Nature’s Janitors

This morning, the hub had an early morning physical therapy appointment for some hip and back pain he’s been having.  He backed his truck out of the garage into the driveway and was surprised to see a dead opossum laying right smack dead in the middle of the driveway beside the house.  Standing next to the opossum was one of these.

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It looked like the black vulture was getting ready to “do his duty” so the hubby left him to his work.  When he came home a couple of hours later, the opossum was still there but the vulture was gone.  He walked in the house and announced that there was a dead opossum in our driveway.  “At first I wondered if I had backed over it in the driveway when we came home last night, but I just don’t think we could have done that and not known it–  I think we would have seen it on the back-up camera and surely we would have felt it had we hit it,” hubby said.  I agreed and didn’t think we had hit it.  “Poor thing,” I lamented.  “I wonder how it died?” I asked.  We started reminiscing about the neurologically deranged raccoon that was repeatedly circling in our driveway one summer day years ago.  I had suspected rabies or more likely distemper.  “I still worry that that raccoon could have possibly had rabies, but Opossums are pretty resistant to rabies,”  I told hubby.

I like opossums.  When I was in practice, I had two wildlife rehabilitators who used to bring in opossums to me quite frequently.  Because they can hiss and bare their teeth when frightened, people can mistakenly think they’re mean and aggressive.  The ones I treated were always quite docile, never gave me a problem, and generally were a joy to work on. I treated one older opossum who had a large mammary cyst in her pouch (the size of my fist) and she would sit still and calm while I aspirated the fluid from the cyst to drain it. She was sweet as can be and loved to cuddle.  possum-478162_960_720I am fascinated by vultures.  Here in the southeast, we have both black vultures and turkey vultures (erroneously called turkey buzzards).  They are easy to distinguish as black vultures have a black head and turkey vultures have a red head.  I remember an interesting lecture we had on them in veterinary school (or I thought so anyway) and a professor telling us if he heard any of us refer to them as “buzzards,” that it was grounds for dismissal from the program. He was kidding but he said he better not ever hear us call them that.  They were vultures, not buzzards.  When my kids were small, I remember checking out a fascinating book in the children’s section of the library called Nature’s Flying Janitor. It was a very good and educational book all about vultures.  My kids loved that book and we checked it out dozens of times. We learned how very important vultures are to the ecosystem and how they play a big part in preventing disease.

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The face only a mother could love.  Well… and maybe God

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Turkey vulture

A short time after hubby got home and informed me of the dead opossum, we were off to go shop for a new mattress.  Before getting in the truck, I walked down the driveway  to see if the opossum was still there. It was and there were no vultures in sight.  I told hubby the opossum was going to start smelling if we didn’t do something (or the vultures didn’t hurry up and do their job).  I took a quick glance to see if I could determine why the opossum died.  “My guess is that it got hit by a car,” I said to hubby.  There was not a mark on its body.  Not even from the vulture who had visited earlier and who apparently wasn’t too interested in having lunch.  There was quite a bit of blood coming from the poor opossum’s nostrils which had pooled on the driveway under its muzzle and where the green bottle flies were congregating.  “I think it’s a young opossum,” I said.  Hubby’s guess is that the opossum had been hit in the road and then something drug it up the driveway because our driveway is long.  “That’s possible, but he could have run this far after getting hit, and then died here,”  I added.  “I feel bad just leaving him lying here,” I continued.  “The vultures need to come and do their job.”  We decided to go on and mattress shop.

When we got home a few hours later, the opossum was there but had been moved.  We figured the vulture had returned.   A little while later, when we were leaving to go out again, there were two black vultures, an adult and a juvenile, next to the opossum.  They were very protective over the opossum and didn’t want to move even when my husband got closer in the truck.  Finally, they awkwardly ran into the front yard as we made our way down the driveway in the truck. “They’re definitely showing interest in the opossum,” I said.  “Black vultures can be aggressive,” I warned hubby.  I told him how I once watched a group of black vultures who had flocked to a cow carcass in a field, fight a few turkey vultures who had come to join the feast.  The black vultures won and did not let the turkey vultures near the carcass.  They make hissing noises and a noise similar to the noise a growling dog would make.  “They’re creepy,” I said.  “But we need them because what they do is important.” God love ’em.

When we returned a couple of hours later, the little opossum was no longer in the driveway, but had been moved to the grass beside the driveway.  The vultures were either not hungry or they didn’t like the taste of this opossum.  I was baffled. My assumption with vultures was that if there was carrion available, they would eat it.  These guys were proving me wrong.

vulturesSo I came into the house and started researching.  I read that vultures don’t have strong talons like owls, eagles, and hawks, and their feet are actually very weak.  I read they also don’t have real strong beaks and so sometimes, if the roadkill is really fresh, they will choose to let it sit and decay, so that it is easier for them to eat.  They often can’t break into the carcass until the body starts to decompose.  That made perfect sense as to why the vultures today acted interested but weren’t “cleaning up” the opossum.  I told hubby that it was hot and humid today and tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the nineties, so I’m betting they will be taking care of business tomorrow.  That is if a fox, coyote, or owl doesn’t carry their prey off tonight.  And that’s very possible because there’s lots of wildlife around here.

Gail 

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Posted in Animals, birds, Daily Prompt, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Perfect- Ed Sheeran

I woke up this morning to this song on the radio and it’s replaying in my head.

Gail 

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Have a Cup of Coffee With Me? (virtual coffee #3)

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Hello!  Come on in and I’ll put the coffee on.  While we’re waiting, we’ll probably chat about the weather.  I’ll probably whine a little, like everyone is doing from these parts here, about how spring just skipped us right by and we went right from cold winter weather to hot summer temperatures.  It’s hot and humid out today and already we’ve had a few days in the 90s.  I shudder to think what July and August will be like.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably ask you if you watched the royal wedding yesterday.  I got up to see Prince Charles and Lady Diana marry in 1981, and I watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, and so yes, yesterday I set my alarm for 5:50 am and I watched the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  And yes, I cried as I always do at weddings.  I do love a good wedding.

And while we’re on the subject of weddings, I’d probably tell you I have a niece who is getting married in June.  She is marrying a great guy and we like him a lot.  He’s such a nice young man.

Meet the happy couple.

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This is when he proposed.  She was totally surprised.

Laura and Hardie proposalThis is one of their engagement pictures.

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My sister and another niece and I gave her a bridal shower this weekend.  It’s been a while since I’ve given a bridal shower and while planning it, I learned just how much weddings have changed in the 30+ years since I planned showers for girlfriends or planned my own wedding (but that’s the subject for another post).

The shower was a lot of fun and I’m so happy for my niece.  Here’s a few photos from the shower for your viewing pleasure.

Here’s the lovely table.  We used a simple white table-cloth with a burlap runner.  Because brides are really into burlap these days, or so I’m told.

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The crystal punch bowl was compliments of my sweet mother-in-law who was gracious enough to let me borrow it.  It belonged to her Great Aunt and is over 100 years old!  It was lovely.

DSCF9335There was lots of good food.  Don’t you love these heart-shaped bowls we used for the nuts and mints?  Perfect for a bridal shower.

DSCF9323 DSCF9358Ham and turkey pinwheel sandwiches.  We had chicken salad croissants too.

DSCF9321It was fun making these fruit kabobs.  They were a big hit!

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DSCF9327These petit fours matched the color scheme of the wedding and oh my, they just melted in your mouth.

DSCF9319And what’s a bridal shower without wedding cookies?

DSCF9326Here’s the bride-to-be (on the left) with her twin sister.  Yes, they’re fraternal twins, not identical, just in case you were wondering.  They’re both lovely young women and I’m proud of them.  The one on the right just finished her first year of veterinary school and Aunt Gail is SO very proud of her.

DSCF9340Here’s the mantle decor and the gift table.

DSCF9337We played three silly games and laughed.

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DSCF9344And then came the gift opening.  The bride-to-be received a lot of nice things to start her married life.

DSCF9351When she opened this framed sign gift, she read it aloud, and said very solemnly, “We will.”  I thought that was sweet and I may or may not have teared up a little.

DSCF9350The bride-to-be lost her dad (my brother-in-law) four months ago. Bob died suddenly and unexpectedly after having surgery.  It’s been very hard for her knowing her dad won’t be there to walk her down the aisle in a few short weeks.  My sister and I wanted to honor him in some way, so we put out some things that he loved.  We wanted to keep it very simple, and show some love in memory of him.  For our niece.  So my sister found this photo and framed it in the sweet frame.  His hobby was Southwestern Indian culture and hunting arrowheads (he loved that so), so we made this little display.  We called it the “Bob table.” See the little dream catcher hanging off the edge of the frame?  See the little arrowheads?  He loved cotton and even grew some, hence the little blue vase with the cotton.

DSCF9315So that was the shower.  It was a success and a good time was had by all.

If we were having coffee today, I’d ask you if you were reading anything good lately.  As usual, I have 2-3 books that I’m in the middle of, but I haven’t picked them up in a while.  Instead of books, lately I’ve been reading blogs.  My son gave me a new iPad tablet over a year ago that I haven’t used much.  So I’m trying to get used to it and I’ve laid in bed well into the wee hours of the morning reading blogs.  Sometimes, I marathon read blogs I follow, from start to finish.

I just finished marathon reading  this blog and I’m glad I did. I’ve followed Julie’s blog for a couple of years now and she’s an excellent writer and I enjoy her blog tremendously.  She’s pretty and smart, and has a wonderful ministry (abstinence speaking to youth) and she has a real gift of teaching the bible.  She’s a dog lover like me and bless her, she just lost her old hound dog a couple of weeks ago (her post about that made me cry), and she’s lost I think three beagles all to cancer.  I think what I like most about Julie is her kind heart and how she’s always respectful in her replies to commenters.  She writes a lot about Christianity and shares her bible study teachings and so sometimes she receives harsh comments from people who don’t share her beliefs.  But she always replies to them with the utmost respect and love.  I like that about her.  I was convicted many times by her posts.  She writes about a variety of subjects, and I love how she takes me on various “field trips” around Michigan.  I have a cousin who lives in Michigan, but I’ve never visited there. After reading Julie’s blog, I think I’d like to visit Michigan some day.  It looks like a beautiful place and I’m mesmerized by the blue skies in Julie’s pictures!  I just don’t think we see blue skies like that here in the south (maybe very rarely but not much) and now I’m curious about why we don’t.  I’m sure there’s a reason and I might have to research that.  The first time I ever saw deep blue skies like that was in my college days, when my dad, who was a pilot, was flying a cardiologist to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota on a Lear Jet. He let me go along for the ride, and we dropped the physician off at the airport and I exited the plane to stretch my legs a bit before we jetted back to Nashville.  I’ll never forget when I stepped off that plane in Minnesota, looking up and seeing beautiful, deep azure-colored skies and commenting to my dad that I had never seen such beautiful blue skies before.  But they’re in Julie’s pictures.  Anyway, check out her blog.  You won’t be sorry.

If we were having coffee today, I’d ask you what your plans for the summer are.  I’d tell you that hubby and I took off three weeks ago to visit our sons who both live 2 1/2 hours away in a different state.  We took them out to dinner both nights we were there and had a good visit, despite hubby getting a bad sore throat on the way down.  I’d tell you that our oldest son is excited about his upcoming trip to Italy.  And so I’d probably ask you to pray for him on his travels.

Well, it sounds like a storm might be coming as I hear the far off sound of thunder and the wind is kicking up a little.  Maybe the rain will help cool things off.  I just checked our heat index and it’s 95.  That’s high for early evening in May.  Thanks for having coffee with me today.  It was fun.

Gail 

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Daily Prompt: Breaking the Law

The prompt word today is “infect” and all that came to mind was this post I wrote several years ago. So here’s a reblog. It’s from my veterinary school days and it’s about a dog who was a patient of mine, and who I fell head over heels in love with, despite our rocky start. So feel free to educate yourself on Transmissible Venereal tumor in dogs.

Moonlight Reflections

Today’s daily prompt

Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?

I’ve never been one to break the law and I try hard to abide by rules.  My parents raised me to be honest and to always obey rules and I’ve pretty much done just that.  I’ve been called a goody-goody by more than one person, but that’s o.k.  I can think of worse things to be called.

As far  as breaking the law, I’ve had a couple of speeding tickets.  For both, I was doing around 42 mph in a 35 mph speed zone (oh the shame)!  I also got pulled over for running a red light which I did not deny to the police officer.  It was one of those situations where the light turned yellow when I was…

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Mammogram Day

I had my annual mammogram today.  I left the house an entire thirty minutes earlier than I usually do because I never know what downtown Nashville traffic will be like.  As I have come to expect, there was the usual road construction and lane closures and policemen stopping traffic, and bumper to bumper automobiles, so I needed every bit of that extra time.

I saw the usual downtown scene that has become a given.  People walking around in cowboy boots and cowboy hats.  I smiled. My sister and I laugh because apparently there’s a whole lot of tourists who think all Nashvillians wear these items (we don’t) and so when they come to Nashville, they think it’s some sort of requisite to don cowboy hats and boots.

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The funny thing, is that I don’t know anyone who lives here that wears them.  I’ve lived here about 58 years and I’ve never even owned (or worn) a pair of cowboy boots or a cowboy hat.  But my sister and I say let the tourists have their fun and anyway, it’s kinda cute.

The mammography center I’m going to started doing 3-D mammograms last year.  This year they had me fill out a form which gave me the option of getting the old 2-D mammogram or 3-D.  The 2-D is fully covered by insurance.  I was told the 3-D is still being “explored” by insurance companies and so is not covered at this time.  I chose the 3-D mammogram like last year, because I was told they’re better at cancer detection and result in less unnecessary call-backs.  That was good enough for me.  This year, I had to pay $40 though for the 3-D. Whatever.

mammography-2416942_960_720The mammogram went fine and I was in and out in 15 minutes once I was called to the back.  For you men readers who may not know this about mammograms, they tell  us women not to wear any deodorant, lotion, or powders to a mammogram appointment.  Apparently, there are teeny tiny metallic particles in these products that can confuse the radiologists when they read mammograms.  I made the mistake only one time of wearing deodorant (because I sweat like a pig when I’m nervous and didn’t want to be all stinky when I arrived).  I had planned to wipe it off in the dressing area prior to my mammogram.  When the grumpy technician found out I had purposefully applied deodorant that morning, you would have thought I’d slapped her grandmother or something the way she carried on so.  She chided me up one side and down another and shoved the baby wipes my way.  I never made that mistake again.

I’ve gone to this mammography center for many years and they always have a box of baby wipes in the dressing rooms and always a can of  Secret® Deodorant aerosol spray.

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Last year, they didn’t have either so today I brought my own.  This year, they had baby wipes but no deodorant.  But after my mammogram today, the technician asked me if I needed any deodorant, that she could get me some if I needed it.  I told her no, I’d brought my own.  Apparently, women steal the deodorant now, so they can no longer keep it in the dressing rooms. Really?  Steal deodorant?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I came home and told hubby that it seems some people will steal anything if it’s not nailed down.  And it’s a crying shame.

It’s like the time many years ago when I noticed  my favorite Meat n’ three had stopped putting Splenda packets on their tables.

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The waitress told me customers kept stealing them and it was getting too expensive for the restaurant, so they had to start keeping it in the back.  I looked at hubby and said I couldn’t believe that people would actually steal Splenda.  That’s sad.  Come on, people.

Then not long after that, hubby and I went to a Chick-fil-A for lunch.  As we sat at a table enjoying our grilled chicken sandwiches, we witnessed a woman who walked in and proceeded to empty the artificial sweetener bin into her purse.  She grabbed handful after handful after handful of the packets and dumped them all into her purse.  And then she did the same thing with the condiments.  Then she waltzed right out the door like it was nothing.  I sat there with my mouth agape not believing what I had just seen.  And I’m sure to her, she was just getting “freebies.”  No, lady, it’s called stealing.

Well, this post had no point really.  Just some of my thoughts from the day.  Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll have something more exciting to write about.  But for now, I’m glad to have that mammogram out of the way…. at least for another year anyway.

Ladies, here’s how I always feel after a mammogram… how about  you? 🙂

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How was your day?  

Gail ♥ 

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Sunday Visiting

My sister called me this past Saturday evening and invited me to go “church visiting” with her and a friend.  My sister loves to visit other churches and she visits not only other Christian denominations but other faiths as well.  She loves to learn and so she visits to get educated about other denominations and other faiths.  Right now, she is taking a conversion course at a Jewish temple, but she made it clear to the rabbi that she has no intentions of converting, that she just wants to learn about Judaism.  The rabbi, who my sister said is so nice, told her they don’t try to force people to convert and that my sister is more than welcome in the class.

My sister and I are cradle Episcopalians.  We’ve attended the same Episcopal church we grew up in for over 50 years.  Our parents quit attending regularly when we were still quite young and so we became sporadic church goers.  I started attending more regularly while I was in college and that’s when I was confirmed.  My mother started attending regularly again not long after that. And then about three years ago, I stopped going to church for reasons I don’t care to discuss.  I decided I wanted to visit other churches too.  Like my sister.  Be more open to learning.

Last year I did some church visits in another denomination that I will admit I was totally not familiar with. I think I wrote in a previous post how out-of-my-comfort-zone I was in doing that.  I was not used to the Broadway lighting, fold-up chairs, live singers on a stage, drums, guitars, ministers in tattered blue jeans, and a slew of video cameras in the back.  I was used to wooden pews, organs and traditional hymns.  I was used to Holy Communion every Sunday with real wine and a common chalice. I was used to priest robes and choir robes, acolytes, crucifers, and Holy processions that gave me goose bumps and sometimes made me weep. I was used to kneeling benches and quiet reverence.  In a nutshell,  I didn’t like the “Broadway production churches” and my visiting ceased.

My sister called last week and asked if I wanted to go visit an old friend with her at a church not far from here.  So we went to this church.

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Episcopal Church of the Epiphany- Lebanon, TN

The interim priest there is Father Peter Whalen, who was our priest for 18 years at the church I attended for so many years. We’ve missed him.  He ministered to my father and our family when my father was dying of cancer.  He presided at his funeral services.  He left our church in 2006 to take a part-time ministry at another church– where he planned to slow down and wind down towards his retirement.  He was at that church 10 years.  My mother passed away right after he left our church but he came back to do her funeral.  We were so grateful.  We knew him and loved him.  This same sister’s husband died four months ago, and he came back to assist with his funeral too and we were grateful again. He has made two attempts at retirement, but always seems to come out of retirement to help a church in need.

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He baptized both my sons on April 3, 1999 at the Easter Vigil service and administered their first communion.  We dearly love him and his dear wife, Barbara.  Nicest people you’ll ever meet.  They are good people, they are.

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Peter and Barbara Whalen

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Peter Whalen and Bishop John Bauerschmidt (eleventh Bishop of the Diocese of Tennessee)

My sister and I enjoyed hugs and visiting Peter and Barbara before the service.  It was good catching up.

Episcopal Church of the Epiphany is a very small church.  There were around 29 in the parish when Father Whalen came in January and now there are around 49. They first asked him to stay for one month.  When that month was up, they asked him to stay two more months.  Now they’ve asked him to stay a year.  Already, people don’t want him to leave.  He’s a people person and people flock to him.

I enjoyed the church service and felt right at home.  It was nice to hear familiar hymns.  Peter told the congregation that he had dear friends from his previous church visiting and joked that we had come to make sure he was still doing his job right.  Since it was Mother’s Day, there was a nice blessing said for mothers after all the mothers were asked to stand.  And then each mother was handed a small gift.

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At coffee hour after the service, the parishioners warmly welcomed us and invited us back for outdoor Pentecost services next Sunday and a barbecue celebration.  I might just take them up on it.

At our church, Peter Whalen used to teach a “Welcome to the Episcopal Church” class (also called confirmation class).  I took the class as a refresher.  I was totally amazed and blown away at how much I learned. The next time it was offered, I took it again.  And then again.  And I learned something new and different each and every time.  I was reaffirmed twice in the Episcopal Church. Peter Whalen had an amazing gift for teaching.  I “got” things when he taught.

I remember Father Whalen saying one time that ministers don’t have all the answers and that people needed to realize that they are just humans too.  I never forgot that.

Peter Whalen started his ministry as a Catholic priest.  But he felt an emptiness and decided he wanted to marry.  So he left the Catholic priesthood for the Episcopal priesthood where he’s remained ever since.   He said he knew that God had given him the grace and the talents to serve Him in the Church and at the same time called him to the state of marriage and he’s been able to fulfill both of those in the Episcopal church. He is 78 years old, still happily married to Barbara, and still sharing his ministry gift.  He would tell you he’s slowing down, but you wouldn’t know it.

Yes, I think I will start visiting churches again.  I’ll keep you posted and I might just share my journey along the way.

Gail 

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Five Books That Made Me Cry

I’ll start by saying this list could have easily been much longer, but I decided for the sake of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I’d cut it off at five.

I’m a sensitive soul (or so I’ve been told) and I cry easily while reading books or watching movies, but I certainly don’t cry over every book I read.  I didn’t cry when I read The Book Thief and I had heard it was a real tear-jerker.  I also didn’t cry when I read The Art of Racing in the Rain, despite being told that I would.  And it’s a sad dog book!

What makes me cry when I read a book?  Sometimes, it’s just that I really identify with the characters or what’s going on in the story or it’s that I’ve experienced the same thing the characters have.  Sometimes it’s just emotional for me when a character overcomes major obstacles.  Sometimes it’s just painfully sad what some characters go through.  And sometimes, I just don’t know.

But these five books particularly got to me.  Here they are in no particular order.

Cutting for Stone- by Abraham Verghese

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I read this book about five years ago for a book club I was in at the time.  I really, really LOVED this book.  I’ll definitely read it again some day.  This book is both a love story and a story about medicine.  I do believe this book forced me to feel every single human emotion that there is.  It made me laugh more than once and it had me sobbing at the end.  I felt such a connection with the characters in this book that I actually felt very sad when the book ended, for I felt that I was losing good friends and I would miss them (it’s truly a good author that can pull that off, don’t you think)?  I remember thinking about this book and its characters long after it ended.  If you like medicine (and I do), you’ll probably enjoy this book.  There is some pretty graphic medical descriptions (of surgery and such) so if you’re squeamish, beware.  Our book club enjoyed this book.

A Dog’s Purpose- by W. Bruce Cameron

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Another one of those sappy dog books.  Honestly, this book touched me when I read it this past summer, and made me cry 4-6 different times from beginning to end.  I’ve had other sensitive friends who have read it and said they didn’t cry one time.  So there ya go.  Each to his own.

This story is told from the perspective of the dog which makes it very different from all “the other dog books.”  I never watched the movie after I read the book.  (There was not enough Kleenex in the world). 🙂

I found out about this book from a friend who attended the same church as I did and who was in the same book club group I was in.  Jane wanted our book club group to read it and we had intentions to, but for some reason, we never got around to it.  She loved this book.  My friend Jane died three years ago from cancer.  I really wished after I read the book, that I had taken her advice and read it when she suggested it, because I really do think I would have loved discussing it with her.  I suspect that was part of the reason I was so emotional when reading this book.  But it’s a good story and if you love dogs, you’ll totally get it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever lost a dog.  It’s just a wonderful book.

Where the Red Fern Grows- by Wilson Rawls

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I read this tale of a boy and his two dogs to my two sons when they were in elementary school.  It was written when I was only two years old, back in 1961.  My sons loved it and I knew after reading it to them that it would have a permanent place on our bookshelf.  I reread it several years later.  It’s full of adventure and love and it choked me up in the end.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World- by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

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Okay, maybe I should have titled this post, “Books About Animals That Made Me Cry.”

This was another book chosen by our book club.  I’m both a cat lover and a dog lover.  I read this book when I was anticipating the death of my own geriatric cat (big mistake).  I remember being thankful my hubby was at work when I read the ending of this book.  I cried sobbed so hard, I literally had to put the book down and go get some Kleenex and get ahold of myself.  My chest ached from crying so hard over this book!

Honestly, I loved this book and how I would have loved to have met little Dewey in person.  I told my husband that one day, I want to go visit “Dewey’s library” in Iowa and see his grave. Oops… I just sorta gave away the ending, didn’t I?  My book club friends enjoyed this book too but they didn’t find it as sad as I did.  One of them even told me she couldn’t believe that I sobbed while reading it.  She didn’t shed a tear.  So I really think it has something to do with having a 19-year-old frail cat when I read it.

Having said how much I loved this book, I did not like Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions, a follow-up book to this one.  I was excited to find a like-new copy of it in Goodwill one day.  The title skewed me into believing it was another book about Dewey. You know, more stories about that wonderful cat.  (I got the Kleenex ready– what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment).  But it was stories about other cats and their owners. I was greatly disappointed.  Some of them were good stories, but I wanted more of my boy Dewey.  Dewey understood people so well.  I loved that cat so.

If you’re a cat-lover, you’ll love the first Dewey book. And if you’re not particularly a cat-lover, well, I think you’ll still love it.

The Story of My Life- by Helen Keller 

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I really enjoy reading autobiographies and memoirs and this was definitely one of my favorite autobiographies.  I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with Helen Keller since watching The Miracle Worker (1962 film) in black and white TV which starred Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller. It used to come on TV once a year when I was growing up.  I never missed it.

I think I cried not because this book was particularly sad, but more out of astonishment and the awe I had over the challenges that Helen Keller was able to overcome in her life being both blind and deaf.  She was amazing and inspiring.

Back in the summer of 2003, when my sons were 13 and 10, we took the advice of our oldest son’s middle school science teacher, and packed our sons’ bags, forked over a lot of money, and sent them to Huntsville, AL for a week of Space CampBest. Decision. Ever.  Hubby and I and my in-laws said goodbye to our boys and we stayed in the Marriott on the Space Camp property, sitting by the pool soaking up the sun and enjoying some rest and relaxation while my sons had a blast living the life of an astronaut and filling their brains with all things space.

When camp ended, we decided that we would visit Tuscumbia, AL, the hometown of Helen Keller.  So we drove the approximate one hour and twenty-minute drive, and visited Ivy Green, the home Helen Keller grew up in.  I loved everything about that visit (despite that it rained buckets while we were there).  In fact, we were the only ones there that morning.  The hostesses, who were so nice and kind, were the epitome of southern hospitality.  And they answered all my thousands of questions about Helen Keller!  For the longest time, every time I’d go to tell someone about touring Helen Keller’s house and museum, the things I learned about her, and how meaningful it was to see the real, actual water pump where the world opened up to Helen, I cried.  I admit, it was strange, and I kinda didn’t really understand it myself.

Oh you just don’t know how hard it was to stop at just five books!  

I’m curious…  What books have made you cry?  I’d love to hear about them so share away if you’d like in the comment section below.  

Gail ♥ 

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