Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Oregon

An alternate title for this post could be: Things I left Behind

At the top of Delia and Ron's quiet street is a feed store, where there is always a variety of happy, rescued animals to visit. A hand written note nailed to the door reads: If you must drop off an animal, please leave some cash to help us out... or something like that. In these economic times there are many stories about abandoned pets, but this feed store has been making room for all kinds of unwanted animals for many years.

Horses and dogs, cats and pigs... all are sheltered and fed to the best of the store owner's ability and without any assistance. The owner was getting a lot of complaints from a few vocal citizens that accused him of not keeping the animals in better facilities. I find it so disheartening when people want to complain, but don't want to find solutions, to help or contribute. I admire the effort of the feed store owner to shelter and feed abandoned animals, to find homes for them, especially since he cannot stop people from anonymously dumping their responsibilities on his front door.

Besides a big pig, some healthy chickens, free-range bunnies, horses, dogs and cats, the feed store also has an attic full of antiques and collectibles. It's a dusty, eclectic array of stuff, adjacent to the hayloft and smelling of sweet alfalfa.

During our stay, and in past visits, we spent a lot of time exploring the corners and shelves of the feed store.

I think it would be so strange to find my portrait in some random shop. I suppose famous people are accustomed to this, but I've always felt a kind of sadness when I see boxes of old family photographs. Once treasured photographs, in second-hand stores, like long forgotten memory orphans. At least Mr Peck has the advantage of being recognized and remembered kindly.

"Antiques" is a term that gets thrown around rather loosely in second-hand shops and resale stores. That's okay... one person's junk is another's junqué. But some antique items make me feel old. What's this VCR repair manual doing here? Hey! VCRs are not old! Right? Why, when I was a girl, we didn't even have VCRs. We waited for the moon to be full so we could do hand shadows on the outhouse door.

The sweetest surprise of this visit was the kitty that kept meowing and meowing and meowing and walking away, while looking back at Alex. She wanted him to follow her, and she kept waiting for him to catch-up, then she'd meow some more and walk away, always look back for him and waiting. Alex caught on to her game and followed her to where the attic of the feed store meets the hayloft of the barn, and that is where he saw what Ms Kitty was so eager to share...

She had a very shy, very black baby, with the very bluest eyes. The momma cat exuded so much pride she could not contain herself. She purred and padded back and forth, she snuggled and meowed and looked to us for affection, approval and admiration. She ranks very high in my memory of happy momma cats. And her woolly black kitten was almost impossible to leave behind.

Do you remember BP, the potbellied pig I wrote about? The one that Maria conversed with? I actually filmed a bit... it's the last part of Maria explaining to BP how to "Oink, oink, oink." It seems she was not impressed with the snuffling, snorting kind oinking BP did. She thought it was so funny that the pig did not literally o i n k!


judy in ky said...

I love Gregory Peck, and I love that feed store.

sue's butterfly's said...

Never give up, never surrender. Thanks for those few words, we are at rock bottom at the moment and your blog has helped me lift my spirits. Thank you for a lovely blog!

Laura Jane said...

Oh Natalie, I can see the attraction of such a store!

A pig in the yard, and that kitten - I've never seen such an eye colour on a young kitty! No wonder Mum was so proud. I literally gasped when I saw it. So appealing.

Your Alex always looks so tender when framing Maria, he's such a loving brother.

Its important to unpack your memories and figure out where they go, where they will fit back into your lives. I'm glad your Mama is doing OK. Ron looks like a real treasure.

Laura Jane said...

Me again - I have just shown my daughter the blue eyed kitty and she gasped too!

It looks just like our cat when she was a little one, except our Phoenix has golden eyes.

Mama Spark said...

OMG!! How did we end up both posting about orphans? That is so weird, but cool too. I love that kitten so much I could just eat him up. Those blue eyes are striking. Why wouldn't that mama be so proud of such an achievement? Aren't all mama's like that? HUGS

firefly said...

That is a sweet and tender post, very enjoyable to read. Applause to the feed store owner for taking responsibility for abandoned animals. The people who complain really should do something to help, like maybe take in one of the animals themselves and see how easy it is.

The kitten is so beautiful--those eyes!

Thanks for a great post.


Tiglizzyclone said...

I like hearing that feed store owner is so kind to animals. I worry about all the animals, especially horses. My daughter volunteers for a local shelter, she goes in as often as she can to pet the cats and walk dogs. Plus she also helps out at a songbird clinic during the spring and summer months. She was telling me this last week that they were having trouble with getting enough volunteers.