. Names I have trouble remembering, but lovely, sad, happy, concerned, compassionate faces remain within those paintings forever contained in my mind. Many of them have gone on. I expect I’ll meet them again, being a firm believer in the continuation of our spirit. I look forward to it. We will have a lot to talk about. This gorgeous animal and I locked spirits. What exquisite images in her mind

white tiger (2)

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That Cat Won’t Hunt

Bobbi is 12 years old. My daughter brought her to me as a feral kitten, abandoned or lost from her mother. We could only guess at her age, but she barely had her eyes open. My daughter warned me that she might not bond with me but when she handed this tiny warm baby to me I held her over my heart and she lay there for a moment, mewling softly, then she crawled up around my neck and began to suck on my ear lobe.

I’m telling this story for several reasons, the most important is that two members of my writer’s group recently lost loved furry companions and it made me worry about what will happen to Bobbi if I pass on before she does. I’m 82 and tend to worry about things like that. My sweet daughter has five cats, I believe at last count. What if Bobbi can’t fit in with them should I go first? We discussed this fear at our group meeting Saturday and I said it would be best if she goes on before me even though I would grieve painfully.

Then today I sat in my living room and listened to a darling little bird who bounced around on the rail of my deck singing the most beautiful song. I laughed while I watched and enjoyed listening to her song. Surely she must know there is no danger for her here even though a large orange and yellow bob tailed cat often lies on that same deck.

So many people consider cats evil hunters, but this is not my Bobbi. She has never killed anything, has no interest in chasing mice, birds, or any other animal. I have no idea why, that’s just the way she is. I’ve seen it for myself. Once a small mouse got in my house and I think something might have been wrong with it, but it sat in the center of my dining room, tiny black eyes in a panic, but frozen in place. Bobbi came through, stopped, went over to this mouse and patted it on the back, then turned and strolled away as if it were beneath her to kill it. Often she lays in the yard while squirrels dart about teasing her, daring her to chase them and she has no interest. I swear this is true. She’s also smart. She has learned to open the screen doors from the inside and outside and comes and goes as she pleases during the summer months.

Another strange thing is we are convinced she is part bobcat. Her father passed through the area during the time when she would have been conceived and my husband got a good look at him. He was huge and definitely part bobcat, and a few months later a nest of kittens, several bob tailed, turned up in the wilds of our used-to-be farm. Ten acres located in the heart of the Arkansas Ozarks. Luckily for us our daughter was able to rescue one who is very smart and does not like cameras. There are other humorous stories about Bobbi, which I will share occasionally.

It’s been very difficult for me to get back to blogging after a full year of fighting health problems, doctor visits, tests and rehab stole time from what I wanted to do. Though I am so grateful to all those people who helped me. I don’t want to write about that. There is still much joy in my life that is well worth sharing, and so I thought I would begin my return to regular blogging by telling this one. I know there are many cat lovers out there, and also some who do not love them. Perhaps you’d like to share your cat stories, funny, strange, good, bad, and ugly.

Oh, here comes Bobbi to tell me it’s time to take a break.

From Camera 0317 019_NEW

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