Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Animal Funerals

Sunday, our grown children threw a Pool & Pizza Party for me at Jennifer’s house.

As we splashed and floated around on water toys, I talked about vision problems and dog care with Pat; prescriptions and landscaping with Jennifer; computers and horseshoe crabs with Donald; books and hotel accommodations with Eve; and WDOs (wood destroying organisms) and real estate with Helen.

No word from either Fred or John today.

This was the first time I’ve seen Patricia, our youngest, since she began her new job in a medical lab where she tests bio-hazardous materials. She told me that when she runs the tests, especially those for life-threatening conditions such as AIDS, she often prays for the person whose samples she is testing.

This really pleased me.

She wears a white lab coat at work and we all teased her about staring in the next Dr. Frankenstein movie.

As soon as Ginny and I returned from the Father’s Day get-together, as soon as we pulled in the driveway, our neighbor Dennis ran over to get me. He was all excited because of a snake in his front yard.

Dennis is not a Florida native and did not recognize this sort of snake.

He feared it might be poisonous.

It wasn’t.

It was a common red rat snake, an animal found all over north Florida. It eats mice, lizards, etc. It’s harmless, although as a protective mechanism it will coil, hiss and strike imitating its meaner cousins..

This clever snake did not want to be caught so it wove in and out of the chain link fence to avoid capture but once I got my hands on it on one side of the fence, Dennis unwound it from the other side.

Before I released it in a flower bed at our house, Ginny snapped this photo of me and the unhappy snake.

This event seems an appropriate ending to my Father’s Day celebration because as the family paddled in Jennifer’s landscaped pool and the kids reminisced about their raising, the conversation turned to pets we had over the years.

Dogs included Sheba, Skunk, Cleo, Polycarp, Daisy, Chicklet, Becky, et al.

Cats included Jessica, Diamond, Sin (as in the phrase “Ugly as…”), Martin, Tiger, Snowball, et al. — Guess which cat I named.

Other creatures included hamsters; mice; goldfish; a rabbit named Chloe; a flying squirrel named Secret; and, most recently, Matilda the Duck. – a parade of animals have passed through our lives and many of them died after years of tender loving care.

The kids reminisced about how I buried these animals, including some stray dog that got hit by a car as Donald and Eve walked home from elementary school. They saw it happen and ran to get me to bury it. I carried a shovel down and buried that dog in Panama Park beside the road.

Were archaeologists to excavate our house in distant future years, they’d say, “To protect themselves from evil spirits, these primitive people sacrificed small animals and buried them in a circle all around their home”.

Of course not all the animals got buried. The kids remembered the spectacular Viking Funeral we once gave a goldfish. I made a paper boat with sails. We placed the dead goldfish on a cotton bed in a matchbox, took the funeral ship down to the river, set it afloat. I lit the sails with a match and we set the burning ship adrift on the water.

Best sendoff since Beowulf!

Yes, we have gone through a lot of animals over the years.

At the close of our trip down memory lane, various kids said how much I meant to them as they were growing up and Patricia summed it all up by saying:

“Thank you, Daddy, for killing all our pets”.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:17 AM


At 12:17 PM, Blogger Seeker said...

Enjoyed this post.
I, too, "did in" a few animals over the years... it does give you a reputation...
My sister has a few spots on her rural property that are marked by stones with little engraved plaques with dogs' names and dates. Interesting.


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