“Make yourself useful and go catch a mouse.”
“Make yourself useful and go catch a mouse.” Kitty Purry would jump up onto my dad’s bed for a pat and a reminder of her purpose. “Make yourself useful and go catch a mouse,” he would say in a gentle, sweet, playful voice, right after scratching behind her ears. She’d pur and I’d lightly smile at how cute the interaction was every single time.
I’m not sure she ever did catch a mouse in the months my dad and I had shared that farm house. About 18 months later, he passed away from bone and lung cancer.
There were only 2 people my dad requested be at his memorial, my aunt and I, so I carefully picked a date that she said would work for her. It was a couple months in advance, as a way to let the snow melt in the place my dad wanted to be scattered. There were only 4 people rsvp’d to attend, including her, so it seemed right to consider it postponed when she canceled a week before our chosen date.
Time unfolded and her anger and pain became unbearable and viscously directed at those around her, including me, and I had to cut ties with her to stay healthy. Before his memorial could happen. I felt awful for the memory of my dad, but also knew he’d understand had he been around to witness it.
While traveling to honor him and inspire the new Murchie family tradition, I stumbled upon the Vietnam Veterans memorial at Angel’s Fire, NM. Every year, they host a ceremony where they lay a brick in a Veterans name. I had missed the cutoff date to have it done that year (2019), so I bought the brick for him to be placed in September 2020.
Of course, this was the pre-Covid world.
A boss texted me this Monday with an idea on how to better use my time, but she wanted me to confirm the dates I’d be gone on the trip to see the brick ceremony. So I called the memorial building to check the dates, only to find out that the ceremony had to be postponed to next year, due to Covid.
I awoke this morning feeling sad that once again, my dad’s memorial would be pushed back. I told myself that the memorial the VA hosted was enough, but my heart felt heavy. All I could do was begin getting ready for work.
Pit pat pit pat. I could hear Kitty Purry running up the porch stairs. The door was slightly cracked, and she pushed it open enthusiastically. This was new for her so I paced over to greet her. Her big, beautiful eyes sparkled with excitement as she looked up at me. In her mouth lay dangling a dead mouse. I gasped and then praised her for being a good hunter and for providing for us. She laid the dead mouse down, then stretched out beside it in pride, purring and looking at me.
It took me a few hours to realize the significance of this on this morning. Kitty Purry catching her first mouse on the morning I felt bad about my dad’s memorial.
“Make yourself useful and go catch a mouse.” His voice echoed in my head, and his smile shined in my mind as I realized this was him telling me that at this time, I need to make myself useful. I don’t need to feel bad about postponed plans. Instead, I need to use this time and go catch a mouse.
(Also, what a cat she is, to catch her first mouse on today of all days. Cats are tuned into something we are not.)
The above anecdote is the ice breaker: my plan to revive travels for a month has been postponed.
Since my last post, I’ve graduated college, moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and in an attempt to build savings for the next round of travels, I picked up work at 4 different companies–most very part time, but still consuming enough where I was working 6-7 days weekly, every week. Amidst heart issues. That turned out to be neurological. To sum up what I am attempting to convey: despite receiving time off of work to travel, my body has been undergoing some health traumas, and it is likely best that I stick around home for a while longer. Traveling during Covid didn’t sound too exciting, anyway.
Instead, I am going to go on a few mini adventures. So far, my plan is to check out some local hiking trails (I just moved to a coastal mountain town with many nature trails), explore “Fasting Prayer Mountain”, visit Tahoe with my close friend, and perhaps explore hotsprings with another long time friend from a state over.
I’ve also accepted a promotion at one of my jobs, gave notice at another, launched a new sales program at Luna Sea Vodka, and am officially enrolled in a Harvard course. There is plenty to keep me occupied.
Talking it over with a few friends and acquaintances, I would like to keep this blog alive with the more interesting aspects of my day to day. Perhaps the emotional journey it takes to heal grief, tales on the people I meet at liquor stores while selling, or little anecdotes involving synchronicity such as the one above. If you have any input on what you would find especially interesting on this heartfelt travel blog, please share below or DM me.
Until then, so much love. @thelostqueenofatlantis