So Begins the category I have lovingly named “Hattie Matters” in honor of this gray little bundle of love and terror that came into mine and Daisy’s life in October of 2018.
My great-grandmother’s name, for reference purposes, was Harriet. She was born in the late 1800s and lived the bulk of her proud Appalachia life farming, alongside my great-grandfather Richard, on the edge of the Antietam battlefield. Referred to as Harriet by the family, she was known – simply – as Miss Hattie wherever she went around town and on Sunday mornings as the Sunday school teacher at the United Brethren Church.
I’m told she held me in her arms when I was an infant but I can honestly say I don’t remember her by any other means beyond family photo albums. I DO know she was a good, hard-working woman who fiercely loved and looked after her family and loved ones.
When the day came that I decided Daisy needed a playmate, I first considered a puppy before realizing I was asking for far more trouble than I really wanted to involve myself in. I considered a cat, but I had developed a strong aversion to cats and litter boxes during the course of my first marriage and was, initially, not interested in going there again. My granddaughter, of course, was relentless about having a cat she could call her own whenever she was at my house.
For any of you out there not yet blessed with a young granddaughter, I would like to share with you a fundamental fact of life:
“A 60-something-year-old man has no fighting chance against a female preteen on the matter of whether or not a kitten should be added to the family.”
And so it was that word got back to me from said granddaughter about a friend of her mother’s who had a cat that was expecting a litter. I didn’t put up much fight, because I’m old enough to know when and where to pick my battles, and quickly accepted my fate. Needless to say, all that was left was the 8 to 12 weeks of arguing over what the new little bundle of joy’s name was ultimately going to be.
We had settled on a couple of male and female names and were able to get on with our lives.
On the night of July 31st, and this is the God’s honest truth, I had a dream about my great-grandmother Harriet… completely out of nowhere. I hadn’t been thinking about her or talking about her, and I hadn’t been looking at old family photo albums. It literally and simply came out of nowhere. When I woke up on August 1st I got a message telling me that the kittens had been born and a gray female has been set aside for me once they were weaned… And the gender verified.
Too old to fight against Destiny and fate, I just simply accepted that this kittens name had to be Harriet and that we would all refer to her as Miss Hattie.
The featured image presented here was taken the very first time I put her up in the windowsill so she could see that there was a great big world out there beyond me and Daisy and the granddaughter… And the food and water and litter box.
Let the stories about this little love bundle begin!