Tag Archives: Everest

Nostalgia …


[näˈstaljə, nəˈstaljə]

a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations

Hanging in our master bathroom is a picture we picked up in a junk antique store somewhere in rural Texas. It is a fit starting place for today’s tale.

In 1981 the Mrs and I moved from Bergen Park Colorado (Bergen Park Dreams, Olde Time Radio) to John Rolfe Lane, a rent house in the suburbs west of Houston to begin my career in the oil patch. We lived at John Rolfe Lane from 1981 to 1989, when we moved into the current Catbeard Manor, using the severance package from my first employer as down payment. Both of our sons were born at John Rolfe Lane.

The John Rolfe Lane residence is a but a few blocks north of Catbeard Manor in a different subdivision, yet sufficiently out of my way that I must intentionally drive past it. I rarely do so, maybe once every ten years. I did so today. Gone was the large tree in the front yard and the red tip photinia growing between the windows of what were the two boys bedrooms. Gone were the shrubs up against the front of the house. Gone was the flower bed around the mail box. In their place was a newly planted tree (looks like an oak of some sort) and an otherwise barren, but well cared for, front yard. I have many photos of John Rolfe Lane … somewhere. If I find them, perhaps I will post them in the future.


We moved from Bergen Park with two dogs, K2 (male) and Anna (female). Their tale is one that deserves a much more detailed elaboration, but I will give you the condensed version now … 

K2 was a wedding present from Jeff and Cheryl. His name came from pen 2K at the Dumb Friends Society in Denver. He was alleged to be part Collie / part Australian Shepherd, but I actually think that the “Australian Shepherd” part was in fact coyote. K2 was the smartest dog I have ever known. As a puppy he had enormous ears. I remember noting that he did not bark when we picked him up (turned out to be a nasty case of kennel cough). I vividly remember the drive home when we stopped by a Dairy Queen for a burger. Not sure what followed next but I recall wondering if K2 was hungry only to discover him in my lap devouring my burger. One could not have wanted for a more loyal dog. He would defend us to the death against small children (we think he has abused). Yet he easily accepted his role in our pack as the defender of our children. We used to keep him on a long lunge line attached to the front door of John Rolfe Lane where he would sleep in the entry way. One night we heard a muffled grunt and we ran to the entry way to find the door open and blood on K2’s muzzle. We think that someone had kicked in the front door and a surprised K2 had “taken a bite out of crime”. Only the lunge line had kept him from pursuit. I reinforced the locks after that.

K2 is also the name of the mountain next to Mount Everest. Our next adoptee occurred courtesy of our vet in Bergen Park, Dr. Nealy. She was the only pet we never had neutered, a cat we named Everest. Not long after we got Everest, we were grocery shopping in Evergreen south of Bergen Park and a young boy had a grocery cart full of mixed Samoyed / Golden Retriever puppies. I bought a bag of dog food and came home with Anna Purna (another mountain near Everest). Anna was the stereotypical dumb blond, a Samoyed with floppy gold tipped ears. She was the sweetest, gentlest, most patient creature you could ever have. In Bergen Park the drive way was paved in smooth river rocks. I threw them for her and she loved to chase them. One day I threw one for her from the second story balcony. It went through the driver side window of our new car. Below is a picture of Anna (foreground) and K2 taken by my dad. It hangs above our stairway next to the picture of Bob.


Regarding Everest … she got pregnant at Bergen Park, had kittens, and promptly disappeared. The Mrs and I bottle-fed the kittens and Anna adopted them as her own. She would carry each of them around with its head in her mouth ever so gently. She would clean them with her tongue and let them nurse on her until she was raw. We would go on outings with Anna in the lead followed by “her kittens”. She grieved when we gave them all away. I have slides of Anna and her kittens that I need to get scanned. When (if) I get around to it I will post them. So-oh cute!

K2 and Anna got old as all pets do and each had to be put down in time. K2 died while we were at John Rolfe Lane. Anna died after we moved to Catbeard Manor. She really missed K2. The bard said “It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all”. No where is that more true than with our pets. They give us all of their love, unconditionally, but we out-live them. 

We had both K2 and Anna cremated and their ashes scattered at Little Friends Pet Memorial out in the country west of us. Today the Mrs and I took a road trip to visit them. We drove past it at first and I thought maybe it was gone, but we spotted it on the way back on the dead end road. It is in farm country, surrounded by cotton fields. It was an extremely hot and dry day. Too hot for the Mrs. She waited in the car with the AC on while I walked around the deserted memorial. It was very peaceful and serene. Several people had left their pets toys at the memorial. It was quite emotional for me, but I have always been emotional.


I found Anna’s plaque …

but try as I would. I could not find K2’s. I did note that some plaques appear to have fallen off in the almost thirty years that have transpired. K2’s plaque was there when we last visited with the boys in the early 90’s when I thought we might all be moving to Russia for work. That never happened and the Mrs diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis put the kibosh on any thought of foreign assignment.

I called the main number and talked to a very nice lady who told me that Little Friends had a new owner. The original owner was doctor, certainly now deceased, who established it when his pet died and he discovered that no facility of this sort existed. He would collect the pets and take them to the memorial to be cremated and then scatter the ashes. Anyway she asked for my phone number and promised to get back to me.

More to come …

Cat Tales – Pickles and Hillary

Today’s Cat Tale is about how Pickles and Hillary came to live with us.

In the 70s we had a cat named Everest but this story isn’t about her. She will have her own story.

In the 90s and the 00s we had a cat named Kitaska. She was an extremely sweet cat who chose me. But again this story is not about her except to say that she died several years ago at the age of 17.


About a year after the death of Kitashka the Mrs and I began thinking we wanted another cat. After weeks of deliberating I learned from a coworker that there was a cat in need of a home because it’s owner was going to be leaving the country. I never got that cat. While backing out of the driveway to go look at that cat, my neighbor waved, I rolled down the window, and he asked “are you still looking for a cat”. He was temporarily watching a cat that belonged to his wife’s daughter, but they did not want it anymore. I walked into their house, walked back to the guest bedroom and saw Patches lying there on the bed. She was very gentle and very friendly and came to see me immediately. I took her home to see if the Mrs wanted to keep her and she never left. Patches is a sweet old girl. She’s either cross-eyed or blind in one eye and when she goes from the carpet to a hard surface she feels around with her right front paw as if she’s walking out onto glass.


This story isn’t about her either, except to say that Patches has always been my cat and the Mrs wanted a cat of her own. You see, Kitashka, even though she chose me, was always a lap cat for the Mrs when I wasn’t home. The Mrs is a shut in and having a lap cat was very important to her.

Then I learned about four orphaned kittens who were living in the backyard of a coworker of a coworker of a coworker.


I showed the above picture to the Mrs and she decided that she wanted the one who is now called Pickles (far left) and any other one. (We already had Patches and #2 son had a cat named Luna. I did not think we could handle six cats.)

So we went to the house of the person with the kittens in the backyard. The kittens were living under the patio deck and were so hungry that they would come out and eat food scraps but would not let you touch them. They could barely squeeze through the crack between the concrete and the wooden deck. The fellow had a couple of raccoon traps which we put some food in and we managed to capture Pickles and capture the kitten that we would soon name Hillary. We then transferred them each to a cat carrier and brought them home.

Once home I put the cat carrier in the bathroom by the laundry room to allow them to acclimate to the colder house temperature. When I brought them kitten food and water they hissed and backed as far to the back of the cat carrier as they could. When they realized it was food though they came forward and ate like they hadn’t eaten in days. The next day we bought a playpen and kitten toys and put them in the playpen with a sheet over the top.

In the playpen

If you listen to the audio you’ll hear a reference to a name of Freckles. This was to be Pickles original name but for some reason we forgot it and we kept calling him Pickles. The name stuck. You may also notice we called them she. This was before we took them to the vet and found out they were both boys. Notice the pyramid-shaped cat tent. Sir Edmund Hillary got his name by being the first to climb to the top of it.

We worked hard to socialize the kittens immediately. Everyone in the family took turns holding them and loving them on a continuous basis. Yet somehow I continue to be the cat whisperer. As with Patches and Kitashka before her, both Pickles and Hillary love to be with me. Both he and Patches follow me around the house like puppy dogs always wanted to be with me. But Hillary is my boy.


A comment on the snowflake blanket in the picture above: Hillary still likes to nurse on that blanket. It must remind him him of his mommy. Even tonight as I was dictating this, Hillary was lying on my chest and nursing feverishly on that blanket.

Sir Edmund Hillary


Pickles and Hillary

Pickles is on top.
Sir Edmund Hillary is on the bottom.

One Year Ago


No one wants to get inside the boxes on the cat condo these days.

You can see the whole clan as the are now @ https://contrafactual.com/2013/11/03/food/

Footnote: The person that I got the kittens from wanted the black one and the other one that we did not take. But we learned later that he did not want them as pets. He wanted them as outdoor cats to keep the rodent population outside down. They disappeared. 😦