Post 1407: in remembrance…

Andy suspects Doug is up to something. Doug is putting together things, and seems about to leave. “What’s up?”

Dougy picked up on it, too.

Water jugs??? The kitty boys are perplexed. There’s plenty of water in their fountain. What’s Doug up to?

The kitty boys run over to the door. Doug’s about to leave, and this always interests them! (Perhaps because they get to run amok and play kitty games, perhaps because they get to snoop on places they know they aren’t allowed to be….)

I left to place dahlias on the family graves. The jugs were to water the flowers at the cemetery


 The kitty boys met my Mom (Jean Thomas) when they were kittens, and she worried about Dougy because he snooped all over the room she had at the care center. She was worried he would run away! I closed the door to contain him. He has continued to be a cat that follows his nose, excited by new scents. Andy was content to snooze on Mom’s lap.

None of the rest of these departed ever met my kitty boys. All loved animals and would have been delighted with them, I think!

I wish they were here to know the kitty boys, but time has its own schedule: In remembrance of those who passed before and who shared their love of God’s creatures with me.

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Also departed, Jerry, the cocker spaniel who followed Grandpa Thomas home from his walks and whose owners recognized Jerry and George Thomas were buddies forever.  They gave Jerry to him. Grandma Thomas (Mary) let Jerry stay! Man and dog were best buddies till Jerry died.


And Laddie, Grandma McKenzie’s cocker spaniel -mutt mix, the first dog I ever knew, the dog that adopted my siblings and me and protected us when we grew up. (No photo accessible.) Laddie used to clean up milk messes and food that suddenly appeared on the floor, something that happened often enough in a house with four kids that he regularly visited at meal times. Of course!

And Peanuts Lee Thomas, my childhood dog, who was a puppy my Dad won in a pinochle game, or so the family tale goes. I suspect he just got him for me because all my siblings were graduated from high school but one, and my parents wanted me to have a companion… (I had exactly one photo of “Peanie”, as we called him, and it is missing.) He was a beautiful black dog with a white chest and something like seven white hairs in his otherwise all black plume-like tail!

And Freckles and Louie, my first two cats. As sad as it is that all these family members are gone, there is the joy of my memories of each and every one, human and animal, on this Memorial Day. That is why I left the house: To put flowers on the graves of family who helped me become the person I am. 

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  When I came home from the cemetery, Andy greeted me by the door, and Dougy came running from the front room. As I suspected (notice the strip of multi-colored fabric stretched out between them), they’d played their little self-created game while I was gone.

Life goes on.

49 thoughts on “Post 1407: in remembrance…

  1. You certainly made a full day of remembering, family, animals and fellow servicemen. My Dad served the full six years in WW II, and as children we went with him to his own ships’ memorials with his former shipmates every year, as well as on our national day – ANZAC day. I am astonished at how little younger generations know about the wars our country has fought. It is good to see interest increasing in the very young people here again.

    • ANZAC troops are well known for their valor and Americans forget that Australia and New Zealand have been a strong ally, fighting side by side with Americans forever, it seems. Here, in the USA, there is a habit of forgetting the roles our allies play and have played in foreign wars. I salute your father and his mates for their contribution to world peace and order!

    • I read where a certain person in the US Government proposed making champagne “popsickles” as a fun way to observe the holiday. It made me very sad that this person has such a limited understanding of the sacrifices in blood and life that the holiday represents and how her suggestion might offend those of us who are veterans, especially those who bled or know friends who died in war. It is incredible she made such an insensitive comment on such a solemn holiday. Champagne “popsickles”. Champagne?

    • Exactly. I know my attitude toward the usual way of observing the holiday is tedious for the hedonists and bargain hunters, but I find their observation offensive and disrespectful of the fallen.

      • Exactly, Doug. I haven’t been talking much, letting the vets do that for me. Going to the cemetery took a lot out of me and I’m having trouble finding the words I wish to say.

        • They do it best, GP.

          I have difficulty bringing up my service because I feel it is unnecessary to thank everyone for their service when the ones who sacrificed the most and are most worthy of our gratitude are those who served in foreign wars.

          I feel like a fraud to accept thanks when I truly had it made being stationed in Germany as a motion picture photographer, travelling all over that country and Europe doing what was a fun job. Mind you, I am proud of the job I did because I was pretty good at it!

          It is the proclivity of our culture to name everyone from sports stars to little kids who save a cat from a tree as heroes. In my mind, only those who survived combat deserve that name and thanks, as well as those who died in combat. Veterans Day is for people like me, though those who are veterans of foreign wars still need to be the focus of that holiday. You know, the heroes!

    • Yes, but I’ve always loved animals of all species. The main reason I have cats now is I live in a retirement community. Dogs bark and poop on people’s lawns. Cats are a bit less intrusive and are more suited by size and temperament to be inside pets. The people who live in the other half of the duplex I live in have a chihuahua that barks at me when I’m on my side! I find it irritating, though the dog (when you are in their home) is very sweet.

      Thank you. As a veteran of the US Army, Vietnam era, I have a particular view of the Memorial Day holiday. Most Americans see it as a three day mini-vacation from work or an opportunity to barbeque or to buy everything from cars to, well, just about anything at Memorial Day sales. I find the who business appalling. The holiday isn’t meant to be the first day of summer activities or an occasion to sell things at a discount, but remembrance of those who died in military service.

      I understand well you share my sense of the holiday, Michel, living as you do in Amiens and having experienced the effects of war. Some things are sacred, yet people tend to forget the sacrifices of other generations the longer in time the events are from the present.

      • I did not know you were a Vietnam veteran, Dough . I understand the Memorial is sacred as for me . I remember the war II and its bombing when I was a child and I was a officer in the Algeria War . I remember people who lost their life there.

        • Comme cela est impliqué et long, je vous ai fourni une version de traduction de Google pour le rendre moins gênant à lire!

          Non, je n’ai pas servi au Vietnam. Le gouvernement des États-Unis classifie des personnes comme moi qui ont servi dans les forces armées pendant le temps de la guerre du Vietnam, mais pas dans la guerre elle-même comme «vétérans de l’ère du Vietnam».

          La distinction est importante pour ceux qui ont servi, pour certains, parce qu’ils ont vécu la pire vie militaire qui pourrait leur donner. Je viens de servir à un moment où j’aurais pu être envoyé au Vietnam, mais ce n’était pas le cas: j’étais chanceux, mais moi, contrairement à beaucoup de ma génération, je me suis porté volontaire pour servir.

          En utilisant mon esprit et parce que j’ai beaucoup de chance, j’ai eu une excellente tâche. J’ai étudié l’allemand à l’Université du Nebraska pour mes besoins linguistiques. Lorsque j’ai parlé avec le recruteur, je me suis inscrit à l’un des trois emplois militaires possibles dans ce qu’on appelait le Programme d’entrée différée. Cela signifiait que j’étais contractuellement garanti l’un des trois emplois de l’armée américaine pour s’inscrire volontairement – dessinateur, photographe ou photographe à film – et, si l’un de ces trois emplois n’était pas disponible, je ne serais plus disponible L’obligation de servir dans l’armée parce qu’ils ne pouvaient pas respecter les termes du contrat.

          Tout est très impliqué.

          Heureusement, la première école qui a eu une ouverture parmi ceux que j’ai choisi comme mes trois choix était la photographie animée. Il s’est avéré être le meilleur des trois (quelque chose que j’ai appris après l’entrée en service).

          Je pense que j’ai étudié l’allemand et que je parle, que je lis et que je l’écris mal – Je suis américain après tout! – était encore suffisant pour m’envoyer en Allemagne, où peu de gens du service ont même parlé, lu et écrit l’allemand aussi bien que moi, le cas échéant.

          Bien que mon allemand ait amélioré pendant que là-bas, la plupart des Allemands voulaient me parler en anglais! Je devais être dans des régions éloignées de l’Allemagne pour avoir à utiliser mon mauvais allemand ou en Alsace, même à Paris, en Italie, en Autriche et en Grèce. Je dirais aussi la Suisse, car j’ai rencontré quelques voyageurs suisses de langue allemande, mais leur accent et leur vocabulaire m’ont absolument compris.

          Since this is involved and long, I’ve provided you a Google translate version to makle it less troublesome to read!

          No, I didn’t serve in Vietnam. The US Government categorizes people like me who served in the armed forces during the time frame of the Vietnam War but not in the war itself as “Vietnam Era veterans”.

          The distinction is an important one to those who served, for certain, because they experienced the worst military life could give them. I just served at a time I could have been sent to Vietnam, but wasn’t: I was fortunate, but I, unlike many of my generation, volunteered to serve.

          By using my wits and because a bunch of good luck, I got a great assignment. I studied German at the University of Nebraska for my language requirement. When I talked with the recruiter, I signed up for one of three possible military jobs in what was called the Delayed entry Program. That meant I was contracturally guaranteed one of the three jobs in the US Army for signing up voluntarily – draftsman, still photographer, or motion picture photographer – and, if one of those three jobs wasn’t available, I would be free of any further obligation to serve in the military because they couldn’t meet the terms of the contract.

          It’s all very involved.

          Fortunately, the first school that had an opening among those that I selected as my three choices was motion picture photography. It turned out to be the best one of the three (something I learned after I was in the service).

          I think the fact that I studied German and speak, read, and write it poorly – I’m American afterall! – still was sufficient to send me to Germany where few service people even spoke, read, and wrote German as well as I, if at all.

          Though my German improved while there, most Germans wanted to speak with me in English! I had to be in remote parts of Germany to have to use my lousy German or in Alsace, even Paris, Italy, Austria, and Greece. I’d say Switzerland, too, since I ran into a few German-speaking Swiss travellers, but their accent and vocabulary was totally impossible for me to understand!

          • Finally the army has been useful for you,Doug , to improve your German language and for learning the motion picture photography.
            Thanks for all of those precisions

          • A curious outcome! I also had the opportunity to learn more about other countries through direct experience with the countries and their citizens. That was a great experience for a kid from a small town in Western Nebraska who’d barely travelled outside of his own state. In fact, I’d only been to Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota by the time I joined the army.

  2. What touching stories of bonds between animals and their peeps. Lexi, too, followed her nose everywhere. All my family of origin are together in a cemetery 600 miles from me, so I depend on the caretakers to place the flowers. Have a good rest of the day.

  3. That is such a heartfelt post, Mr. Doug, & what a sweet tribute. My humans miss beloved pets from their past very much, but they will always be in their hearts, like your loved ones are in your heart. Your Andy & Dougy & me are lucky to have a home where we get so much love from our people. Mew Mew & Hugs!

  4. Beautiful post Doug! A fond remembrance of the friends and family that has passed on. It’s always wonderful to remember them and the amusing times together. Isn’t the human spirit tough?….we keep going yet we feel like our spirits are being crushed at the time of their departure.

    Have a fantabulous day my friend.


    • Thank you Jean. It’s exactly as you write it! I know that my family are the source of my positive attitude about the vicissitudes I deal with. I am very much content with my “new normal”, a fact that means I control it, not the other way around. You have a fantabulous day yourself, my friend!

  5. Sounds like a busy day and we went and placed flowers on our loved ones resting place yesterday. So nice that you have the boys to com whom to. We still miss Ali so very much. As you said though it all goes on.
    Have a good day today and we shall too.

    • The photos are from yesterday, when I put the flowers out, too.

      Yes, I miss Ali, too, since I looked forward to her photos in your blogs and on Facebook.

      Following your travails with her health and hoping against hope that her veterinarian would find the magic cure for her ill health made her passing a sad day for you, of course, but one that I cried on as well.

      She was a beautiful spirit as well as a beautiful cat. RIP Ali.

      I reposted your notice about her death at the time, and the link is below. Hard to believe it was only last August. Not enough time to soften the loss….

  6. Thank you for sharing your Memorial Day, Doug. I’m old enough now own life seems like a parade of memories of those who have gone before. There is a song by Kate Wolf I have always loved, called “The Wind Blows Wild”, that she wrote when she was dying of leukemia. It speaks of that bright parade.

    • He was a moggie as best I know. He was a five-year-old shelter cat I adopted to be a companion with Freckles. Unfortunately, Freckles died after she was spayed. I had Louie for twenty-two months before he died of lymphoma. He was a handsome, friendly kitty. While Freckles was a small kitty, Louie weighed about 10,8kg!! He was almost doglike friendly.

    • Yes, I do, too, and Peanie was a wonderful and funny (he had a sense of humor, too, I swear to it!) dog. Hugs to you, to, Phenny. Being a French dog, you know that many Americans are still with you “over there” from two tragic and brutal world wars. Today’s holiday is remembrance of those people and others who died in other wars. RIP to all who fought and died in wars.

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