Sunday, September 9, 2018

Post Script

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES."

-T.S. Eliot/The Naming of Cats

When Steve heard about yesterday's post, he asked whether I remembered to list all of Tiger's names.  (Noooo.)  So, here is a list of special names we've had for our handsome, poofball kitty:
  • Tiggy Wiggy
  • Tigrero Rochete
  • The Wiger
  • Fluffy
  • Fluffius Maximus
  • The Ayatollah of Flufferola
  • Fluffmeister General
  • Fluffernutter
As you know, I love listening to old-time country music.  This past week I came across a Carter Family song what was covered by Roseann Cash.  The song "Under the Weeping Willow " is about about a completely different situation, but the theme of loss is the same.  It's a very simple arrangement, and absolutely beautiful.

Our Tiger

Our longtime, best friend, confidant and comforter Tiger died very suddenly on April 8, 2018.  It was a terrible day that we'll never forget.  I SO wish that Robby had not been home alone when Tiger passed so very suddenly mid-afternoon.  The only solace we have is that Tiger had Robby with him all day, since Rob didn't feel well in the morning and had stayed home from school.  Our boy was comfortable and felt loved up to his last moments with us.  Alex had been working at Gerrity's but came home soon after.  We often look at his favorite spot on the couch cushion, think of him climbing up on Everyone's lap as soon as they sat down.  He absolutely adored petting from Steve, especially in his favorite position lying across his chest.  As I wrote to my friend Cindi a few weeks after he passed, I think we will always miss Tiger.

Tiger lived to be 13 1/2 years old.  We wish he could have been with us much longer, but realize particularly after he passed that he had been sick toward the end.

So, here is a the story of getting Tiger when you boys were quite young.  Our kitty Kyle (named by Alex) had sadly passed away.  Aunt Pam had recently gotten Wolfie from a breeder near Selinsgrove, and told us that there were both Siamese and Maine Coon kittens there.  Alex, in second grade, had made up his mind that he wanted an orange cat that looked like a tiger.....  so after a couple months, we took a drive down to the breeder's house.  It smelled Terribly of cat urine, as she had numerous kitties from the basement up (in cages and wandering about).  Dad stayed in the living room with 2 year-old Robby while Alex and Mom went upstairs to see kittens ready for adoption.  There were kitties all around, but Alex went straight for a large cage with 3 orange Maine Coon kittens and immediately fell in love with the most active one (jumping all over the place).  The breeder noticed that Alex was smitten and offered somewhat of a discount on her price, so after some attempts to persuade Alex to pick a Siamese we gave up and settled on Tiger.  On the way home in the kitty carrier Mom was holding, he howled for 15 minutes or so until Dad said, "well, you'd better try petting him".  Petting and soothing comments did quiet him down.  The first night at home he stayed in your room, and after throwing up just once was fine-and-dandy.

As a kitten, he had a knack for getting into trouble because he climbed on everything - including upper bunks, bureaus and piles of train boxes downstairs  :-(   He started climbing up the curtains after he was full-grown, which as far as Mom was concerned was The End....  so he had his front claws removed.  Tiger was mostly an inside cat, except for a few escapes like when he fell off the porch railing and at least twice climbed down the walnut tree into the garden.  Uncle George and Aunt Rebecca's cat Meow would come up the tree sometimes to "visit" through the sliding glass door to the porch.  Seems like Meow came by mostly out of boredom (no particular friendliness in mind), as she thoroughly enjoyed tormenting Tiger who batted and hissed at her through the glass....  she would do the same thing by climbing up the dogwood tree by Aunt Pam's porch, walking up and over the low roof to "visit" Wolfie outside her kitchen window.

Tiger came to live at Sharpe Street in January 2012.  It was a real homecoming for Mom to have our boy back; there had been a picture of him keeping her company for the past 3 years.  Steve laughed at Tiger's fluff swaying as he walked across the dining room floor.  Tiger loved to sleep at the bottom of Robby's bed, where he could look out at the hallway & down the stairs.  Every few months he had a bath at Grooming Cottage, and shaved down in the early summers (when his tail looked like a truffula tree).  He met Jean Luc on his first morning at Montgomery Ave when Tiger "sang the song of his people" in the hallway until he was allowed to come in the bedroom.  Jean Luc watched from the foot of the bed with great interest; Tiger would sometimes hiss/spit, other times instigate spats or low-speed chases, still other times enjoy grooming with our calm, agreeable gray tabbycat.  Later on when Rambo was rescued and came to us, Tiger had a somewhat testy relationship with Rambo.  We had 3 cats !!

Here is a text from I got from Aunt Pam the day of our sad loss.

"Hi Chris, I'm so sorry about tiger!  My heart aches for Robby and Alex.  He was so much more than a pet.  He was a wonderful companion, and a link to their happier childhood times.  You and Steve must be horribly upset as well.  The only consolation we can take is that it was quick for him.  I feel Awful that Robby was alone with him when it happened.  Robby has witnessed too much.  😢
Tiger was larger than life 😊 so much personality."

Tiger was larger than life.  I know he is still with us in spirit and believe that we'll all be together again some day.  In the meantime, he is probably sitting on Grandma's lap getting petted.... and alternately sitting between Grandma and Grandpa so he gets double petting.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lost at Sea

Today is Palm Sunday.  After getting home & searching on YouTube for Palm Sunday hymns, I came across this wonderful video of the Ohio State Marching Band playing the Navy Hymn "Eternal Father".  Military hymns are awesome (in the true meaning of the word, not the casual "that's awesome!" we hear too often when someone can't think of anything specific to say).  And this performance is fascinating to me because the band members actually sing the hymn themselves - so cool!!!

It makes me think about our family heritage, having Maine seafaring families including ship captains on the Rivers side (Rivers, Davis and others which I'm not remembering).  Walking through a cemetery near Port Clyde, ME, Dad and I found gravestones from these families years ago.  Sadly, we also saw many graves/memorials for young men (especially) drowned or lost at sea.  Oceans are probably the most wonderful and terrifying things we can know.

It also made me think of a ship lost during my lifetime, that had sailed out of Philadelphia's port next to Gloria Dei Church were I grew up.  You can read more about the sad story here, including some interesting theories about what happened to the ship:  The Disappearance of the SS Poet.

You'll notice the article includes a photo of a memorial placque, which is at the back of the church.  Grandad held a memorial service for the men who were lost, which was attended by family members from all over the country.  This is one of the very meaningful things Grandad did at Gloria Dei - you can read a bit more at the church website:  David Buchanan Rivers.

Well, having shared a bit of history with you I hope you will enjoy this video as much as I do !!  We need to remember to be grateful to all those families that have loved ones working on the coast or out at sea.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Exciting Times

Alex, now that 2018 is here things have been "happening" !  One not so good event over the past couple months, but MOSTLY exciting stuff.  Some recent highlights....

  1. Shortly before 2018, you turned 21.  Woohoo!   We had dinner at MizuSushi, presents, etc.  But that was only after you and Taylor you celebrated with Gage at Uncle Bucks.  I don't know too many details, and that's just as well.
  2. In January you broke your right ankle (tip of your tibia) on your first trip down the bunny slope, skiing with Taylor.  She took you to the Edwardsville urgent care clinic, then we had appointments with Dr. Hernandez who we really liked.  Fortunately, no hard cast - just crutches and a brace/boot that you could walk on before too long.  It was a simple fracture and healed quickly.  But an achy foot and no driving for (a very boring) 5 weeks or so was rough.  By the end of February, you were driving again and off for a long weekend at Slippery Rock.  You've been saying that it's very unlikely you will ever going skiing again....
  3. Then a couple days it was back to work at Gerrity's, where your boss very much wants you to continue working in the produce department.  The prior week you gave notice of resigning from Gerritys because of much upcoming travel....  but store management is willing to schedule your hours around the trips.  So no need to quit - great news!
  4. WHAT TRAVEL, you say???  Well very soon you are heading abroad for a 10 day visit with Uncle John and Aunt Fran in Qatar.  Leaving from JFK Airport in New York City, connecting in Istanbul, then on to Doha (and back).  It will be Very interesting and a wonderful opportunity to see part of the Middle East - from a geographical, political and historical perspective.  You will have much fun with Noel and Larson too.  The next special highlight is a weekend visit with Uncle Jason and Aunt Maryanne, traveling with Aunt Pam.  Good times!
  5. But really what prompted me to (finally!!) write a new post in Carroll Boys was your application to Misericordia University and, as of March 1, receiving a letter of acceptance/scholarship notification.  I am so, so proud of all the work you've done to become an honors student at LCCC, decide that you are very interested in politics and apply for the Government, Law and National Security program.  Fantastic!!  Congratulations Alexander Finley !!!
It makes me think of the fun and excitement of Wyoming Area graduation, so I've re-posted one of my favorite pictures of you in the blog header.   

There is much work to come..... and for now, let's be joyful !!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Real" County Music

I guess you both know that I've been an on-and-off country music fan.  (And I really did want a truck for a bit when you were quite young.....!)  What this has usually meant is "country pop" type artists such as the Judd's, Shania Twain, Martina McBride, etc.  Although Steve and I went to a Dolly Parton concert a couple years ago, and can verify that Dolly is a true country music icon.

As I while away time listening to music on You Tube, I've begun to appreciate old-time country music, and I'm always looking for more Johnny Cash and Carter Family songs.  I came across two tonight that are just fantastic....  so lucky you, I'm going to share them.

The first song was written by Merle Kilgore and June Carter.  It became one of Johnny Cash's best known songs, but was originally recorded by June's sister Anita Carter.  She had a compelling, spectacular voice - this rendition is just wonderful.

And this probably the sweetest love song I've ever heard, performed by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.  Theirs is a great love story; I hope very much that some day both of you will have the joy of finding your own soul mates.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Since my last post......

I updated the picture are the top of the blog to the one I've inserted below.  Steve (our extraordinarily talented, primary photographer) took it.  It was really a very innocent moment; but the cats look downright creepy.

Also, Robby you have been somewhat fixated on baby names lately.  So to add to the previous posting:
  • You like the name "Rain" for a girl, which is a very nice name.  We tried to talk you into Sleet, Fog and Hail too, but you aren't going for it.  You joked with Alex that you are also considering "Eduarda".
  • We are concerned about your latest boy's preferred boy's name , which is "Joof".  Alex is sure he would spend a lot of time fighting over it, and Steve says his nickname would be "ATM" since he would constantly lose his lunch money to his tormentors.  You did a Google search and found that there are "one or fewer" people who have this first name.  Good thing your future wife will have her own opinions.
As a funny conclusion, here's a perfect song for the wrap up the Name posting at least for now.  The comments to this video say it was recorded at a concert for prisoners in San Quentin (not in Denmark):

Friday, July 7, 2017

What's in A Name?

Here's a list of significant and not-so-significant names & related facts ......

  • Alexander the Great - namesake of our Alexander
  • Sasha Finley - Mom's nickname for Alex
  • Robby Cannonball - Mom's nickname for Robby
  • Robster - Aunt Pam's name for our Robby
  • Robinator - Steve's name for Robby
  • Spidershock79 - One of Robby's online names, the origin of which seems to be forgotten
  • Trini Bug - Katrina's (Kate's) childhood nickname
  • Stinky - Becca's childhood, and somewhat unfair, nickname
  • Korin - We are not allowed to mention the only childhood nickname I've heard of, but there's ever the question of whether to pronounce as Koor-in vs Kohr-ihn.
  • Luke - Lucy's current name on Facebook
  • Kai-ruh - Most common pronunciation of Kyra's (Keer-uh's) name
  • Noel and Larson - Most Canadian-sounding kids in Doha, and previously Houston
  • Bob and Bobby - Grandma's names for Grandpa and Dad (as a result, I insisted on calling our boy "Robby")
  • Ruthie - Grandma's favorite alternate name for Aunt Pam
  • Clyde and Chloe - Per GranNana, names that their parents almost chose for your great grandfather (Burke Rivers, her husband) and for her (Phyllis); in which case, they would never have married 
  • Burkey the Turkey - Per GranNana, your great grandfather's nickname made up by his uncle(s); its use was discontinued after he was ordained
  • Uncle John - Namesake of Edie's father, Great Uncle John McCausland (also GranNana's brother)
  • "Joseph Kerr" - Name your Great Aunt Mary Kerr would not choose for one of her sons, as a namesake of her father Joe Zeller (can you think of why?)
  • Gage - Alex's best friend, who Mom once dreamed of as "Battery" (perhaps connecting to "gauge", with car repairs in mind)
  • Lars and Olaf - Robby's friends from camp; one actual, one invented by Steve
  • The Teams (A, B, B modified, G and H teams) - Robby's school friends in groups or singular
  • Pugsley and Pubert - Rather irreverent names for certain neighbors (and a future sister would become "Wednesday")
  • Jeffy - Name of another neighbor as understood my Mom for more than 2 years (turns out his actual name is slightly different)
  • Gwendolyn Priscilla Smythe - The helpful lady who talks to us through the GPS.
  • Fluffius Maximus or Fluffius Minimus - Tiger, depending on the time of year
  • Jonathan and Potato - Alex's and Robby's names for Jean Luc
  • Bill or Fek'lhr - Names not chosen for brand new kitten Jean Luc, thanks (very much) to Kate
  • Rambo - The very unlikely name of a reticent black and white kitty
  • Deacon and Sunday - Names of Mom's childhood "church" kitties
  • Fat Albert - Steve's childhood kitty
  • Lotus Mae - Aunt Pam's childhood kitty

OK, that was fun but exhausting.  Happy Friday !!