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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The praying at the shrub story

Directly behind the house I grew up in was a set of what was then garden apts.  We were only separated by a chain link fence that wasn't even hip-height to an adult.  So my mother had this great idea:  she and my father would buy a bunch of shrubs that were guaranteed to grow and spread out wide :)

Unfortunately, these shrubs never lived up to their promise, never gained any extra weight nor did they spread.

Anyway ... it was fall... and my father was working outside on a Saturday : he was clearing the dead, dry leaves out of the wells in front of the basement windows.  I was inside (most likely reading a book AND watching tv) and so was my mother... he had work gloves on, sturdy, heavy-duty jobs... anyway, he reached into the well and - uh oh - something stiff --

Yeah.  Sigh.  It was the stray neighborhood cat I had taken a liking to, started to call Tiger, that one day just seemed to up and left me, breaking my heart.

"You bastard, you came home to die," my father sighed. 

He was at first perplexed at what to do ... he knew if he told me, there would be hysterics...but he couldn't just put it in the bag with the leaves, c'mon!...

My mother was in the kitchen when my dad popped back in the house and said, "Gotta run to Channel for something - be right back!" - Channel being the home store then - and he took off fast, so I couldn't get up, get dressed, and go with him - in fact, I can recall my mother shrugging, saying, "I don't know - he'll be back..."....

A short while later, my mother happens to look out the kitchen window - "what the hell?!" - my father is on his knees with his hands folded in prayer in front of the shrubs?!!  "He's lost it!" she figures ... so she goes outside - "Artie!  What the hell?!"

He waves her over (I was still inside) and he quietly tells her about Tiger...you see, he ran to Channel to get another shrub, because he was going to bury Tiger under the shrub... but being a good man of prayer, bless his heart, he couldn't bury someone without prayer!!!!!!!!!

It wasn't until I was in my late 20s, at least, that my father even told me this story... for whatever reason, Tiger came up in conversation..."Ah, Jean, dear...about Tiger..."...

My father had a heart not of silver but of gold, let me tell you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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