Jack was our 17-year-old.  Our cat from Oregon.  We picked him out on Dad’s Mountain one Thanksgiving trip and brought him home as little cat.  He grew into a great big fat cat and amused us for many years.  Jack wasn’t the smartest of cats.  His inbreeding showed through in his slight naiveté and propensity to vomit when he could see the white at the bottom of his food dish.  But he was my Pumpkin, so nicknamed for being my Thanksgiving Kitten.  He was my purring cat who followed me into the bathroom every single morning.  I’d pet him and he’d purr.  He’d sit on the toilet for petting while I brushed my teeth and then he’d join me in the kitchen for his breakfast while I made my coffee. We’d go our separate ways after this, until later when we’d meet back up.

Jack liked to vomit.  Much and often.  Through his life, this was his hobby.  Vomit and purring.  He also liked to lick when getting scratched.  Lick lick lick.  STOP LICKING ME! I’d yell at him in frustration.  And then I’d pet him some more and he’d contain his licking for a bit. 

Jack slept for at least half his night each night with his ass curled into my stomach.  He didn’t like to be held there or cuddled.  Just his ass, my stomach.  And purring and licking. 

Over the past year, Jack lost a lot of his fat. Rather than people laughing at him, they just thought he looked normal. I knew it was old catness, though.  Last weekend, his stomach got big and hard. He acted normal, but he couldn’t be.  His stomach looked like he had a litter of unmoving kittens.  Last night he wandered a lot.  He was with me, with William, with Jones. 

This morning, I asked Marc to take him to the vet.  Marc thought he was constipated (he also has a propensity for this), but I knew it wasn’t.  I knew it was bad.  This was my living link to Dad’s Mountain and I knew it was over and that it was time to say goodbye.  Which I did last night while we listened to the thunder and this morning in the bathroom during our morning time together.

Rest in Peace, Jack.  Grampa has a lap and a pain-free petting hand waiting for you. 

My local genealogical society, Livermore-Amador GenealogicalSociety, asked two of us to be speakers for the May meeting.  The topic was Self-Publication Process.  Jane Southwick and I both have books that we wrote, but we both went about publishing two different ways.  The gist of our presentation was showing the audience two different routes to get to the same end result (although Jane’s was much nicer looking!).

I enjoyed speaking and I have to say that I felt like I was in my living room talking to family.  It’s such a warm, loving, supportive group and I love sharing with them.  Jane did a terrific job sharing how she worked with Stories to Tell Books.  What most impressed me about Jane was her speaking style.  She used a full written speech, but didn’t read it.  She was just wonderful with eye contact and clear speaking.  I was very proud and in awe.  Top that off with the amazing book she wrote and all I can say is that she is my hero.

The editor of our newsletter, Roots Tracer, asked Jane and I to write an article of our speeches for those that don’t attend.  Once I do that, I will link to it here.

Here are Jane and I speaking: