I remember it like it happened yesterday. The two Green children (Lukie wasn't here yet) were over at our house for a sleepover. The two of them along with my sons, Joshua and Nathan, were soon off on an exciting adventure while Chris and I worked in our basement. About an hour later, the kids came running up the road yelling to Chris. We think we heard the word "racoon" so Chris went to check it out. About 15 minutes later all five came scurrying into the house. Three of them were holding creatures. Not just any creatures, but three of the cutest, tiniest kittens you have ever seen.
"The kids thought they saw a racoon. I think it was the mother cat. They chased it away so they could rescue these kittens."
And rescue them, they did. Right into my home.
"Aren't they cute, mom?" Nathan asked me.
"Yes, honey, they are adorable."
"Can we keep them?" Joshua, the animal lover, asked me.
"We should probably bring them back to the mom."
Chris then informed me that the mother was long gone and the kittens were now orphans.
"It's up to your father."
I looked at Chris. He had a silly grin on his face. It seems a plan was hatched before I knew it and was now being played out.
"Yes, we can keep them."
"HOORAY!!!!" was the response I got from all four kids (even though two of them weren't even mine).
Two of the kittens were black and white and the other one was entirely black. It was decided that the black one belonged to Joshua, the male black and white one belonged to Nathan and the female to me. We promplty named them: Cannonball, Jesse and Annie, respectively.
As stated before, these kittens were too young to be taken from their mother. So I took to feeding from a little bottle. First Cannonball, because he was the runt, then Jesse, then Annie.
A few weeks went by and Jesse and Annie gained strength. But little Cannonball didn't seem to be growing as fast as his siblings. Joshua was like a mother hen with her chicks. He was very protective of Cannonball and was spending every waking moment with his pet.
One night Joshua asked me if he could sleep with Cannonball. I told him he had to be very careful as Cannonball seemed to be a little sick.
"I will be VERY careful. Thanks, mom."
Joshua came to get me the next morning. "Mom, Cannonball isn't breathing. Something's wrong."
I went to check. Sure enough, Cannonball was laying on his side, his mouth slightly open and his breathing was very shallow. I called Chris right away and he informed me that he probably wouldn't make it through the day. I had the awful task of giving Joshua this news.
"Maybe he'll make it." he said with hope in his voice.
"Let's make him as comfortable as we can." We put him on the little kitty bed and put a towel on him. We laid him on my bed and closed the door. Joshua checked on him throughout the day.
"I think he's dead, mom."
"I'll go check." When I checked on him, Cannonball was gone. I came out and told Joshua, that sure enough, he was dead. Instantly, Joshua came into my arms and cried the hardest I have ever seen him cry.
When Chris came home later that day, we put Cannonball in a box and gave him a proper burial. Joshua made a cross and put Cannonball's name on it and put it on the grave.
We lost Jesse later on in that same year. It didn't seem to affect Nathan the way losing Cannonball affected Joshua.
That happened a little more than two years ago. We still have Annie and although she was suppose to be my cat, she is now known as the family cat.
The other day I was dropping off Nathan at Shannon's house so Zac could babysit him. Joshua was at another friend's house.
I must insert here that Joshua and Tera, Shannon's daughter, are friends, although they wouldn't admit it to you. I also believe that they have a soft spot for each other that they wouldn't admit to, either. They go to school together and attend the same church so they see each other often.
"Cora, come here. I want to show you something." Tera, Shannon's daughter, said to me.
I went over to where Tera was sitting. I peeked in the box she was gesturing at and saw seven adorable kittens. Appears that Lucy, the Calvary Cat as we call her, had yet another litter of kittens. She picked up the one that was all black and showed him to me.
"I talked to my mom about it and she said it was okay but I needed to check with you. I would like to give Joshua this kitten as a replacement for Cannonball. I know Josh was pretty sad when he died."
I just looked at her. I was struck by her sensitivity.
"Why, Tera, I think that would be a wonderful idea. Joshua will be thrilled." She gave me a smile as she handed me the new Cannonball for me to hold.
And thrilled he was. Tera told him the good news when we came back later. He was literally jumping up and down, thanking Tera over and over. In six weeks, Annie will have a new friend to play with.
Whether he knows it or not, Joshua has a very good friend in Tera. One day he will come to really appreciate the friend God has given him.