The Birdwatchers

Our cats Trixie and Sam rest on a blanket on a chest beside a backyard window of our house in September 2019

Sam and Trixie rest after an afternoon of birdwatching at the window. With the heat finally breaking we can open the windows, Trixie, Sam, and Boo are watching quail outside my window now. It pains me on many levels that Emma died young and never made it to Arizona, all of the cats loved watching wildlife but none as much as Em. I suspect we would have had to put her in a straitjacket as the antics of the large families of quail that come to feed would have overloaded her with excitement. What sounds she would have made to welcome her visitors!

For Loretta

Our black cat Emma lays on her side on the ottoman in my office of our house in Portland, Oregon in August 2013

We didn’t bring my love seat from Portland as the affections of one dog and five cats had taken its toll over the years, especially from Emma (sleeping here on the matching ottoman in August of 2013). My wife also needed a sofa for her office in the den so she started looking while I was at work. We found a nice sofa for my office at a secondhand store and then tried a few other stores before visiting the store with a sofa my wife had seen and liked quite a bit, she wanted to see if I liked it as well.

The woman who helped her was named Loretta, we were introduced and she showed us a few options. She was the sort of salesperson you are lucky to find, she listened to what we wanted and guided us to the furniture they had that would work best for us. Not only did she not try to give us a hard sell to get us into an expensive custom set, she didn’t even give us a soft sell, rather after seeing that we both fit best on a reduced price floor model she happily sold that to us despite of how much less of a commission she must have gotten.

We also wanted an ottoman so she setup an appointment with my wife to go over the options and again, after listening to what we wanted, found one I think we’ll like and helped choose the colors. When they had the wrong phone number for us, because she lived kind of in this direction she stopped by the house to get the right number so there wouldn’t be any confusion or delays.

She was thinking of moving to Portland, her fiancĂ© lives there, and I hoped they would be as happy there as we had been. Sadly it is not to be as we found out she died unexpectedly Thursday night. Given how briefly our lives had touched I was surprised how taken aback I was by the news. Given the past few months I’ve been worn out mentally and physically but she was kind and attentive and made everything so pleasant for both of us.

Here’s to Loretta and all those who are kind to strangers, not because of how much they’ll benefit, but because it’s who they are. If only briefly, I’m thankful we met.

Distraction

A silhouetted Gambel's quail sings atop a granite rock before an orane sky at Sunset Vista in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

Trixie has wanted to play endlessly since Ellie died but as we played the other morning she got distracted first by a tiger whiptail then by a Gambel’s quail feeding and calling out just below the windowsill. I can’t say I blame her, a week ago I had my route planned out but spent so much time watching this Gambel’s quail singing as the sun was about to rise that I changed my plans and hiked closer trails to take advantage of the early morning light.

Emma Beats the Heat

Our black cat Emma rests on the glass table on the patio in our backyard in Portland, Oregon

In July 2011, Emma beats the summer heat during her supervised backyard time by sleeping on the glass table on our patio. While the heat in Oregon was nothing compared to what we get in Arizona, we didn’t have air conditioning, so there wasn’t much you could do on the hottest days to cool down, especially when you had a lovely coat of fur.