The Star-News


Family comes and goes...and so do pets

Sat, Jun 29 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

Probably one of the oldest expressions in any language is “My how time does fly.”  This comes to mind because in September we will have lived in this house for 54 years.  We have seen kids go from kindergarten age to college graduates.  We have seen the adults who first moved in go from young citizens trying to make a buck to old citizens still trying to make a buck.

Since we wish to write a bit about pets we would also have to state that we have seen a number of critters come and go over the years, some endeared but most simply endured at least for their lifetime which, in the case of some of the domestic type, is not too long. The pets here run the gamut from a dog, in the beginning, to a family of cats at the present, with quite a few other varieties in between.

I think we had lived here a month or so when our first pet, a dog, became part of the household.  We acquired this dog in a strange manner.  It was part of a litter from a dog that belonged to the Parchman family.  And the strange part of this scenario, in this late date, was that we lived on the opposite side of the hill from the Parchmans.
In retrospect I think this was mostly due to the intervening of the hill’s patriarch at that time, a fellow named Sam Bailey.  Bailey, you see, was close to 90 years old when we first knew him but he acted as if he was 65.  He, for example, did not drive. But he would make periodic walks to Chula Vista to buy groceries and other household staples.  Now perhaps it was the eccentricities of this aged gentleman that gave him the authority to dole out puppies and even name them.  Maybe one of these days I will know for sure.

One of the best portions of this pet owning  period was the horsey years.  Our first horse was Trixie, actually daughter, Margaret’s pet.  Trixie could have been dubbed “the old grey mare” excepting she was a roan.  She was a gentle animal, well along in years who probably had ailments of which no one was aware.  She finally ended up confined to pasture because of a bowed tendon.  I learned many “horsy” expressions in those days.  In her days as part of this household, however, she did her share as one of the main attractions in the Bonita Valley Saddle Club.  Margaret’s room in those days was liberally festooned with ribbons representing various places in the many categories in the horse shows.

We had one other horse, actually a pony, a pinto named Cochise, dubbed  for the famed Indian chief.  Cochise (the pony) could be described as plain mean.  He would have made his namesake a pansy if one were making comparisons.  Cochise was daughter Coni’s horse who would, after Saturday morning rides, tearfully beseech me to find the nearest glue factory.  I, of course, never did and Cochise ended his days getting fat and sassy at my expense.
As in most households the kids left and with them went most semblances of pets.  Oh, I think that over the years Zula picked up a bird or a fish or two but seldom any animal that made a lasting impression.  It is this thought that makes me wonder what she would say today.  I have, in the past couple of months, acquired a family of cats, not due to my efforts but simply by default.  As near as my neighbors and I can determine someone dropped off a black, female cat, slightly pregnant in the neighborhood and she has established permanent residence at my place.  And to do what cats are prone to do, that is, the pregnant ones, added four more to the feline population of the nation.

So if you see an old fellow walking up Bonita Road toward Chula Vista do not fret.  It is only me shopping for cat food, and other household staples.


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