Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Take Your Pick


We’ve never had a shortage of cats.  Our place isn’t quite the Caboodle Ranch, but we’ve fed our share of felines through the years…

Thanks to Emmy, who shows up on our steps one fine day.  Tell me this:  who can resist such a darling wee one, fuzzy and gray with green eyes wide as saucers staring back at you? 

Her first litter of kittens is born in my daughter Abi’s lap while she’s watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.  Others make their debut in the upstairs bathtub in the dead of winter. 

When people ask why we don’t get her “fixed,” I tell them Emmy is Catholic – as are all our cats.  And they don’t say another word.   She was born to be fruitful and multiply.         

We’ve always been lucky enough to find good homes for each and every litter (except for the ones we’ve kept).   Don’t ask how many we’ve kept.  I’ve lost count. 



Trick or Treat!


On a Halloween night my daughter and I go out to a carnival.  We dress up as dancers; Hannah is a princess ballerina and I’m a sassy flapper. 

Dad stays home to mind the treat-or-treaters and hand out candy.  He sits on the dark front porch by the glowing jack-o-lantern, kittens purring at his feet.  Then a bright idea strikes him. 

He remembers a birthday party from whence his daughter came home, bearing a strange kitten.  Her friend Erin had distributed these little critters for party favors.   Hey, not a bad idea after all…

Tonight he will delight a few trick-or-treaters with a prize kitten and a bag of Tender Vittles dropped in their pumpkin totes: a little something to get them started. 

When we come home from the carnival and ask where the kittens might be, he looks just like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary. 


Now it’s your turn to share a Halloween memory of your own.   What did you wear?   Who were you with?   Where did you go?   I look forward to seeing you in costume.  

53 comments:

  1. Oh, Debra, the Catholic cats had me rolling in the aisles! Just priceless! As was your husband's brilliant idea; wonder how many parents were taken aback by their child's Halloween treats that year? :) At least, the kitties wouldn't rot their teeth out . . .

    My favorite Halloween memory? Hmmmmm. There are a few, but the one that stands out in my mind is when it turned uncharacteristically cold, frigid to be exact, on Halloween night. Ironically, we had taken meticulous care with costumes for my kids; Daniel, my son, was a swashbuckling pirate and daughter, Sarah, was, believe it or not, the Virgin Mary! With full flowing robes and blue headdress.

    And, the winter coats and hats and mittens concealed all.

    I wonder . . . do we wear costumes only on Halloween? Or, do we don them daily to conceal who we truly are?

    Thanks for this beautifully written post that had me walking down memory lane!

    Blessing, my friend, as always!

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  2. Martha, don’t you hate it when that happens :-( When the kids get all decked out in costume and the weather is too frigid for the little ones to show off their characters? Wearing coats, hats, and mittens defeats the purpose. Oh well.

    Do we wear costumes daily to conceal who we
    really are? That would make a good devotion for you Martha ;-) Go for it. I have yet to find a Betty Crocker or Suzie Homemaker costume! Maybe if I find these I’ve wear them sometimes – haha!

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  3. Thanks for stopping by and visiting "Tragedy", I appreciate your comments. You're halloween photo is really nice, let's stay connected.

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  4. Sure thing Marie. I hope you're doing okay.

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  5. I was only able to celebrate Halloween for about 3 years; I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and wasn't able to start going out for Trick or Treat when I stopped going to the congregation at the age of about 15. for those three years though I remember having a blast - me and my friends would take pillowcases to get our candy in and be out till they were completely full; back then we didn't worry about having poisoned candy or apples with razor blades in them.

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  6. LOL, great piece Debra. I remember dressing up as a bride in grade 1. Our class had to parade around all the classes and in every class the girls oooed and ahhhed at my costume, reaching out to touch it, following me and only me with their eyes. Even some of the boys were wide-eyed. Though a little-miss-fancy, dolled- up bride didn't reflect the tom-boy me in any way-shape-or-form, I was more than thrilled by the attention and my confidence soared. The next year I dressed as a devil-may-care hobo, jeans ripped at the knees, frayed at the edges, bare feet, long walking stick with a checkered rag bag at the end of it, containing my lunch, bandana at my throat, a spring in my step - more aligned with my real self. Again that year we paraded around the classes but not a single person commented on my costume, no one reached out to touch me, no one followed me and only me with their eyes. One girl called me disgusting. Not a single boy noticed me. I was devastated and when I look back on that day now, I wonder if that was the day I started thinking that the real me just wasn't enough...

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  7. Michael – I know a little about being raised a JW because I had cousins in Falls Church VA whose father was an elder, and they didn’t celebrate anything, not even birthdays :-( They were known for refusing war, politics, blood transfusions, and even Christmas. Icons, idols, images, the Easter bunny and hunts for colored eggs on the bright green grass of a church lawn. They came down to NC every summer to save our souls from the burning hell we born-again Baptists believed in! So their MO wasn’t all bad, no? Thank you for sharing your remarkable story. Do you feel like a free man now?

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  8. Cathy – Great story! I can see you in your head-turning bridal gown. The queen of the costume parade! This reminds me of a third grade memory. For show and tell the new girl in class brought a picture of herself wearing a beautiful white dress and veil – what she wore for her First Communion. I was enthralled! I longed to have a First Communion so I could wear such an outfit and look like a bride ;-) So I know how your classmates must have felt…
    I love your description of the devil-may-care hobo costume, as well as your psychological assessment of the memory. This story is so powerful that you should (if you haven’t already) publish it somewhere in some form.

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  9. great post debra <3 can't type today :(

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  10. Thank you sweet Mary. Now I'm wondering why you can't type :-( Good to hear from you anyway, and to see your smiling face!

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  11. Wow, I wish I had lived in your neighborhood when I was growing up! Candy and kittens for Halloween! How cute!

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2011/10/lyric-fire-look-at-my-fabulous-life-episode-10-.html

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  12. Tameka – Our neighborhood is in the historic district – in the upper hood, I call it, near downtown. The family across the street goes all out for Halloween, complete with front yard gravestones, a giant spider and thick webs, signs that say, “Turn back now…” You’d have loved it!

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  13. i love the story about giving kittens away ;-)

    when i was a little girl i always dressed up like a gypsy for halloween, so i could wear all that gaudy jewelry!

    the one thing i don't like about halloween is all the candy. i would hide mine away in the back of my closet until my mom finally found it in the spring and through it away -- haha!

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  14. I just read that you used to (and still now??) live in NC! Where did you trick or-treat in NC as a child, dear Debra? I LOVE NC...used to live there for almost 10 years! Why am I not surprised that we share this delightful twist of fate? And that my favorite holiday brought us to the realization makes me smile even brighter:)

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  15. Debra you're a scream and so is the Mister. I'm imagining the look on the parents' faces when the kids came home with their 'treats' or were they 'tricks'.....We don't have Halloween here so I have no stories to share but thoroughly enjoyed your post and the comments! Would it count if I told you of the time a group of us stood outside a (almost) stranger's house at 4 pm one August evening and sang Christmas carols..then ran away as soon as the door began to open! ;)

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  16. Linda – I was a gypsy when I was an adult, because I loved the opportunity to get away with wearing the gaudiest jewelry imaginable ;-) When else can you do this?
    Speaking of candy… one Halloween when I was in 2nd grade I spent the night with a friend who lived in the city, and we collected so much candy on our Trick-or-Treat rounds that I got sick. The next morning I was throwing it all up :-( Yuck!

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  17. Brynne – No way! When and where did you live in NC? This IS a delightful twist of fate! Where did I trick or treat? We lived in the country, so far removed from civilization that even the Indians would have gotten lost trying to find our house ;-) So I sometimes spent the night with friends in town.
    I missed my wish yesterday, so I’ll be right over. You know, your wonderful Wednesday wishes always make my week!

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  18. Corinne – Since you don’t have Halloween in India, the children there must have happier teeth ;-) I’ve been waiting all year to tell the story of the kittens. I figured it was now or never.
    No, YOU’RE a scream! Standing outside a near stranger’s house in AUGUST at 4:00 p. m. singing Christmas carols, then running off when they opened the door. A hoot! *rotflmao*

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  19. Haha this post was a great one Debra! And very fitting for the season. I love the Catholic cat concept! ;)

    I used to love Halloween as a kid...I remember one year, I think I was around 8, I dressed up as Spock..ok yeah, I was a Star Trek Nerd! Now I love watching my kids get dressed up and excited, ready to get their stash of candy! This year, my son is going to be Perry, and my daughter Candace, characters from a tv show called Phineas and Ferb.

    Have a great and memorable Halloween!

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  20. I lived in Carrboro and Raleigh. But I worked as a therapist for the Dept. of Corrections and I had 10 different prisons (men, women, youth) so I traveled the whole central region. Wouldnt that have been FUN if I knew your house! I drove a lot of country roads! Hmm...I will dream of it tonight to see if I can find it. I know it had a porch. And probably a swing!! Weeeeee!

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  21. Great post Debra..I love to read about Halloween...we don't have it hear in India...but its something I wish I could do.

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  22. That was a good one Debra. I am sure Dad gave away all those litters to people who would love to have them. LOL!


    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.com/2011/10/as-veil-lifted.html

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  23. Jessica – Spock’s a cool character to be ;-)
    Your children will have a blast dressing as Perry and Candice!
    Have fun!

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  24. Brynne – Carrboro, home of the NC Writers Network!
    You’ll probably see my old home in a dream. Yes, it does have a porch and a swing!
    And tall pines in the yard and this old barn out back where I climbed the loft (my hideout) and played with my imaginary friend.

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  25. Alpana –Corinne told me you don’t have Halloween in India. But I’m sure you have holidays similar, don’t you? Anyway, you can still dress up in costumes any old day of the week; you don’t have to have a special day for it ;-) Just have a costume party!

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  26. Rimly – I’d have kept them all ;-) *wink* And we’d have had our own Caboodle Ranch, complete with City Hall and Walmart and church. LOL!

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  27. My most fun costume: a hippy ghost- it was wild!! I liked the old days when I was little and we lived in the northeast part of Philadelphia. We lived in rowhouses and in those days it was safe to trick or treat at strangers' houses. We would go from house to house, the neighbors invited us in and would compliment us on our costumes, sometimes we would have to make a joke and get extra treats. Some of the neighbors made the best homemade treats ever and we could eat them. I'm afraid those days are long gone. I think I just gave away my age :)

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  28. Hi Kimly! – a hippie ghost! I’ve gone as a hippie chick with love beads, bell bottoms, vest, head band… and once as an eighties girl in leggings and leg warmers and big hair! How much fun to dress up wild and wear clothes you’d never dream of wearing otherwise!
    Yeah, we do live in a different world now. Trick or treating at strangers’ houses is a thing of the past.

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  29. Debra...I love the photo of the Kittens...and the Catholic Cats..well who would have guessed.

    Every year my daughter, who lives in Calgary has a big Halloween Party, they decorate inside and outside for a month and everyone clamours for an invite to the party..One year I flew out..and we girls had a ball getting ready for Halloween, fighting for space in the powder room, sharing make up and laughing so hard our eye makeup ran...making the effect even more spooky...I was the Wicked Witch of course..and sometimes the decor is so scary, even the little kids would not come up the walkway for treats...why is it that we all love to be scared on this dark and spooky night...fun post...thanks for taking us down memory lane...

    http://ravenmyth.blogspot.com/2011/10/medicine-wheelwill-you-participate-in.html

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  30. Being a Brit and brought up Brethren, I have never done Halloween. It's not something I would have wanted to take part in and so my kids haven't done it either. I always knew it was big in America, but it's only through the blogosphere I have realised HOW BIG! You guys love it! And I just don't get it! Oh well.
    http://talkingchristian.blogspot.com/2011/10/trick-or-treat-really.html#links

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  31. I love that you dressed as a flapper -and what adorable cats!

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  32. Ravenmyth – Thank you for taking us to your daughter’s party at Calgary, what a sight that must be! I can see you girls fighting for space in the powder room – you’ve got to outdo one another, right?
    Good question: why DO we like to be scared? Since many channels are showing old horror flicks this month, I’ve pondered that question often. AMC is showing nothing – absolutely nothing – but scary movies. I don’t like the gory ones, but the suspense-filled films are entertaining.

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  33. Nice post :) Oh.. I love the kittens :) xx

    http://www.iredeem.blogspot.com/

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  34. TC - I hear you. Just went over and read your Halloween post and agree that the whole thing is consumerist nonsense. Look at all the money raked in by the candy companies in the month of October alone! Christmas is even more wasteful and extravagant). Face it; we live in a materialistic world.

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  35. Megan, I’m so glad you decided against becoming a jewel thief ;-)

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  36. Shreya – You own so many beautiful moments yourself. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you are out there watching the same stars ;-) ~ blessings

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  37. kittens as party favors – your baby is a ballerina – you as a flapper all full of awesome – this is hands-down be cutest post I've ever read of yours – absolutely full of cute – like a kitten underneath some tissue paper in a gift bag. Debra – I'm all smiles as I write this – perfect. God bless and keep you my friend! C.U.T.E.:-)

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  38. Craig – The saying that truth is stranger than fiction…that’s my life story ;-) And I think it may be yours too – yes? Question: does Laska have a girlfriend? Because if he doesn’t, I can hook him up with a cute white cat who has been hanging out in my backyard lately.

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  39. I think my fondest memory of Halloween in my
    sophomore year in college, happily dressed like a bumble bee, feeling no pain from all those luscious college libations I walked around the room singing the boys with my stinger.. It won me a few kisses and too many dances to count. A good night. My roommates promised to blackmail me one day with the photos, but I have a few good ones of them, so maybe my secrets are safe!

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  40. Brenda – and the boys all sang…
    I’m bringing home a bumble bee
    Won’t my mama be so proud of me?
    I’m bringing home a bumble bee
    Buzzy wuzzy buzzy wuzzy – aw!
    She stung me!

    I want to see those photos of that night!

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  41. Clearly nobody would deny a Catholic cat her children. Tells you how strange society is, I would use that if anyone ever asked me why my 48 pound male Pit wasn't fixed but, they never get close enough to ask anything. HAHA. What a wonderful surprise for the parents to have a kitten brought home to them. My kids would have had to remember your house because I am allergic but, I suppose they are smart enough to know better. Hopefully all the new mommies take good care of all the kittens.

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  42. I don't think I really "got" the essence of Halloween when I was little. Sure it was fun to get lots of junk food - often two pillow cases full - but it's as an adult that I have truly enjoyed it. The magic and mystery of "being" someone else for a night, the creativity of putting it all together... it's a wonderful thing!!

    My favourite in recent years was my outfit for a burlesque Halloween party (you can imagine how much fun that was!), and then another time as Corpse Bride - blue hair and all. I loved it!

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  43. Jenn – No, they wouldn’t deny my cat the right to be fruitful and multiply ;-) And they’d better not mess with your pit bull either! Now that all is said and done, I’m sure the kitties were given to homes of those we know. Many of my students have come here trick-or-treating through the years. Hope no one was allergic though :-(

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  44. Kristen – Ditto to “the magic and mystery of being someone else for a night.” When else can we get by with masquerading as another? The Corpse Bride with the blue hair sounds like fun. And the burlesque Halloween party must have been a blast!

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  45. I love your Catholic Cats - we have a few in our neighborhood. :) Halloween is my birthday. When we lived in a subdivision with kids stopping by for candy, I'd tell them that instead of me giving them candy, they had to give me a piece of theirs since it was my birthday. The looks of mixed emotions were priceless. The looks started with "no way do I want to part with my treat" to "gee, it's your birthday - I should give you a present"! And most kids did :) But I gave their candy back - honest!

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  46. Mari – fabulous story! My birthday is New Year's Day. When I was little I thought the parade and all the celebrating was for me!

    Happy belated birthday.
    ♫♫♫♪♪♫♫♫ Happy Birthday dear Mari … ♫♫♫♪♪♫♫♫… Happy Birthday to you! And many more!

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  47. Ooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh ssoooooooooooooooooooooooo CUTE!!! :)

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  48. Debra, my devout Catholic mother would approve of your refusal to "fix" your cats! hee hee! That made me chuckle like you have no idea! I wonder what the parents of the children who received kitty treat said? You've got to hand it to the mister, that was crafty! My funnest Halloween memory involved dressing as the gypsy from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I was eight and over the moon at being allowed to wear make up and large hoop earrings. If I'm honest, whenever I get dressed up and don the make up and hoops now, a part of me feels like the little girl who went trick or treating as a little gypsy. :)

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  49. Bella, I vary my gypsy costume from year to year. Sometimes it’s a fortune teller, sometimes it’s bohemian…
    I just love to see people’s reaction when I tell them my cats are Catholic ;-) What can they say? You crazy cat lady!

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  50. Oh this is a really good one...I got to read it after Halloween :P...

    In my country, we just adopted the practice of trick-or-treating and wearing costumes from the US. Originally, we do not have it.

    I never had such experience...oh, wait, when I was staying with my friends. We pulled out a trick for some of our dormers. I remembered making a skull-face mask and then i wore something black. Everybody got scared, even I, lol... geez...I guess I was just 21 at that time.

    I'm not sure about Catholic cats here lol.... but the idea sounds funny :)...

    Loved this post ;)

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  51. Melissa - LOL!
    I was kidding with those who asked why the cats weren't fixed ;-)

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  52. This was sweet Debra! Happy Halloween to you and your many litters! LOL! We are way overdue for a talk my darlin'!

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