Daisy was the first of Molly's kittens that my mom gave us to live in our then-new Martinez home more than 20 years ago.
But Molly was an outdoor cat, and soon was lured away by my nearby father-in-law's better offer: canned tuna.
Molly had more kittens the next year, and at the Christmas two months before my oldest daughter's 5th birthday, my mom brought us Little Lady.
Some of the photos captured around that time are priceless - especially the one of the tiny white kitten stuffed into a Christmas stocking, with just her little white head and gray-striped ears sticking out.
She would always be a small cat, and bore just one litter of three kittens before we belatedly had her spayed. But she had a tremendously loud voice and wouldn't hesitate to let you know if she was hungry.
Three homes and nearly two decades later, Little Lady was still with us - 10 years beyond my mom's passing. In the past couple of years Little Lady became an old lady: She had gradually gone blind, developed kidney trouble and stiffness in her joints. And she could be ornery, especially if startled, and would quickly bite until she figured the thing handling her was just a member of the family.
We gradually had to restrict her living space to the laundry room to keep her from wandering the house and soiling the carpet. When my daughters rescued five kittens dumped at my wife's school, we kept them for a little while in my bathroom; we called it the kitty nursery, and our laundry room was the kitty nursing home.
It wasn't the best existence for Little Lady in her waning years, but Essa couldn't bring herself to opt for an early exit. We don't do that to people, she said, and shouldn't do it to Little Lady.
At the ripe old age of 19 - that's 92 years to you and me - the little cat finally gave up the last of her lives Saturday night. If cats are allowed to travel upstairs, I'm sure Little Lady is happily purring at the feet of my mom.
You know, we often divide ourselves up as "dog people" or "cat people." I've never really thought about which I was, especially with a house full of both species. But I do know that while Little Lady might have been tiny, she's left a big, empty space in our home.
Rest in peace, little girl.
On a happier note, Greenbrier High School's Mom's Club is putting together a breast cancer awareness event Friday night at what would seem the unlikeliest of places: The football stadium, during the game between the Wolfpack and Richmond Academy.
The event will help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, while celebrating some of the survivors close to the Greenbrier family.
They include Christina Troutman, who has just passed her seventh year of surviving breast cancer and who is the mother of offensive tackle Alan Troutman; and Barbara Petty, a seventh-grade teacher at Riverside Middle School who recently passed the two-year mark of being cancer free. (She was also one of my youngest daughter's favorite teachers.)
Troutman and Petty will be honorary co-captains for the game, and when they gather at the middle of the field for the coin toss it will be atop the big "G" painted on the field in pink.
That's not all: Players for both schools will have pink on their uniforms, and volunteers will sell wristbands during the game and hand out informational literature. The festivities start with a survivor's walk before kickoff.
It's a great event for a great cause, with what looks to be a great football match-up, too. Be sure to check it out.
Speaking of football, we're a little spooked around here that we might have a "Super 9" jinx.
Two of the players featured in The News-Times' annual football recognition, both of them Lakeside stars, have fallen to injury. Here's hoping they heal quickly - and the other seven stay healthy.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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