The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2003

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







by Toneeke Henderson

I have two new critters to share with you. Yes another kitten who definitely looks like my ""Spooky and Magic"" all in one. We call her "Gypsy"  She was a terror from the word go. The other one was a temporary critter - a baby Blue Jay named Sir Lance-a-lot. The name fit him just fine. The Blue Jay was given to me to feed and nurture because he was too young to survive on his own. Seems no one had any real room left so I decided after getting the correct instructions on feeding and care for him that I would give it a shot and what a wonderful experience that was.

When I first thought about feeding the bird I was a bit worried that he may not get enough essential vitamins for his fluffy lil body. His skin was so thin that you could see through it in the light. He began his food with a wiz. A smart bird he would end up being.

It became a ritual to get up and feed the lil guy when I made the midnight trips to the restroom. If he was awake I would feed him if not I would wait. I remember a doctor telling me not to wake my kids up in the night to feed them, if they were hungry they would sure let me know and he reminded me of how many parents wished their babies did sleep. I didn't think the bird was growing very fast and yet he was getting these cute little feathers just like the big birds.

About then is when my new kitten "Gypsy" arrived at home. They were both so tiny and wasn't sure what the other critter was. I would take the bird everyday to the shoppe and feed him. I would hold him and let him feel comforted and safe. Then back to home we would go and Gypsy decided she needed more information on what this fluffy critter was. So every night she would watch me feed the bird and clean his cage and change his water.

Gypsy seemingly didn't mind a bath herself. I bathed her in the tub... yes a wet cat with claws. But she liked it. I think more for the drying time

Toneeke Henderson

because she could be cuddled.

The two would play because the bird could not fly yet and I didn't want to have him feel constrained in the cage. So Gypsy and Sir Lance-a-lot sit out side the cage until time to go every morning. He would sit on my extra camera tripod and caw at the windows. I took him and Gypsy into the garden so they could both get used to the ground and the plants and bugs too.

Gypsy would run up and down the watering creek and Lance-a-lot would just watch and hop around a little. In about a

Gypsy and Sir Lance-a-lot

photo by Toneeke Henderson

two week span I began to introduce worms to Lance-a-lot. He really enjoyed them once he got the hang of it. Everyone took part in helping him to learn, even my husband was found at an early morning feeding so I could catch a bit a sleep. Gypsy on the other hand wasn't sure what the worms were suppose to do either.

I took several photos of them both as they played and grew. It was nearly the end of June and I wanted to see if  Sir Lance-a-lot could fly well  or not. He did quite well but returned to me for his dinner. By now he was well on his way to becoming a self sufficient bird - I hoped anyway.

He would fly to sit on my shoulder and talk to me. He would even let me know he wanted a bath. It was a week from the July 4 holiday, I took him outside to play in the pond and he loved it. I watched as he sat on the fence and basked in the sun spreading his wings as if he'd just found the secret to wind it's self. He opened his beak as if in amazement of whatever spiritual loft of air touched him. His eyes smiled.

So I decided that his time to fly (if he was able) would be the fourth of July. He learned to get those worms all on his own and had fun acting like he was the one that got the big one that didn't get away.

Then The fourth of July Rolled around, and it was time. I made sure he had eaten worms he had picked himself. He gave himself a bath in some refreshing cool water. He flew to the fence and again I watched him spread his wing and turn towards the sunlight and a mild breeze swirled like a coverlet, He looked at me as if to smile, he gave it a bolt into the sky and he was flying like he was the happiest bird on the earth and at that moment I think that he was.

I have seen what I believe to be Sir Lance-a-lot a couple of times on the fence near the garden. I hope that whatever his time is on this earth even if he is a bird, that it makes the greatest difference if even to his own animal kingdom. I treasure that I had the opportunity to encourage a life to exist.

Now that crazy Cat I have that's another story. Gypsy is really whacko now. She thinks she needs to bite your toes or fingers. She must have been a Neurologists in a former life, good grief how much pain does she need to know I have when she bites. She really is a kewl kitten. She runs and lunges for my shoulder like she is going to attack then she quickly goes into a slumping-perch like a bird formation. Yes she thinks because the bird sat on my shoulder she is supposed to also.

Spooky had this really kewl gurgle for her voice... well this one doesn't gurgle but she isn't far from it. We have had to start shutting our bedroom door at night because she will come in there and all of a sudden decide she needs to bite your nose or fingers or toes.

I don't think I want to be awaken by a nose piercing maniac kitten. She responds to a whistle kind of  like Spooky did. The part of her that is like Magic is her face and the charm she has when she wants her way. She likes her bell necklace. Oh I guess I better tell you why we named her Gypsy. In ol times Gypsies wore a lot a jewelry and well, I do too and of course the kitten thinks it is hers... and let me tell you she gets a hold of it and doesn't want to let go. She even took my jewelry and ran with it.

Our Son has some jewelry attached to his chest and he thought it was cute that the cat liked it... until the kitten grabbed it with her teeth and tried to run ... she wasn't going to let go. He had to pry her teeth apart to get loose now he wears a shirt when Gypsy's around. Our son likes to aggravate cats but this one got him a good one back.

We are also another step closer to finishing remodeling. Again I will say I will never do this again. OK the editor is probably having a conniption fit because I am acting breathless again and can go on forever but I will save him once again and double up for next month. ((HE HE HE)). OK here goes the old 1,2,3 ... he hates it when I use these little dots.

I titled this "Just a Little Hug," and my article had nothing in it about a hug until now. Because we need to know when someone out there needs us or we need them or even 'just a hug" (even animals). It is about sharing and nurturing what another has until they can use it on their own. It is about tolerating even the strangest of actions when it is simply out of love that it is expressed. Gypsy doesn't know not to bite my toes, she is like a child, a kitten, she only knows she wants that hug that you have to give her, because she can feel that.

The Blue Jay, all he knew was love, and hugs, and how to smile with his eyes. That my friends is what it is all about.