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Celebrating a Life

When I was two years old,
Getting an eye operation.
You kept your promise
And never left my side.
Mrs. Cattey's second grade class.
"She has x-ray vision!"
Summoning the children in from recess
With her cowbell.
Definitely special awareness.
If I misbehaved at school,
She knew about it
Before I got home.
And a commanding voice.
When she calls, "Bill!"
Both her brother and I jump.
Archery, deer hunting, camping.
Though as often as possible
With the comforts of home.
Did you know she had a pistol permit?
Dad was late for everything
Always with a project that took too long.
But mom always, patiently waited
And read her book.
Her father took care of Thanksgiving
But Christmas day was mom's event.
Especially the year we borrowed
Two cafeteria tables to seat the whole crowd.
Much later, she taught me how to cook a Turkey perfectly.
And speaking of Christmas,
She had the gift of gift choosing.
For holidays, special days, and any old days.
"I was in the store and it spoke to me."
A theme and variations.
Eating in the best places.
The menus quickly memorized
And turning into recommendations
Of place and dish to all.
Even in rehab after surgery,
"But how's the food?"
To please dad,
She got his mom to teach her
All his favorite dishes.
Mom's spaghetti sauce,
A whole roaster full,
Was the best!
Our first microwave oven:
"The instructions say you can't cook an egg in the shell!"
"I can so cook an egg..."
Her purse.
I couldn't budge it.
Held everything anyone might need.
Perseus had nothing on her!
Other magical powers:
She always knew what time it was.
As a kid that annoyed me,
But I inherited that one.
She always managed
To hear the one bit of the weather report
That came true.
You pooh poohed her umbrella recommendation
At your peril!
Cats, cats, everywhere cats.
For a time, she took care of three generations,
Then various strays.
Remember when "Byron the lyron"
Finally came in out of the cold?
Before, during, and after the live ones
She had all things cats in theme and decoration.
Books books all the time books!
Mom could teach Evelyn Wood about speed reading!
For my Eagle Scout Service Project
We held a book sale to benefit a local charity.
Guess where most of the stock came from?
While I was away at school
Dad helped her make her way through
Breast cancer survival.
Retirement turned into new adventures.
Travels with dad in the RV.
Dollywood was a favorite.
When dad passed, a new adventure,
Presiding over the clean-out and cleanup
Of dad's hoard.
Ever supportive, ever patient,
Working together with family and friends.
"How ever did the job get so big?"
And then life on her own.
Ably assisted by Chris
Who made sure all was well
With the household and with mom.
Keeping mom active,
Keeping holidays at home special,
Keeping a watchful eye.
Mom kept on.
Attentive to the nieces and nephews.
Afternoon teas with friends.
Many fine lunches and dinners over time!
Holidays a hundred miles north
With her brother or me
Depending on the season.
Such wonderful times!
The beach in Hull,
St. Patrick's day!
We always wanted her on our team for trivia!
After a big health hiccup,
(We nearly lost her then.)
An extended stay with me
While Chris supervised
A major rehab of her house.
Slowly, old age,
The cruel joke played on those who've paid their dues
Came on.
Always giving,
Always caring,
Always reading,
She kept on, with all of us in her heart.
As we shall keep on
With her in our hearts.

4 November 2022

by Bill Cattey