In about one minute after I take this picture, Becky will remove this kitten from beneath her jacket, hand it to me and then little Angel will be out of her life - but never out of her heart. Despite this act, do not doubt the depth of Becky's love for Angel. On this day, June 22, 2007, Becky had been raising little Angel for several weeks.
"She's my little baby," Becky told me. It had been her intent that her home and the kitten's home would be one and the same for as long as both lived.
To explain how fate, in an act of both kindness and cruelty, was not going to allow this to happen, I must back up a bit:
I took this picture maybe half-an-hour earlier on that same day, June 22. I had gone out for my morning walk, had topped the hill at the corner of Ward's Road and Sand's Drive and had then turned around to walk back. As I came down the hill, I saw these two, Becky and her older brother, Danny, pedaling up the hill towards me.
I smiled, because I always smile when I see Danny and Becky.
I had first met the two on a July day in 2004, again when I was out on a walk. I spotted them in the distance as I walked down Seldon Street towards Wards. They were a bit off to the side of the house of a retired couple - a large, expensive house that the grandmotherly wife had constructed herself. I had heard that the husband's health was failing him.
Becky was standing beside her bike, holding it. Danny's bike lay upon the ground and he sat in front of it. For some reason, he had found it necessary to briefly remove his pants. Maybe he had gotten into some thorns, or a bug had bitten him; I don't know.
Anyway, a lady who was losing a fight with breast cancer lived with a 22 year-old orange cat just across the street in a duplex (yes - this orange boy is in my Cat's Met Along the way archives and I plan to one day drop him into this forum) stepped out of that duplex and spotted the two.
"For God's sakes!" she shouted out, "put your pants back on!"
Danny did put his pants back on. The woman had gone back inside by the time I reached the two children, but they were indignant and livid over her order. "That... that... that... mean woman told my brother to put his pants back on!" Becky stammered with rage. "She's got no business to tell him what to do! She's not our Mom! We have a Mom."
So we introduced ourselves to each other. Then they told me that their grandfather had died that morning about 1:00 AM.
"He went to live with Jesus," Danny said.
After the woman across the street died from her breast cancer, Danny and Becky's grandma bought her duplex. The two children and their widowed mother moved in and they all settled down into the side that had once been home to a 22 year-old cat and the woman who, on the day his grandfather died, had gruffly told Danny to put his pants back on.
Later, on a day in May, 2007, I came walking by the duplex and saw Danny playing in the yard. "Hi Grahamn!" he shouted. "Becky got a new kitten. Do you want to see it?"
Of course I did.
Danny ran inside, then came back out with a somewhat smaller version of the same kitten that you see on these pages. "Her name is Angel," he said.
Angel! She was so pretty. I did take her picture and it is in my files somewhere - as are some that I subsequently took of Angel being loved by Becky.
Now, on this day, June 22, 2007, the three of us stopped to visit near a roadwork sign. It was Danny who spoke first. "Hey Grahamn!" he said. "Do you know what? Mom says Becky can't keep Angel any longer. We have to get rid of her. We can't afford to keep her. We really can't."
"What are you going to do with her?" I asked.
"We're going to take her to the pound," Danny answered. Then he fell into silent thoughtfulness for several seconds. I oftentimes see Danny, Becky, and their mother riding their bicycles into the shopping area of Wasilla, about three miles away, because they do not have a car. The pound is 13 miles away - a long way to carry a kitten on a bicycle.
"Or maybe we will just turn her loose, by the side of the road, where people live, so someone will find her," he added.
Becky said nothing, but just straddled her bike, forlorn and downcast.
"What would you think if I took her?" I asked. "We already have five cats, so I can't keep her, but I will find a good home for her."
Becky brightened up. "Would you?" she pleaded. "Would you take my sweet baby Angel? Promise you'll find a good home for her? She's my precious baby."
From there, I took the short cut home, through the marsh. I entered the house through the back door, stepped into the garage, grabbed a small, green, travel kennel and stepped back inside. "I've got to go pick up a kitten," I told a baffled Sunflower. I then exited through the front door, climbed into the car and drove to Danny and Becky's house.
Thus it happened that I took this small series of pictures of Becky holding her precious baby Angel for the last time.
If you want to get an idea how hard it was for Becky to give up this kitten, I suggest that you click on the above image, so that you can see a bigger version of it.
Angel in the kennel, on her way to our house.
After I brought her home, I took Angel into the backyard for a short romp. She promptly darted beneath the porch. Sunflower stepped out the door. "You better find a home for her today," she warned, "or it will be too late. You will never give her away."
"That wouldn't be so bad," I mused.
"I knew it," she said disgustedly, in a voice filled with overpowering love and fondness.
Next up: I fall hopelessly in love with little Miss Angel.
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