Sometimes it seems like we grieve more for the loss of a pet than we do for humans! For those who read the posts on this blog, you know how fond I became of a little girl kitty named Figaro. She was an adventurous little cat who lived on the farm of Tony, a friend whose family I enjoy visiting.
Last Thanksgiving, I was hanging out with Tony’s clan. It was a rough period. After Mom’s tragic death following Thanksgiving 2010, it was good to be with friends. I felt welcomed by the humans and animals. Figaro immediately adopted me. She stayed in the van that cold night, slept near my head, and purred virtually the whole time. If ever a cat was born that would have been a good “van-imal”, it would have been her. Weather permitting, I always tried to visit Figaro when passing through the area – she loved canned cat food and I spoiled her and the other farm cats.
Tony offered to give me Figaro and I had to decline the tempting offer. Dad and I already have too many cats and when I eventually go on the road, it’s likely that I will either have no pets or will have to keep them on a farm. No grudge was held; Figaro still remembered me on each visit.
Tonight Tony called and as we talked, I suggested cooking out and camping at the farm this weekend. I told him I wanted to spoil Figaro and that’s when he shared the news. About a week ago she was run over on a gravel road in front of their house. Elena, Tony’s daughter, had been distraught after the kitty was found.
After the shock wore off, I experienced tears of loss. That’s unusual because it didn’t happen for the last few adult friends and family that passed. I even held it in at Mom’s funeral recalling Spock trying to control his emotions as the pastor read the eulogy. But I couldn’t do it for this cute little barn cat. There is something that special about the link between animals and humans. Sometimes the bond seems closer!
Despite the sad news, the camping trip is still on for the coming weekend. Sunday I plan to head out to Tony’s for a cookout and Monday will camp in the Iowa City area. There will likely be some adventures, new dishes to cook, and some pictures along the way.
Of course, there will be a little plastic flower stuck in the ground where my little buddy was buried.
Animals come and go from our lives so many times and usually with no warning. Each time I vow to never get that attached to a critter (or anything else for that matter!) again but it still happens. Perhaps when one is a grouchy old bachelor hermit, you have to bond with whoever will put up with you.
Rest in peace, Figaro….. For that one day, you were a heck of a fun van dweller! V.T.
I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie.
Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget.
Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"