2021: I – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…
I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.
I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!
I… I Have a Cat named Boo
Boo sitting on his perch Mama made for him at the window… whatever Boo wanted… Boo got!
Mama met “Boo” in 2007 after her cat, Blackie, died suddenly. A woman at the senior center had found him in her yard one morning crying… and knew exactly who would give him a home… and she was right! He became so attached to mama… following every step she took. He loved to sleep right alongside of her… often even under the covers… and whenever she’d say his name, the tail would start flopping. Everyone knew who “Boo” was, because he was all mama talked about… he was her lifeline! It was funny whenever she ended up in the ER for some reason… they all heard about Boo… and she’d tell them that she had to hurry home to see Boo… he became quite famous and well known through the years!
When we first saw Boo, he was the tiniest little kitten I’d ever seen… I think he was only like 5 weeks old… but super energetic… running all over the house. Melissa fell in love with him immediately and really wanted to bring him home… but we already had two cats at home… so Boo stayed with Mama. We never had a cat when I was little, only our chihuahua, Teddy Bear, but there were plenty of cats at my granddaddy McKinley’s farm… they were outside feral cats. He kept them there to control rodents around the farm… they weren’t for pets, although I spent my fair share of chasing them down.
Boo meets purse….
Boo quickly became the hit of our vacation… I’m surprised Melissa didn’t try and take him everywhere we went as he fit perfect in her purse! He loved being the center of attention! While he was super tiny in size… he acted more like an older cat… he wasn’t shy!
When Mama moved back to the farm after her divorce, she somehow acquired her first cat named Buffy… but I never knew how or even why she had gotten her as we never had a cat when I was growing up… and since Buffy, she’s always had a cat. It was Blackie next, and then Boo. All her cats are buried in her gardens except for Boo… he was cremated and his ashes were put with mama’s… that was her wish… to be reunited with him.
Mama fell in love with this in a store… reminding her of Boo!
A few remembrances from nightly phone calls…
“About 3 p.m. today Boo went crazy running all around like a mad cat. He was running like he was spooked – even trying to climb the window by the table and then running under the table. I finally got him calmed down. Maybe he saw a ghost!!! Even his tail was quivering – it’s always hard and stiff. He gets these spells sometimes, then he’ll get under me and get as close as possible… or sit on me and make biscuits with his paws.” Mama always called it “making biscuits” when Boo would sit on her and push and pull his paws on her like he was kneading.
“Today me and Boo slept all day – wasn’t anything on TV to watch. I want to come back in my next life as a black cat, preferably a black panther. I’d like to climb up on buildings and jump down on people; I guess Boo will have to teach me how to snarl! What would people say if I dressed up as a black cat at nighttime and went walking around!” Mama was funny on many of our phone calls… maybe her and Boo are prowling around the farm now!
“Did I tell you that Boo has a little friend? There’s a little grey squirrel that comes up to the window in the bedroom… he sits outside the window, on the ledge. There is a flower pot on a stand and he come up to sit and look in. Boo goes all to pieces – trying to climb up the window and crying. I don’t know what he thinks he could with that squirrel if he caught him.”
Mama told me today about the antibiotic pills Boo has to take and how hard it is for her to give them to him. She tried putting them in his food, but he wasn’t eating it, and now she can’t get him to take them at all. Then she began telling me… “I could never give you pills when you were small either. Willie Mae never had any trouble giving Pat and Karen their medicine, but I could never get you to swallow pills by putting them in your mouth. The only way I made you take pills was to sit you up on a high counter in the kitchen and tell you that if you didn’t take your pills, I was going to leave you sitting there. You didn’t like heights, and I guess you believed me, because you quickly opened your mouth like a little bird – and down they’d go. I don’t know why I had such a hard time with you; I’ve never been able to even give any of my other cats pills either.” Whenever we chatted… one thing would lead somewhere and I’d hear stories that I never heard before… that was why I journaled most of our conversations. Whenever I read them now, I hear her telling those tales… she was a great storyteller, especially the Clyde the alligator story… check it out over HERE.
Wherever Mama laid… Boo was going to lay on her. He would never come to me… I was only lucky enough to get a quick sniff as he walked by. He was definitely a one-woman cat! He never even gave hubby even a sniff… mama always said he didn’t like men, so guess it was true!
If the living room door was open… Boo was right there enjoying the air… that was his spot! Mama would always tell us, “watch out for Boo, don’t let him out.” She never forgot her worrying about Boo getting out… saying, “he doesn’t know about outside, even though he wants to get out.” She was so worried he’d get out and get hit in the street. There were a few times when he did escape, but it was never on our watch. She’d call me up all upset that Boo got out and she couldn’t get him back in. I often worried about her being outside in her later years as she tried to run him down. She always managed to get him back in though, but sometimes it left her quite exasperated. There were many times I’d call the neighbor to ask if they’d go over to help or check on her. Sometimes Boo gave me more worries than worrying about Mama… she would have had a total meltdown if that cat had gotten killed in the street. Boo was her baby and kept her company… she couldn’t have lived without him… he was her security blanket!
I can still hear her saying… “Boo loves his Mama.”
I placed cameras in mama’s house in the past few years so I could talk to her if needed, or see if she fell… as she would have nothing to do with one of the life alert necklaces… saying, “those are for old people“… she was funny… and 90 at that time! Mama was determined in her later years to keep all her “stuff”… on the bed… at arm’s reach. Anytime I’d try to straighten up, she’d fuss saying, “there’s no one here but me, who cares.” There was no fighting her on change… and I’ll probably be the same way!
Mama certainly spoiled Boo through the years… like letting him drink water from the bathroom sink… leaving it running slowly during the day. Whenever I was there, I’d always turn it off and give him a bowl of water, telling her… “your going to have a big water bill.” Her reply was always, “I don’t care, he only will drink from the sink.” It was always… All about Boo, and what he wanted!
Whenever mama wasn’t home… Boo always watched for her!
Thank You “Boo” for keeping mama safe for over 14 years… now you two are once again roaming free together.
My previous years of A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
- 2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
- 2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
- 2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
- 2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!
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