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1980s Animals Blogging Holidays Home Life Weather

The Legend Of Fluffy The Manx Cat

Today it’s a very special edition of #RetroFriday. It’s the return of a Christmas classic that’s been featured on my blog before in various forms. It’s the story of the greatest Christmas gift ever – the arrival of a cat.

It started out as a morning like any other, but just a few hours later it would become a morning that forever changed the lives of me and my little brother, and our Mom and Dad.

Exactly 39 years ago this morning on Friday December 23RD 1983 me (age 16½) and my little brother (age 8½) looked out our living room window at the snow and the ice on the ground of our backyard. It was a bitter cold morning in McLean Virginia 2 days before Christmas, and we were happy to be warm and comfortable inside.

But there was a creature stirring outside that was not warm and comfortable. It was a lonely young cat with no tail that was wandering around aimlessly on our ice-covered backyard patio deck, and it was shivering in misery. Me and my brother decided rather quickly that it did not belong in the harsh elements of the outside at that moment, so we opened the door and she walked right in to our more sheltered screened-in ‘Florida Room’.

We gave her some milk to drink. She loved us for it. We gave her some love. We heard a strange sound coming from her that we hadn’t heard before. It was the friendly and inviting sound of her purring. We let her in to our warm and comfortable home. She never looked back. In fact she refused to leave after that. We pretty much named her ‘Fluffy’ that day, and she instantly became an important part of our family – the missing link if you will.

That’s a young me in 1985 holding a young Fluffy. I was about 60 pounds lighter than I am today.

She was the 5TH member of our family, and she was the start of nearly 30 years of felines in our family. Fluffy loved us all, but she clearly adored me the most. During her younger years she anxiously awaited me to open the basement / laundry room door for her first thing in the morning so that she could run (and beat me) to my bedroom upstairs for a long round of petting and purring. During her later years in Jacksonville Florida when she was slowly dying she literally came back to life over and over again and jumped and loved on me and ran upstairs to my parents’ guest room whenever I arrived for a short visit. She lived a long, happy, and healthy life (until April of 2001), and she provided lots of love to our family starting with that very first Christmas of 1983.

There have been other cats and dogs within our family over the years since then. Fluffy eventually gained a feline roommate with Barney (also known as “the cat that never liked me”). After Fluffy’s death Barney eventually gained his own feline roommate with Pumpkin. Boots was my own loving cat and housemate for 12½ years here in Homestead Florida until his (expected) death on May 17TH 2007. He was the coolest cat that ever lived.

But it all started with “Fluffy The Manx Cat”. She was the Matriarch of all of our family pets (to this day). She was the Queen of her castle. She was the stability of our family. She was our family’s common denominator. She was the center of attention. She was the most lovable cat that ever lived.

Fun Fact: This WordPress blog is a spinoff of my former hit music based massivesmash.com web site that I created in 1995. That web site grew out of a previous web site known as “MANx On The Net”. That first web site was a spinoff of “MANx Cat BBS” (1993-1997) – a dial-up bulletin board system run via MS-DOS typical of its time that was inspired by and named after Fluffy.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Animals Blogging Career Driving Food Geography Holidays Home Military Travel

Stateside

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about my arrival in the south of England 37 years ago to the date (November 10TH 1985). Today is the 35TH anniversary to the date (November 17TH 1987) that I left England behind and arrived back home stateside.

I actually don’t remember much about that day. My memories are quite vivid from the Sunday morning 2 years and 1 week earlier when I arrived in England, but when I left England – not so much.

A friend of mine drove me from our (military) dormitory over to Billeting / Lodging at dawn, and there I got on a shuttle that I think took me all the way to the airport. I don’t think I did the whole British Rail trek going to London (like I had when I arrived). I got on my flight at Heathrow, and I was back in the Washington D.C. area a few hours later that afternoon. (I got those 5 hours back that I lost 2 years and 1 week earlier.)

My Dad picked me up at the airport, and we went home, and my cat – Fluffy – went ballistic with joy and happiness. It was a wonderful stateside homecoming.

I got to hang out with my family – dad, mom, brother, and cat – for almost 2 weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday week. Again – I don’t remember much from those 13 days, but I know that it was a good time because I was back home with my family again.

I’m with my family right now – mom, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and dog. We’re continuing our annual November tradition that goes back almost 20 years – #ThanksChristmasGiving – or #Thanksmas. It’s where we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas combined in a single week. The Christmas tree and decorations have been up for a couple of weeks, and we are actively engaging in Christmas shopping and gift-wrapping. We’ll open all of the presents by the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving morning. Shortly after that the entire house will be filled with the aroma of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Next #TravelThursday is in 2 weeks – when I celebrate my 35TH anniversary here in Homestead Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Animals Blogging Nature Photography Travel

Zoo Miami

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. A couple of weeks ago on the Friday leading-in to Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S.A. I visited the Miami-Dade Zoological Park And Gardens – also known as Zoo Miami. It’s about 18 miles from my home.

This was my 6TH visit over the past 11 years – but first in over 5 years. I usually like to visit once every 2 or 3 years on a cool day during the wintertime (dry season). On this occasion I visited on a sunny and hot day at the end of May (rainy season). I actually took advantage of free admission for all military and veterans during the holiday weekend.

Zoo Miami is huge. It sits on about 750 acres of land – of which less than half is actually developed for animals, employees, and visitors. Over 3,000 animals and 500 species call Zoo Miami home.

This place holds a very special place in my heart, as it’s the first zoo that I ever visited in my life – as a 20 or 21-year-old in 1988. (I never got the zoo experience as a kid.) So I consider it my “childhood” zoo that I’ve now been visiting every few years for the past 34 years. I usually spend a little over 3 hours with each visit. I also don’t see everything during those 3 hours, so I try to visit the exhibits that are new, or that I didn’t get to experience on my previous visit.

On this Friday before the Memorial Day holiday the zoo was absolutely packed with hundreds (maybe over a thousand) elementary, middle, and high school students – roaming in packs large and small – counterclockwise around the park (4 miles around). So I followed the few adults and families that traversed the park clockwise – to mostly avoid the packs of school kids.

That would’ve been nice to visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C. as a school kid in the area back in the late-1970s and early-1980s.

I took 40 photos during my 3-hour trip around the zoo. Here are a few:

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit my future retirement area of Highlands County Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Animals Bible Christian God Home Ministry Scripture

My Little Buddy Boots

Boots On Guest Bed

This was my little feline buddy ‘Boots’. I met him in 1994, and we officially became housemates on New Year’s Day 1995. Over the years Boots developed my personality in a cat’s body. He was the smartest cat I’ve ever met. I talked to him, and he understood me, and he responded to me.

Boots’ favorite hobbies included greeting me at the front door all the time, following me everywhere I went, watching my every move, eating with me, sleeping with me, and (for fun) pushing geckos off the back porch screen in order to “save my life”. If Boots saw a gecko climbing on the outside of the screen it would only take him mere seconds to jump up and push that gecko off the screen and tumbling 15 feet to the ground below. Once he did that he’d look back at me for my instant approval (which I always granted).

Boots was with me for 12½ years – the toughest 12½ years of my adult life. Exactly 15 years ago this week on May 16TH 2007 was a horrible night for Boots and I. He was in agonizing pain (due to the effects of various diseases), and he could no longer hide it. He was screaming all night long. He could no longer walk. He lost the ability to purr. I knew that was his last night of life.

The next morning I made the ultimate decision to put him to sleep to end his terminal pain and suffering that he was enduring. I was with him at the very end at the animal hospital, and he meowed at me one last time as if to thank me for loving him for all of those years. His eyes slowly closed after that, and I cried.

His doctor said it was my final good deed for him, and that he probably lived much longer than he should have – due to the love that I provided to him over the years.

Boots On The Couch
Psalm 34-18

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp