A-Z: The Queen

Oddibe came first. He watched me from across the road, as he sat beneath the old cedar trees. Our eyes met; we bonded. It didn’t matter that I already had two indoor cats and two dogs. I became Oddibe’s human.


He was already an old tomcat, and obviously not neutered. He was King of the Road. I called him “Oddibe”, because he “ought to be” somewhere else. He would come to my window at night. Sitting on the porch rail, he would tap on my window screen. He knew I would then get up and go outside to feed him. Our midnight rendezvous began right after we bought our rural lake house. Neighbors swore they had never seen him before.

Soon, Oddibe brought his Queen with him. She was a petite little thing, and very young. Quite feral, she trusted only Oddibe, following him everywhere. She quickly learned that food was found at our house. She became “Echo”, because she kept coming back.

Young Echo

By Spring, Oddibe and Echo had a little grey kitten. She would blend into the shadows of the cedar trees, so she was called “Shade”. Echo would bring her shrews and chipmunks. She tried to teach Shade to hunt. They were entertaining to watch. By now Echo trusted me. She taught Shade to come to our porch and eat from the bowls, too.

Oddibe & Shade

During the day, Oddibe would go off to do his tomcat business. At night, he would still come to my window. He also watched over his family. Elusive, existing in the shadows, for the most part, they lived this way for a couple of years. Survival was their mindset; I was their safe haven.

Then, there came a time when Oddibe was missing. The girls came alone for several weeks. When Oddibe finally appeared on my porch, he was emaciated and very weak. I quickly put him in a crate, which was never a possibility before. I knew it was serious when I took him to the vet that Saturday night.

The vet grimly told me that Oddibe was probably close to twenty years old. He then gave me the diagnosis that I feared. Oddibe had cancer. At his advanced age, surgery was not a realistic option. He would not survive even the anesthesia, but the cancer was obviously too advanced. Late that night, in the vet’s treatment room, I lost a very special friend.

I cried all the way home, and throughout the funeral we held for him. I missed him. Echo and Shade surely did, too. They would sit under the cedar trees as if waiting for Oddibe to join them. They looked somehow lost and lonely, their little faces questioning me.

For years, they came together, alone, and sometimes with kittens. We rescued many of those kittens, finding forever homes, and keeping some. But, others would just disappear. After a few years, Shade disappeared, too. It broke my heart.

Echo would stay away when in heat or when she had kittens hidden. We were never able to trap her. Her sense of survival and dedication to her family was acute. Tomcats came and went, though none were like Oddibe. Most were haggard, mean, very wild, and entirely feral.

Queen Echo
When Echo was about 12, she went missing for about a week. I knew she did not have kittens and became very worried. Then, one morning quite early, she appeared. She was as happy to see me as I was her! I quickly filled her bowls with food and water. Watching her eat, I assessed her health. I noticed her rear left leg hanging at an odd angle. It seemed to be very loose. I knew something was very wrong.

I scooped her into a crate. Though her first time, she did not fuss. We went right to the vet, where Echo was overwhelmed by the entire experience. However, she was the regal Queen. An exam and x-rays showed that there was nothing but bone chips between Echo’s hip and foot. Her foot was intact, and her hip was fractured. But, the entire leg had been shattered by a hollow point bullet.

Hollow Point bullet:
Note the mushrooming effect


Hollow point bullets are used by law enforcement and military personnel. Their purpose is to kill in a drastic, surefire manner. A hollow point bullet increases its size once it enters its target, and it remains there. It expands inside and does not pass through, creating extensive damage. This usually results in blood loss and/or shock, and thus death. Echo was a six-pound cat. She was also a miracle.

I had a choice to make. Echo had to be put to sleep or have her leg amputated. She had lived outside her entire life, free, doing whatever she wanted to do, wherever she wanted to do it. I saw her living the life of a wild thing, and happy to be that way.

If Echo’s leg was removed, she would become our indoor cat. She hated other cats. We would have to make her a home in the secure basement. She would be safe under our supervision. Could she be happy this way? Could we put her down, let her go because of someone else’s cruelty? We had loved her and being trusted by her for over 12 years!

There was no choice, really. She had the surgery and came home to live out her last five golden years inside our warm house. Echo had her favourite pillow and blanket. She took over the sofa in the basement. She flew up and down the basement stairs. She maintained immaculate litter manners. She appreciated it all.

We promised her she would be safe and secure for the rest of her life. She was special. We were amazed that she made the transitions so easily. From outdoor to indoor cat, and four legs to three legs, she never changed. She was the same little, petite, sweet, gentle Echo that she had always been.

When Echo passed over the Rainbow Bridge, she was well over 17 years old. She developed cancer but went quickly and without pain. We were left with the pain of her absence. Her loss was felt deeply.

Aging Echo

Echo’s life had been full. We had kept our promise to Oddibe, by keeping watch over Echo. Her golden years were also safe and secure; we kept our promise to her. And, The Queen’s memory still echoes in our hearts.

~McGuffy Ann Morris


“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing
L= The Loan
M= Mirror
N= Number
O= Ozark
P= Peabody


For the Love of Chloe Jo


Chloe Jo is having a rough time. Her last vet visit did not go well. The exam revealed some problems that needed immediate attention. She had to stay in the hospital for treatment and monitoring. One of her vet techs took this picture of her seeking refuge under the cage paper. Chemo has been increased. Thankfully, she is home, now.


Chloe Jo’s prognosis is very limited. If we can stabilize her, she may have up to two years. Our main concern is her quality of life. She deserves to be happy every day of her life. That is what we will be working on. It is all about her. It is all for the love of Chloe Jo. Always.

A-Z: Mirror

The mirror will not hold lies.
The truths are there, in her face.
A map of lines etched by time and sorrow,
it shows not where she is going,
but where she has been.
The mirror cannot reflect what is in her heart,
hidden in yesterday’s shadows.
She remains guarded, ready to withdraw,
to fold within herself, to survive.
She knows that the lines in her face are nothing
compared to the breaks in her heart.
Tears follow the lines on her face,
channels carrying sorrow away from her heart.
She closes her eyes in silent resignation.
Having nothing left to give, she gives up.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

With age, I learned that tears release many emotions. But, I also have come to realize that tears can cleanse our spirits.


“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing
L= The Loan


Friendly Fill-ins: Week 101

We are happy you are here for another week of friendly sharing! As always, you can find the fill-ins here and at 15andmeowing.com each Thursday. On Fridays, we post the link for sharing. Please link your post as directed. You can answer in the comment if you need to. Try to visit other blogs, when you can.

We are reaching the halfway point in the A-Z Blog Challenge. Yea for hanging in there. I have so much on my plate right now, that it is more like spilled alphabet soup! However, I am keeping my sense of humour, in spite of the burns (of said soup). I also stand by the fact that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

I need to mention the purple Sarcoidosis badge in my sidebar. April is Sarcoidosis Awareness Month. I have chronic Sarcoidosis, affecting my lymph system and lungs. Chronic Sarcoidosis is a difficult autoimmune disease that can affect any system, but almost always the lungs. Bernie Mac died from complications of Sarcoidosis. With Rheumatoid disease and Sarcoidosis, I get knocked down occasionally (like now). I have had both of these for twenty-five years or more. As the Japanese proverb teaches, fall down seven times, get up eight!

Whatever trials you are having, I hope you find strength and peace. Reach out to someone that you trust. We all have moments of weakness. It is part of the human condition. So, be there for someone else, too. There is love and strength in that, as well.

May you enjoy a wonderful weekend. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

Here are my weekly completed fill-ins:

1. Living life keeps me extremely busy. It is meant to be lived, of course! But, I really am looking forward to things slowing down, even if it is just a little. But, I am also keeping a positive attitude no matter what!

2. I believe that integrity is the secret to inner peace. I have found that being genuine and authentic to one’s beliefs, as well as sensitive to others, allows for a clear conscience. I take this to heart and make sure to keep it real, even when it may not be easy. And, it is not always easy. Namaste.


3. A friend is someone who allows you to be yourself, without question or judgment. They will appreciate you just as you are. I have been reminded recently just how important this is.

yurbak - Copy

4. Right now, I am thankful for my friends, including all of my blog friends. Your kindness, prayers, and encouragement have been invaluable. I am very human. Life has been very busy, lately. But, friends are a key element in how one copes. Thank you. Group hug!



Now, it’s your turn.FFBadgeClick here to add your link to the Linky list.

A-Z: The Loan



Jeff had a good thing but didn’t appreciate it. Bob saw a good thing and did.

Bob said, “Let me borrow twenty bucks to take her out on a date.”

Jeff replied, “She won’t go, but if she does keep the twenty bucks.”

He never had to repay the loan.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

This was the first piece of flash fiction that I ever wrote. Poetry has always been a labour of love. It is my agony and ecstasy. Fiction is something I just read…until blogging introduced me to prompts.

I know firsthand how prompts can get your creative energy going. Prompts are great tools. They can be used as exercises when in between pieces, or just as a break from your usual routine. I have several stories that were started but left unfinished. They will eventually become a story or poem.

The Loan was written for a weekly writing challenge. We were to write five lines inspired by a given word prompt. The word prompt behind this story was: awkward. This story came easily because it is true. I am the “she” in the story. The rest is history. In fact, it was the beginning of some great things!


“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing


A-Z: Believe


Winter had set into their lives with age. Cold seeped into their bones, as drafts seemed to whisper of what was to come. Their time on earth was fading, as time together on the old farm was slipping away quickly.

She asked how she would go on without him, as she fussed over his medication and keeping him comfortable. He told her that he would always be there. He would always be a part of her life. She said she wasn’t sure of that. How could she hold onto that, as she could him? He assured her that she would see reminders, and would know he was still there. He promised her and said she only had to believe.

One bitter morning when she awoke, he was gone. In the night he had drifted away, leaving her alone. The cold was deeper, and the night was darker now. Winter seemed it would never end. She again wondered how she could go on without him.  She could only feel the harsh loneliness of his absence.

Finally, spring came, but she only had more to do now. As she went about her endless chores, she suddenly noticed the sunshine. Looking up, she saw the birds nesting in the full green trees. Beneath her feet, she felt the lush green grass again. Life was coming back to the farm, and to her.

From somewhere deep within her heart, she recalled his words. He would always be with her; she just had to believe.

Story & Photo:  McGuffy Ann Morris

This is a story of fiction. However, this couple is near and dear to my heart. Being married for thirty-seven years I understand the depth of this love. As I age, I understand the fears of losing that love. Love does not conquer all, but it can become our purpose. Love can give us reason to continue, even when we think we can’t go on. Deep and abiding love surpasses even death. I believe. Do you?


“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments





First Date

Most of us can remember first dates. This scenario can apply to many kinds of new relationships, really. There is always the planning and trying to put our best self forward. We want to be thought of in a special, positive way. We too often try to be perfect. But, of course, we aren’t.

Thank goodness. Because, our date, and friends, are not ever perfect, either. Eventually, it all comes out. The imperfections and shortcomings are pretty universal. When those glorious imperfections are all revealed, they often show us in a unique light. Sometimes it is those little imperfections that actually make us special. That is when magic happens.


Chloe Jo’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


From her very first days of life, Chloe Jo has had serious health issues. She had respiratory problems as early as two days old. It was necessary for me to do chest thumps on her to keep her lungs clear. Her lungs and sinuses suffered serious infection and permanent scarring.

All of her life, unusual health issues have plagued her. She has consistently fought kidney issues, including stones. Her kidneys are too small, while her bladder is oddly shaped. Gastrointestinal issues have also been a battle for Chloe Jo. Digestion and constipation have wreaked havoc on her.

When she is stabilized, Chloe Jo feels good and is happy. When she becomes restless and irritable, we know something is wrong. Often, it is not clear-cut. Sometimes, it takes a little detective work. But, it is all about making Chloe Jo happy!

Recently, we noted that Chloe Jo was restless, grouchy, and not her usual sunny self. Then, she began having some abdominal pain. We knew the intestinal issues were flaring up. It seemed this situation was worsening, though.

For the past two days, Chloe Jo has been in the hospital.  A complete work-up and more in-depth studies were done. In an effort to find what is causing her such distress, she was thoroughly examined. The results are not good. In fact, these results break our hearts. Chloe Jo has been diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Lymphoma. She will begin chemotherapy today, but she will be allowed to come home. The prognosis will be determined by her response to chemotherapy.

I cannot tell you how this has shaken us. Chloe Jo is the BabyCat. Her illness as a newborn caused her to remain emotionally preserved as a kitten. She loves being held, on her back, in the crook of your left arm. She will stay like that as she watches TV or listens to music. Music calms and soothes her, especially if it is Dad playing guitar.

Please offer up a prayer for Chloe Jo. And, thank you for your patience.This has taken an obvious toll on my visiting for the past couple of weeks. I will be working on that, as I also get ready for the A-Z Challenge. Positive distractions can be a good and healthy thing. We will make sure to keep Chloe Jo entertained, too.

We thank you for your prayers and support, and Chloe Jo thanks you, too. Hugs.