Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday 9

1)  Chattanooga is Tennessee's fourth largest city. Have you ever visited Tennessee? If so, where did you go and what did you see? About a year ago, I made like Paul Simon.

Since Glenn Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" was awarded the first-ever gold record, we're going to devote the next questions to your firsts.

2) What was the first award or accolade you ever won? The earliest I remember is a check from the local newspaper that I received when I was 8. They ran a "teacher of the year" contest. While my teacher didn't win, my nominating essay did. I used the money to buy a Madame Alexander doll. It meant a great deal to me when I found her among my late mother's things. My mom kept that first prize all those years!

3) We know about your blog. But which was the first social media site that you posted to? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace ...) Twitter.
4) Where did you go on your first plane ride? MDW to FLL. Midway to Fort Lauderdale. My cousin Kathy and I went down to visit my uncle, who had just moved to Lauderdale. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school.

5) Tell us about your first cell phone. I believe it was this Motorola StarTRAC. If this wasn't the first, it's the earliest one I recall. That antenna wasn't just for show.

6) Tell us about your first tattoo: Where is it on your body? Where did you have it done? What does it depict? No tattoo. I have no enthusiasm for letting a stranger inject me with ink.

7) How old were you when you had your first piercing? Immediately after I graduated from high school. Until then, my parents wouldn't allow it. I always wanted pierced ears.

8) What had you been drinking the first time you suffered a hangover? Harvey Wallbanger. I've never had another. It's funny how I blame the drink, and not my own complete lack of judgement.
9) Was your first ticket for parking or was it a moving violation? I've never had a ticket.

Is Napoleon off to Cleveland?

I've posted about Caleb, his wife, and the stray newborn kitten they rescued, Napoleon. Their story has touched me deeply. I may have said goodbye to them on Friday. At least, I hope I have.

It's complicated, but the man Caleb has been working for in Indiana -- a gentleman who runs a company that washes windows of commercial buildings -- has an opening for Caleb in the Cleveland office. A real job! It will pay enough for husband, wife and cat to move indoors to a shelter and give up living in a tent. Then, once his wife is able to stay clean and groomed and get her bearings about her, she will apply for her boards in Ohio and look for work as a hairstylist. They hope to have enough money to start the New Year in a furnished apartment in Cleveland.

They're nice and smart and they have been so loving with Napoleon. Neither of them ever lived with a cat before, but they've aced caring for this kitten. He's exceptionally chill. Almost nothing* scares him. Napoleon is so bonded to his "parents" that it doesn't occur to him that any ill could befall him. When I told them I thought it was great that they saved this kitten's life, Caleb responded that he saved theirs. They found it easy to get depressed, to get wrapped up in the sadness of days on the streets and nights in a tent by the Chicago River. But caring for this sick kitten, getting him well and giving him love, gave them "something to live for."

Over the months I've given them money -- $1's here and there and change -- and paperback books and big plastic bags to protect their clothes against the mud on rainy nights. But mostly we've enjoyed getting to know one another. I know what they like to read and how much they miss having books. They know I love cats and The Cubs (on Friday, his wife said, "I was so happy for you when they won.").

I hope they get the money together for Sunday's bus to Cleveland. They need three tickets -- they won't allow Napoleon to ride with the bags in the underbus compartment. The nights here have been getting colder and wetter and soon that tent by the Chicago River won't be comfortable or safe.

But that means we won't see one another again, and that makes me sad.

I'll be glad to be unhappy, though, if these three find themselves warm and dry and safe.

Fingers crossed,

* He doesn't like Chicago's city street sweepers.