If you ask my mother she will tell you, "I don't own any cats.”
If you ask me, I can tell you, "Maybe not, but they sure own her.”
At any rate I have found out you can learn a lot from a cat – especially the orange kitties that frequent my mother’s front door. The biggest surprise is the amount of water they drink, and though they are always looking for something more or different than dry cat food they are also very particular about what they will eat.
Putting out leftovers, mom’s cats, as I call them, don't mess around with "sweet things,” artificial anything, or greasy things like gravy on potatoes. We could take it as a lesson we should all adhere to. They would drink a certain amount or kind of milk, but my mother doesn't give them milk often because she read someplace it isn't good for cats.
Recently she tried some out-dated sardines, but those cats turned up their cute little noses and left them for the dog that frequents my mothers front door. The "Garbage Dog" takes care of anything the cats leave behind. The cats are friendly and cordial but also a little leery of anyone getting too close to them. Those really cold days we have had recently were a conflict for my mother. Though I can remember we had our share of canaries, parakeets, aquarium fish and even puppy dogs. My mother says she has too many memories of newborns, orphaned, or unwanted baby pigs and lambs and other livestock that wouldn't have survived if there hadn't been room for them in a box by the old cookstove back when she was a kid.
Saving them wasn't just a humane effort – it was often necessary when farmers had to depend on income from animals. That was before electricity and heat lamps that gave them the necessary warmth, but the memory lingers on.
During one of our earlier cold spells this winter, my mother froze the end of her fingers on her right hand. She was out on the front porch making a shelter for the benefit of the cats she “doesn't own.” She will tell you she wasn't out there that long, but the cruel temperature that day did a number on her fingers that required medical attention. Frost blisters which have fluid inside could cause infection. It took a while for the blisters on my mother’s fingers to quit weeping. Eventually they did dry out and new skin and nails took their place. After being cautioned by the doctor about only going outside from the house to the car, and with warm gloves on – my mother is taking the orders to heart. Though it is just something in the past now, I still see her working her fingers after being outside because they tingle.
Like most kids I could write a whole lot about my mother but she would say that nobody would believe it – I’m not so sure about that.
My mother’s grandson, Kade, just asked her, "Did you learn your lesson? That is what you would ask ME!" She sheepishly laughed and said, "I remember those early days when some (not so smart) adults had an enjoyable snowmobile potluck picnic in the gravel pit, west of Geneva, when the wind chill was 35 degree below zero and we thought that we had a really good time."
I guess they were younger and more hardy back then. The cold weather and snow, and the snowmobiles, seemed to bring out a lot of memories and laughter whenever they get together and share talk about those evening and weekend rides.
Where does time go so fast? That was before they opened I-35 and the highway still ran through the heart of Geneva. I was in high school and the high school band was asked to be a part of the official ribbon cutting ceremony, back in the late 60s. Would little Geneva have prospered and grown if the highway had continued to go through the heart of Geneva or would it have spoiled the quiet tranquility and friendly atmosphere that makes Geneva what it is?
Going way back, my grandmother would have been able to tell you about when Geneva was a multi-task, self sufficient town. A stagecoach would stop in Geneva during their run between Albert Lea and Red Wing and beyond - but then that is another whole story.
It would be about legal immigrants who came here years ago because of the economics they were experiencing in their foreign country. Life history is not always told in history books. Our newspaper talks about the stories of local happenings and people - past and present. Isn't that what it is really all about?
Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, March 13: Joanna Ver Hey, David Mangskau, Lynda Kruckeberg, Darla Waltz, Jessica Liverseed, Craig Lunning, Tony Tonsing
• Friday, March 14: National Potato Chip Day! Laura Katherine Worrell, Connor Duane Klemmsensen, his 6th; Sierra Christine Krause, her 4th; Brian Cerney, Brent Huber, Marcia Hutchins, Lee LoverinkMary Finch, Kathy Molenaar, Trevor Titus
• Saturday, March 15: Angie Haberman Lyman, Marvel Beiser, Andy Ditlevson, Robin Jepson, Judy Lunning, Tim Phagan, Steve Clausen, Tony Motl, Julie Peterson, Don & Cindy Gould
• Sunday, March 16: Ava Pospesel, Blair Pospesel, Al Batt, Cortnee Langlie, Judy Waage, Tyler Lewis Hagenbrock, Jackson Taylor William Churchill, Harold & Pat Wayne, Hugh & Karen O'Byrne
• Monday, March 17: St. Patricks' Day, Ashley Marie Hagen, Shannon Weckwerth Pacholl, Mike Cady, Dakota Ray Janning, Nicole Hanna, Patrick Wobschall, Harvey Zicafoose, Mandy Galbraith, Joel Hill, Jenifer Jensen Pietari, Carol Scott, Kevin & Marsha Jensen
• Tuesday, March 18: Ashley Marie Hagen, Lynn Sommer Eaton, Chad Cornelius, Randy Brandt, Michelle Bartness, Dan Enzenauer, Matthew Larson, Wanda Stanley, Kent Toft, Matt & Jennifer Van Hal, Dean & Sue Westrum
• Wednesday, March 19: Samuel Bartness, his 1st; LaVern Klocek, Jill Rye, Jill Neitzell, Tyler Crabtree, Bethany Butler, Tori Lynn Sage, Wyatt Marcus Westergrin
Surprise somebody. Call someone. Send a card and make their day. Little things mean a lot.