As if you couldn't glean from here.... I have a fondness for animals. Up until this year I hadn't had much experience with birds, but a visit to the home (or is it aviary?) of parishoners Richard and Abby changed that.
In your lifetime, how many pets have you owned (or perhaps possessed you)? Upcoming St. Francis day is a good time to give thanks to the God of all creation that has blessed us with other species friends for very special times in our lives (no, I don't have a crystal ball and NO, I am not speaking of your spouse!)
Mind you, my family was not one for extremely interactive pets during my childhood years nor, I am bound to say, were we amazing with creative names (Brittney was a good 30 years in the distance). There was 'Pokey' the turtle who made the trip from wherever s/he was hatched eventually to "the Greatest Show on Earth" at the old MSG in NYC and was conveyed in a miniture animal-crackers style cardboard box with a cellopane window and string handle back to Madison, NJ where s/he lived the rest of life in a squat goldfish bowl complete with chipped marble. Then there were 2 'Chipper's. Paraqueets. I vaguely recall they came from Woolworths, complete with cage, a couple of dangle toys, a beak scratcher, the obligatory hanging food and water trays. Pokey had a preference for ground chuck while the Chippers - 1 and 2 - went for parsley, carrots, celery. One way or another, these animals gravitated toward my paternal grandmother, Mare. Chipper 1 at least would give her kisses on her broad eastern european nose. Chipper 2 was more apt to take his microgram of flesh from the same source.
After the hiatus of these two my mother bought my sister a dog - a poodle - Beauregard (and several other names afterward). It was quickly shortened to Bogie. What a bundle of black curls he was as a puppy! He loved - even to later in his life - to have his belly blown on. My sister had a stint living with my father and eventually Bogie bonded with Daddy. The night my father died he is said to have howled a very mournful tune and was never the same, dying not all that long afterward.
In my adulthood there have been a series of pets which found me.... Suzy a stray German Shepherd mix that followed my friend Charlotte home from Flushing Meadow park (later adopted by a UN colleague), Kit a calico stray that made her way into the small 2 room basement the same way. She was sickly and often to the vet. While she stayed alive to the move to Orangeburg, she died shortly afterward and is buried in my backyard. Beside her is Mandy who came to me via a former parishoner. Mandy (Amanda) started out as Candy and I was her third owner. The first abandoned her, she was attacked by a lab 'puppy' in her second home and she was transferred to me for rehabilitation. My second calico, I could not have a cat with that name, so made the slight transition. She learned tricks, was fairly affectionate and seccumed to feline leukemia.
Next were Mike and Shine, found through RBARI, the animal shelter I have written about earlier. Brothers with completely different personalities, Shine is completely black with one tiny white spot in a private place, Mike is an orange stripped tabby. They now live with Pam Reed in Suffern NY and enjoy basking on her 2nd floor enclosed balcony or tracking the squirrels from her front picture window.
Miss Emmy Lou came to me in January 2003 and she is the animal with which I have bonded most closely. A mush, an empath, a playmate, a ham...... what a combination. She has learned to bark (from her occasional playmate Sophie) every now and then when she hears a car pull up in the driveway or the doorbell on a Domino's TV commercial..... go figure!
I go on like this because my life has been enriched by the special companionship that sharing life with a pet can afford. They are marvelous gifts from God!
This is a long entry and rather than make it totally unwieldy I will attach herewith a Word document with prayers that can be used during a St. Francis Day celebration: for a blessing of the animals, hymn suggestions, Collect of the Day, Prayers of the People, Preface to Eucharistic Prayer C, post Communion prayer and dismissal blessing. If your congregation would like to use them, make a simple accredation in the bulletin.St. Francis Day Prayers
Have any stories to share on the creatures that have lent spice to your life? Please post a comment to this entry so that others can click on it and have a good read, chuckle, nod of the head, tear and smile.
Thanks be to 'all creatures of our God and King' and to the little friar who sang their praises!
Copyright © 2005 K.L.Joanna Depue and Deacon J