31 May 2007

Lucky Rocky

Last week Tiffany, Alex, Zoe and Bobby spent hours "rescuing" a beautiful black cat from the garage attic. Of course, he's the most lovable cat ever. Purring, rolling around on your lap to get petted and he talks! And of course the kids wanted to keep it. But, having 8 living creatures to care for already, I said "Nope." This isn't the first time I've heard, "I'll take care of it." After calling shelters, the animal control officer and vets, I told them to take him to the no kill shelter in Cumberland. A couple days later Lost Cat signs popped up at Freaky Foods and the library - love a small town, somebody who knows us called the number right away. Everyone's happy and end of story.
But wait! We get a call with chapter two: Jen, the owner, had her sister stop by the shelter to pick up the cat. They told her there that not only did they not have a black cats but nobody from Gray had dropped one off recently. And, to top it all off, she got a big lecture about cat care and she was forced to leave empty handed.
Just to make sure, Jen stopped by for the kids to give a positive ID to a photo. It was definitely Rocky and he most certainly was taken to that shelter, and the kids had filled out paperwork there - including town of Gray. We had a full house when Jen stopped by as DJ and Dale were on a Harley ride and popped in. We were incredulous and mystified. Oh, the irony of trying to rescue a cat from a shelter! Everyone agreed that she had to get past the desk lady and into the "cat rooms". Dale was advocating cat commando - just push through and grab her cat and just tell them she wasn't leaving without him, and call "Johnny Law" in case of trouble.
When Jen went the next day she posed as a cat adopter, and in the very last room of cats she embraces Rocky and says she isn't leaving without him. The shelter people appear surprised at her story and offer no explanations other than "we've never had any trouble, before."
And that's the story of Lucky Rocky. Jen said Rocky will stay home 'til he gets his new tag with his phone number on it. I kind of hope he wanders over for a visit now and again!

29 May 2007

Memorial Day:

Llilacs in bloom at the cemetery at Gray, Maine

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west, 5
And thought of him I love.

In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.

From Walt Whitman's elegy for Abraham Lincoln. "When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d"

Stranger Honored on Memorial Day

Gray, Maine sent more men to fight in the Civil War in proportion to its population than any other town in Maine.

Surrounded by flags fluttering at their tombstones, lies the body of a Confederate soldier.

Lt. Charles Colley of Gray Village went to fight for the Union. He was one of 175 men wounded in the battle at Cedar Mountain, Viriginia. Colley was removed to an Alexandria, Va medical facility where he later died. His parents, who lived in on Colley Hill, sent money for his body to be embalmed and sent home to Maine. When the coffin arrived, it wasn’t the body of their Union soldier they found, but that of a Confederate soldier. They buried the boy in the Gray Cemetery and a few weeks later, the body of Lt. Colley arrived in Gray.

The Confederate's tombstone reads, “Stranger. A soldier of the late war. Died 1862. Erected by the Ladies of Gray.”

The 15th Alabama Regiment, Confederate reenactors held ceremonies on Memorial Day at the grave of the “Stranger” in Gray Cemetery. They traveled from as far away as Massachusetts to honor the dead soldier. "His mother lost him twice," said the speaker. "Once when she sent him off to war, and again when his body was lost."

The Stranger has been featured by Charles Kurault, and in many magazine articles. It's included on the Maine Civil War Trail and people from all over stop by. When I went to the site early in the day, a medallian had been left on the tombstone reading "Sons of Confederate Veterans, Keep the Colors Flying."