Recent events first.
Nine years ago, the boys were born.
Thereabouts. They were born near a woodpile in Massachusetts; when they were two months old, the two boys and their two twin brothers and mother were rescued.
We adopted them in August, 2002, when they were 5 months. The agency said they were born mid March or so. So we decided their birthday would be March 20.
Mao and Cheddar on the faux fur. Mao's shelter name was Felix; Cheddar's was Groovy. My daughter said Groovy looked 'cheesy' like Cheddar. We named the Tuxedo "Magic" because he had a 'magic zig zag on his paw,' like Harry Potter.
Magic quickly named himself 'Mao.' Mao means cat in Mandarin. He says Mao constantly. Mao lives up to his tuxedo characteristics. The original Puss N Boots was a tuxedo. they are highly intelligent and they wander. Most lost cats are Tuxedos.
We took them home in one large cat carrier, where they tucked in snug against each other. They didn't make a sound on the long drive home.
Once home, Mao decide he wasn't having any cat carrier. He made a break. We left the top loose, but the tiny Mao leaped out of the carrier and began to explore.
In a few days, he found the basement, then got lost.
Cheddar was a quiet cat, prone to rare squeaks. I got home from work and our daughter said. 'Something's up with Cheddar, He won't stop talking.' I recognized Lassie in little Cheddar. "OMG" I said. "Where's Mao?"
We realized Cheddar was telling us his brother was missing.
We searched high and low, then went to the basement. Our son was crying that Mao was lost to us forever. He's not lost forever.
He's a cat. Still, our son was crying. But lo! On a high shelf, Mao sat. He was terrified and Mao'd constantly.
Difficult to think of these boys as ever having been tiny. It's all the treats. Dry food, wet food, baby food, luncheon meat, catnip, lettuce, water, beach (heat lamp), faux fur and plenty of warm people to snuggle against.
Our daughter is home now for a few days. We might visit our son this week. Today is the first day of Spring. A brother in law of mine has a birthday today.
And twenty-six years ago today, my husband and I got engaged.
We had decided to 'get engaged' on March 20, 1985. We'd been living together for two years and dating for four years, minus a year we were in different states most of the time, finishing up academic programs.
We'd decided to go to Plum Island in Newburyport, a place we'd been to many times before. There was a secret alcove in a wooded area we liked to visit.
March 20, 1985. Snow was falling on the ground. Oh. You still want to go? my boyfriend asked. Oh, I said. It isn't a lot of snow. Let's do it. We' re not wimps. We run in the rain and snow.
Gently, but steadily the snow fell -- as if it were the last hurrah before spring swept away winter's frozen tears.
We made tuna sandwiches, bought Snapple drinks and drove to Plum Island. We found our little alcove. We fought our way through the bramble. We'd been there a few times before. We didn't know that the little alcove would soon become so overgrown that this would be our last visit.
An inch of fluffy snow covered the ground, as if to protect the crocuses underneath.
On bended knee, he took my hand in his. "Will you marry me? Will you be my wife?"
A shy smile grew on his face. His blue-green eyes were luminous. My heart skipped a beat.
We were dressed in running gear and sweaters. The temperature was about 40.
He kissed me. The snow stopped. A purple finch in a tree chirped.
Photo is of cherry blossoms, not Plum Island.