Because there's more to our lives than trains

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Friday, November 27, 2009

I’ve been away from home in 2009 more than any year in my life. Each time I return, I am first knocked over by our two big dogs. But the instant they’ve finished, I know I will hear the meow of Abigail the cat. The meows will continue with increasing frequency and intensity until I scoop her into my arms and give her an affection catch-up.

Forgive me for not writing about railroads today. On Monday, Abigail quit eating, and on Thanksgiving, beside the heat register in my youngest daughter’s bedroom, she left us, drifting quietly into her next life.

She was a white Persian. You need to know that Persians shed their long hair with a speed you wouldn’t believe. They also talk more than other cats. She’d come into my office when I was trying to write and meow so loudly I’d throw any object within reach at her, to break the tension. And if Abigail was any indicator, Persians are lovers, not fighters. Mice and other smaller creatures had nothing to fear from her, unfortunately.

My wife was of mixed emotions about Abigail. She figures the cat destroyed about $10,000 of furniture upholstery. Abby also had a penchant for doing her business on the tops of our beds, so for the past four or five years all bedroom doors have been kept closed at all times. She still found ways to do it, though. We found her most recent gift on the guest room bed Monday morning.

Our two youngest kids joined Cathie and me for a memorial service this morning. As we shared our memories (most of them tearfully sweet) of the creature who had been part of our lives these past 13 years, one of the dogs joined us. Then we laid her down beside the old farm bell in the backyard.

We will find no more gifts from Abigail on our beds. Why am I not pleased?

Starting again from me next week, all trains, all the time.—Fred W. Frailey (

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