The Legend Of Fluffy The Manx Cat

Merry Christmas Eve to all of my friends all around the world. I wish you God’s abundant love and everlasting peace on this day and on every day.

Today I’m bringing back 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 37 years ago yesterday 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 typical of its time that was inspired by and named after Fluffy.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Shingles

About 4 weeks ago I got my first flu shot in about 28 years. My last flu shot was done during my final 6 months on Active Duty in the U.S. Military. Since then I’d decided not to get an annual flu shot, as I’d only experienced a couple of flus during my entire adult life. Of course this year COVID changed everything, and I decided to get a flu shot.

When I arrived at my local pharmacy for my free flu shot (actually they gave me $10 to get it) – the pharmacist asked me if I had received the Shingles vaccine. I had not, but as a 53-year-old watching all of those television commercials on the Shingles vaccine (some of them amusing) I had been contemplating it for a few years.

So before I got my free flu shot in my right arm I got my free Shingles (Shingrix) vaccine in my left arm. I walked out completely vaccinated-up. Surely there would be no side effects …

The listed side effects for the Shingles vaccine are as follows: “a sore arm with mild or moderate pain”, “redness and swelling at the site of the injection”, “tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea”. (These side effects affect more than half of the people who receive the vaccine.)

The listed side effects for the Influenza vaccine are as follows: “soreness, redness, and swelling where shot is given, fever, muscle aches, and headache”.

So I got the double-shot of vaccines late on a Friday morning, and by that afternoon I got the sore arm with mild to moderate pain. No redness. No swelling. I got tired. I had muscle pain. I got a mild headache. By that night I was shivering. It was generally a sleepless night. (I never got the stomach pain or nausea.) The side effects continued all day on Saturday into Saturday night. I actually slept really good on Saturday night into Sunday morning. When I awoke all of the side effects had subsided, and in fact I was no longer shivering – but sweating. The sweating continued for a few hours, and then it too was gone. I had about 48 hours of side effects, and then I was back to normal.

I’ll take those side effects over getting Shingles over the next several decades or the flu this season. The Shingles vaccine is actually done in two doses. My 2ND dose will be in February.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries