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Rain brings a multitude of life

April 25, 2006

Rain Brings a Multitude of Life

I always wonder how it is that one familiar smell can jog your memory, taking you down a vista of years you had forgotten for some time until that very moment. The smell of fish hit my nose with great intensity today. A time of careless freedom and abandonment came to mind. For an instant I was there. There after a hard rain. There with my best friend. Skies cleared out, a refreshed land stood quietly save the streaming water running down through the field, emptying out in the streets and to the sewers. Bucket in one hand and net in the other, we marched down to “the hole.” A place where the streams merged together and fed into a dead-end street. Perfect–no traffic. “The hole” created a lull in the flow, a stagnate pool housing the overflow of crawfish being uprooted and jostled downstream. Randy’s job consisted of “pumping” the water out, essentially sucking up the crawfish nestled at the floor of the hole. As they rose out and continued to be carried by the currents, I excitedly snagged the little suckers with an aquarium net, plopping them into another bucket. For keeps. We’d load up, head home and proceed to distribute the crawdads as so: the big ones to the boiling water to eat. A few big ones for keeping–we’d make them fight later but until then we’d rubber-band their claws. Tiny ones to the turtle tank and medium ones along with the egg-baring ones to the cooler with the tad poles. Always taking care of animals, creating new little habitats, exploring new projects–many failed, many successful.

Some may make you laugh, others may disgust you, and others may make you cry…the following include a number of accounts with my animals. [time period: elementary days]

The tadpoles came from a water-filled sand volleyball court by our neighborhood pool. This project failed as I neglected to provide a rock for the tadpoles to sit upon once their gills developed into lungs–essentially, I found my cooler full of dead tadpoles with legs and lungs–drowned. The baby mockingbirds we “saved” met their untimely death when our neighbor, Ron, decided to feed them hamster food, causing them to become constipated and eventually die. My hamster, Bear, we took from my Grandma escaped and soon discovered my dog who gave him one hard shake and broke his neck [this is the same hamster my sister thought I had taught to play dead, but really he was dead…she cried when she found out it wasn’t a trick.] My sisters beta fish (plural) taught us that hot water kills fish, cats do eat fish, and fish cannot crawl back up the drain once they’ve slid down it. My baby turtles taught me that a hard rain will overflow the tank, making it possible for an able-walking turtle to crawl away. Our beautiful Aqua, the bird, showed us the danger of ceiling fans. Kashmire, our guinie pig, taught us that humans aren’t the only species that can contract pneumonia [granted, the frequent baths didn’t help his condition–if not causing it…side note** this animal would not move unless put in water, hence, the baths. We’d stick the sucker in the middle of the living room and he’d just sit–for hours if we’d let him! That’s just not normal. We grew quite bored of him.] BJ, my Red-ear turtle, taught me to always double check the latch to the gate (esp. after the lawn men come) because when its not shut my dog will get in and eat my turtle like a chew toy and he did. That same dog proved he could runaway by digging holes in the backyard. My first hamster disproved the store’s convition that she was indeed a male; days after my purchase, I found Hammy to be a mother of several babies which she ate shortly afterwards [apparently her pregnancy was just as much of a surprise to her as it was to us…she wasn’t ready to be a mother.] Our tom cat, Kitty-Rat as my dad likes to call him (don’t ask), left us dead rats at the front door [he was big, bad stuff and wanted us to know], he took a few BB gun wounds, and had a hole gouged out from some animal. Our white dove, Peace, left with my mom after the divorce. I’d feed our rabbits a carrot every morning with the sunrise–what peace they brought, along with a multitude of flies…so dad had us set them free at the Sam Houston State Park. Goldfish poop a lot, but they’re the most hardy as they come. Sucker Fish die easily–I went through five in a month. My mom’s dog, Flee Flea (clever name, eh? or just strange I’d agree), took a leap of faith; good thing she was blind and old or she might have died on her way down as she stepped off through the railing and proceeded to fall all the way to the first floor. My dad saw her in the corner of his eye and then heard a loud thump. She got up and walked away no problem, probably saying, “Watch out for that first step, it’s a doozie.” Max, “the dog from hell” my dad would say (pardon the language), proved that eating window screens won’t kill you, it’ll just cause discomfort on its way out. Precious, my mom’s other dog, would chase any car any day any time…she also pretended to have a hurt foot and would limp for attention but the minute she rounded the corner and thought she was out of sight, that poor hurting foot came down with no shame, walking just fine [sneaky ‘lil thing!]. Spot, our dalmation, ate the trampoline spring cover, nearly chewed a hole through to my parents’ bathroom from the outside, and pulled down a pole supporting the porch roof [he’s the dog that eventually ran away]. For whatever reason, big dogs never behaved for us. I suppose we should have stuck with the smaller ones that we could handle. I desired to have an ant farm so dad took an empty jar and scooped up some ants from various ant piles around our yard. Enemies to one another, they soon reconciled their differences in such close quarters. Mom brought home a stray cat and dad took it to an animal shelter after it had chosen to fill the house with urine, including my dad’s briefcase. Princess, my faithful dog, was born blind which we did not learn until after we were already attached to her–I think she was God’s blessing to me [she howled on command and sang with my flute.]

So, I told most of the downer stories…take heart…there were just as many, and even more good stories pertaining to my animals…

Thinking about all these instances…my parents usually weren’t very involved…the deal was: if you want an animal then it is your responsibility. And boy was it…late nights cleaning up dog diarrhea and vomit, weekends cleaning hamster cages and fish aquariums…but I loved the responsibility I suppose and the idea of having a purpose and being more grown-up. I sure did learn a lot of responsibility through all these experiences as well as some key truths to life.

Our home filled with laughter last night as people flooded in to celebrate the birth of Sarah. Cake, wrestling, music, water fights, dancing, laughter, chatter. The night sang of joy.

I am feeling antsy again–like I just want to get away and go! I need some adventure in my life now and then. I cannot wait until we go to the beach (God-willing).

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