Let’s meet for a latte?

My little Sister, Trisha found her way West.  She settled in Kelowna, British Columbia, where life is beautiful.  I don’t get to visit all that often due to the hefty distance to fly across Canada, it’s from the Atlantic to pretty much the Pacific. Trisha and I have a lot in common, from our up bringing, to the love of wine country. Trisha loves cats (a lot of cats) but she has flirted with a dog.  I love dogs and have cared for Mom’s cats. One thing we love to do, is find a time to chat over a latte!

Trisha: Hi, What’s up?  I can drive up Westside Road to the Resort to pick you up around 11.  Will you and Hubby be ready?

Mo:  Sure! But I can drive you know. Why not meet down by the Lake?

Trisha: Nadda. You don’t know how awful that road is, and you are likely to get run off the bank.

Hubby: Tell your sister she doesn’t have to do all the driving. We don’t mind.

Trisha:  Tell Hubby to keep his shorts on.  I am grown up at 51, I will pick you both up at 11.

Click.

Hubby: Why not go somewhere normal like Vernon? We can go to Kelowna tomorrow. That way we can avoid that drive down Westside!

A couple of hours later, we were all moseying down the road in Vernon.  It was July and it was hot. We found a reasonable café and we all said, “want a coffee?”  Zip- we were in the Café. When you come from the East Coast of Canada, you don’t know the majesty of trees like you do in BC. Our trees are shorter than BC’s totem poles.  BC takes every opportunity to show off the prominence of their forests.  Even with their café tables!

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Trisha: So Mo, what do you think of today’s latte?

Mo:  Slurp. Ummmm. Sweet! Its just nice to rest my feet, so the swelling goes down. How about you? Does it meet your fancy?

Trisha:  It is a nice cup, but I should of had a double shot. My back is nothing but trouble, I didn’t sleep last night.

Hubby: You have to pace yourself, Tiss. We can beat the trails and meet up later?

Trisha:  I am pretty sure that I can keep up with my big seester. (Fun snarl) She just thinks she can out walk me!

Mo: (Eye brows raised.) Slurp.

Trisha:  It’s true! I am doing fairly well post the cortisone shot.  But, I will take it easy.  How were the Kootenays?

Mo: Sis, I get how peaceful this place is.  It is like heaven on earth. But really, these forest fires. I would rather the rain, drizzle and fog.  I mean, the other morning in the Kootenays, I turned over at 7 a.m. in the morning and I started to realize it was like I was in M.A.S.H. or something. That woke me up!  I just knew a fire musta broken out close by. I timed it. I was lying in bed, catatonic! Every four minutes, a chopper flew over the house.  Every four minutes! At the time I thought it was one chopper.  That would be 1.5 minutes to fly down the hillside, one minute to dip the bucket and 1.5 minutes to fly back to the fire. Scary!

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Trisha: Okay Mo, deep breathing, remember.

Mo: (Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Focusing on the stomach not the chest. Crap I can’t figure out how to breath through my stomach! Grrrr, my lungs are behind my ribs.) Slurp. Good Latte?

Hubby: My tea’s not half bad. (rolling his eyes and shifting on his seat.)

Mo: (Fighting tears and struggling to talk) Alright, I know I am nervous.  But the Chalet was 1.5 kms from the highway, scenically nestled in the woods! IN THE WOODS DURING A FOREST FIRE! The dilemma wasn’t lost on me, you know. (Breathe, for crying out loud! You didn’t burn in the loft or anything. People think you are an idiot. BBBreeeathe.)

Hubby: Yah. Mo picked the place. She was on vrbo.com for two weeks. She was down to two spots.  She said one looked so quaint, but she decided on the one overlooking Slocan Lake. She came to the conclusion the other one was haunted.  She said it reminded her of a book she read where a person was murdered.  What was the book?

Mo: The Shack.  Thanks for reminding me.  That really helps, I’ve gotta say!

Trisha: Haha. Nice café, don’t you think?

Mo: (Glaring at Hubby. Hubby shrugs his shoulders.)

Hubby: Did you say there was Croc farm close by?

Mo: Oh God, he wants to kill me.  I am never gonna sleep as it is? (Whine.)

Trisha: Yep, Hubby.  It isn’t too far from here. I think you’d like the guy.  Your type really.  Reminds me of your next door neighbour back home.

Hubby: (LOL chokes on his tea.  Couple at the next table stares.)

Mo: Can I finish my story? (pause, looking for silent acquiescence and getting it, nods and all) Well, the Chalet has curtains everywhere upstairs except over the loft signature window.  So, as the chopper, corrections…the choppers… (looking pensively at Hubby) the choppers flew over the house, I could detect that one was red and one was blue. That was good obviously, so it was at least twice as far away as I thought.  I crept out of bed and downstairs and watched.  I kept timing the choppers. I realized there were two red ones and one blue. Much better. Hubby got up.  I suggested we pack our bags as a precaution and put them in the trunk of the car. You know he said no! (Look of righteous indignation)

Hubby: She is only mad because I was right.

Mo: I suppose you want me to be wrong?

Trisha: (Look of complete confusion)

Mo: Anyway Hubby thought we needed to walk the 20 minutes down the steep hillside to the dock for our swimming day.

Trisha: (Looking ridiculously hopeful and quite condescending) Now you would love that Mo.  I bet it reminded you of the Lake in Litchfield, Maine.

Mo: Oh yah, right! The only thing I had to worry about in Maine was the sunfish who spawned at the end of the dock and kept nipping me if I stepped off the rock in her direction!

Trisha and Hubby: (Glaring by this point and trying to force me into a happy mood)

Trisha: Time to lighten up, Big Seester! (Smile, or was it a smirk?)

Mo: Alright,  after breakfast I was better.  If the pilots knew we were there, and if the fire got bad, I figured they would send someone or maybe warn us. Sigh, we went to the dock.  It was nice, actually.

Hubby: The helicopter pilots even waved. We were fine.

Mo: Hubby’s logic was that if the fire got to the Lake, (rolling my eyes this time), we just have to jump in! Like we could just wait and do that ….

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Trisha: Mo, that couldn’t have been much of a fire, by BC standards.  Did you see anything?

Hubby: No.  We went to a great café in Silverton.  I asked the guy who runs it what he thought.  He said the fire was just across the highway and it  is well contained.  No worries. Smile Mo! (It was a demand, not sympathy)  He made you the best latte ever. The one with the bear. It went well with the bear bells you wore all the time.

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Post script: In spite of the record forest fires around Kelowna, BC, and Washington State, we are headed back next year.  I am picking the month of May! I will definitely wear my bear bells! Gotta love bears and lattes, don’t ya think?

An Open letter to Boo Boo

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Dearest Boo Boo,

You are a handsome short haired tabby cat, beloved companion of Mary, my/ our mother. It took me the better part of a decade to love you. I found you hard to connect with, you needed to do something about your breath and quite frankly, you drool.

Boo Boo, you probably could sense I didn’t particularly like you. Given your sense of smell, I suspect you already knew I was owned by Heidi, the chocolate Labrador. Heidi and I saw you as a threat. In fact Heidi was ostracized because of her apparent threat to you! Boo Boo you know I saw through that hoax.  You would run and take cover hissing at that gentle Labrador.  You know full well that you would take my sweetheart down with one swat of those sharp claws. Your childish histrionics were such a façade to keep Mom on your side! It took me a decade to understand that I would have done the same had I been a cat.

Boo Boo did you see it coming? I didn’t expect your whole world to be put on its ear either.  Your lair was pretty much unchanged until the fatal day of Mom’s fall.

All Mom needed to do was drop her car off at the garage, she did that often enough with that old clunker. It was close to your meal time and Mom needed to prepare your tilapia to go with your Fancy Feast. She was such a slave for you!  So she called the local taxi company and they sent a van to pick her up.

Now the garage was in the country and the parking area had crushed stone.  Mom was already 87 years old and Boo Boo you kept her in such good shape the lazy taxi driver presumed she was in her late 60s. But taxi drivers don’t get out of their vans to help people get in.  That courtesy is long gone.  A van is a high step off the ground and Mom couldn’t see a handle she could grab.  Boo Boo you know Mom, she was filled with personal pride. She was 87 and she should have known it was too difficult for her manage. Her attempt resulted in a bad fall on those awful crushed rocks and she sustained her fourth concussion. That lazy taxi driver didn’t even notice. He drove her home, took the fare and let her stumble up the stairs.  Didn’t he notice the blood on her head or even the blood stain on her leg?

Thank God for our sister, she was the first to arrive to Mom’s rescue.  Boo Boo you must have been stressed. I called in the doctor and he did a pretty good job.  The morphine he gave her was a little too much.  Between the concussion, the coccyx injury and the infection in her leg, she just couldn’t stay at home with you. If she only had a bungalow and lived closer to her daughters, she could have managed.

So I won Mom and you lost. It wasn’t ideal for either of us Boo Boo.  You still needed to be feed and the kitty litter changed.  You were as important to Mom as we were and Mom’s direction was firm.  We were to feed her Boo Boo at all costs. Let me tell you, for a dog lover, that commitment was onerous.

You were so sad. You seemed to think I was Heidi.  Every visit you welcomed me with a hiss.  I couldn’t pet you because you didn’t trust me. Do you remember when I would sit on the stairs and place my head down so you could eventually come and sniff my hair? After many weeks of that routine you eventually let me scratch you under your chin. You were so lonely!

Eventually that loneliness got you ill. Our sister told me to catch you and put you in the cat carrier so we could take you to the vet. By that time you trusted me!  Regrettably, it turned out you were smart.  No carrier for you and scratches for me! I was stupid, because I tried it again.  Thinking back on it, you were awfully desperate for affection or I doubt you would have let me pick you up twice.  I could not get you in that carrier.

Our sister managed you the next day. Perhaps you couldn’t fight anymore.  We met at the vet’s and you were so afraid.  You shook with fear and you looked up into my eyes.  Darn it Boo Boo, I had to fall in love with you that day! Any of my brave talk, “that leaving you in that house alone for over a year was cruel and required compassionate euthanasia’, went quickly to ether. You needed a home. I was going to find one!

You only had bad teeth. The antibiotic worked. You managed to get worms and we got rid of them.  I was beginning to think you really liked me and you were getting sick to make me swoon over you!  But you would vomit and I would get over that fantasy.

I did find you a home over Christmas. Thanks for crying for all 12 nights. It was nice to get you back! I had my short haired tabby stress ball back! But you were still alone for 23 hours a day.

Our sister found a home for you! Only six hours flying time away in Winnipeg. But it was with our niece, the cat whisperer, and her cat friend. Oh and who knew the vet had Paxil! Paxil for cats! We medicated you for a week and boy, oh boy, you were better prepared for the cat carrier. You made it to your new home and Mom and I got your letters and pictures regularly.

Boo Boo, I am sorry we didn’t get along for our first ten years.  I am glad we sort of liked each other for another two.  You were such a bad boy and girls often fall for that kind of guy. I love you and wish you well.  Mom loved you too!  She has already left us for a better place.  I know some day we can all get along together, where cats and dogs can coexist and it is peaceful and bright.  Until then my furry friend!