The hamster was not my idea. The hamster was Ginny’s idea and somehow, she roped Jamie’s sister Keisha into it, too.
Colin had been asking for a kitten, but we already have a dog. Paisley, our miniature schnauzer, was bought for Jack after he turned three. Buddies for the last 11 years, Paisley follows Jack from room to room, sleeps at the foot of Jack’s bed and gets antsy when Jack isn’t home.
Colin wanted a kitten, but he is allergic. Enter hamster.
Things were getting better. The initial shock was wearing off, and folks were busy with clean up, insurance, estimates, adjusters, livestock, crop evaluations. There was still no power, but we were all making do. It’s amazing how clean you can get with a bottle of water and a washcloth.
Out at Mama and Daddy’s the “Little House on the Prairie” camp was working so well, they reported they “lacked for nothing.” A friend had come by with a chainsaw and made fast work of the few trees still down, doing in 30 minutes what was taking hours for us to do with a band-saw and a hatchet. Now, Daddy’s primary concern was the pecan tree balanced on top of the gas tank in the backyard. “What if it explodes?” I asked. “Well, I guess we’ll find out,” he answered.
Growing up in the country, there is a realism that comes with the excitement of loving of a pet. Although I don’t remember a singular moment in which we learned the lesson, Ginny and I always knew there was a very real chance we could lose any animal we loved to the highway that runs in front of our house, or to a bobcat or coyote. Out in the middle of nowhere, there most certainly exists an only-the-strong-survive reality.
Throughout our childhood we had cats get in fights with wild cats and go missing, a dog that escaped his pen and got hit by a car, even our parakeet, Lucy, learned how to escape her cage and flew into a nearby tree. Our 6’3” Daddy said he knew he looked ridiculous when he climbed that tree and “rescued” her. When she escaped the second time, he said she’d have to take her chances. We never saw her again. As a result, Ginny instituted an “inside pets only” policy on the Sanders family that lasts to this day.