It's only got five weeks to go, but we bid 2013 good riddance. It's been like a year-long store closing: "Everything Must Go!" We did not, as usual, make several vacation plans in February; we must have had an inkling that would not work this go-round.
Things started out fairly well; we spent some time in June house-sitting for brother Ron and Claire in California, which is hard to beat. Even the usual "June Gloom" foggy and overcast weather was only partially present, and N. made an impressive multiple-flight trek midway through that time to surprise her brother on his retirement in Kentucky. And I guess to end the year on a like high note, they (brother Tom and his wife Cherry) will be here for Thanksgiving. And how lucky are we to have a chef son to prepare a dozen-course feast for all of us? The weather won't be good but we won't be going anywhere for 24 hours after that.
The losses between those points have been staggering. Mom passed away in the hospital in Florida, Dad got sick at the same time and never returned home, going from local hospital to rehab center to the nursing home here near us. We cleared out and sold their home during the summer, ending their 17-year sojourn amongst the palm trees. At least they got to live their retirement dream for a considerable time.
Our nine-year-old tuxedo cat, Gilligan, was struck by a blood clot which paralyzed his hind legs and there was no way to save him -- and we would have not considered the cost if there had been a way. His playmate, three-year-old Blackberry, has been despondent ever since. Chasing a paper ball just can't compare to successfully ambushing his senior mentor from around the corner of the sofa.
That all should have been enough. But recently B. B. Bunny (that was short for "Big Boy"), our sweet old rabbit, passed away just from old age at twelve and a half years, peacefully next to his box homes. He was never sick once, never had to live in a cage, and was a wascally wabbit until the final days. I finally removed all the devices I had installed in his half of the basement to keep him from eating up another dryer vent hose or getting stuck behind the furnace yet again.
The boy loved to be petted -- would quiver with delight and lick your skin off -- and loved to eat even more. He was just as delighted today with his shredded wheat squares as yesterday or last year; flew to his bowl for the morning blueberries, and made it clear he liked carrot tops over the orange root part by leaving the latter for eating the next day when everything else was gone. I don't think any child at Christmas was more excited about presents than he was about a couple slices of fresh pear. We finally hit on the idea of shredded paper for litter (which we used an enormous amount of) after going through several sorts of bought types in gigantic bags. Document security, junk mail disposal and bathroom efficiency all taken care of at once.
Old B. B. is buried out front near the big holly tree, the last of five rabbits who have lived here. I found him at PetSmart one day in an adoption display put up by the rescue group Bunny People. It was funny he had the Silver Marten color pattern even though the rest of his family (all there, rescued from a photographer's back yard after being "used" for the Easter season) was tan and white. I looked in; he came up and practically jumped up in my hands. I went through the store with the little guy on my shoulder, adopted him with a phone call, and he lived the rest of a long and happy life here, never leaving.
His life circle will be completed tomorrow, when I take his leftover food, hay and bowl back to the rescue group's adoption display at PetSmart to donate it. What a year.