22nd Anniversary: Party Like It’s 1999 or End of an Era?

Yesterday was our 22nd wedding anniversary and after two birthday cruises, we’ll be celebrating in Las Vegas. Actually, Rich has to work at headquarters for a week and I’m going with him to touch the old stomping grounds and to surround myself with home. So why not celebrate our anniversary there? It will be my first trip back since we left in May of last year.

We’re still grieving Skipper – Shadow has his nights where he howls for hours – sometimes even during the day. He’s off howling now as I write this. He and Skipper were so close.

Skipper and Shadow

But it’s not just Skipper we’re grieving – we’re grieving the end of an era: the Skipper, Buddy, Lovey threesome. They were all different, yet they complimented each other. Where one left off, the other picked up.

Skipper was definitely King and Lovey was his Queen but Buddy was his litter mate, comfort kitty, and all-around clown. They all were so humanly real. And they played a huge part in this journey.

We moved from San Francisco to Portland to buy our first home together and to be able to bring a new kitty home. Ginger and MaryAnn were Rich’s older cats (started the “Gilligan’s Island” theme), and in an apartment, two was the limit.

1999 was “the year” it all happened. First, we went to Walt Disney World for the first time together in May. By August we were celebrating Rich’s birthday in Las Vegas at the Bellagio with a cabana out by the pool. We took Rich’s parents on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 50th birthday in November and by December, Rich got a transfer to Portland and we bought a townhouse.

The next year was the big move and soon after, we brought Skipper and his brother Buddy home. We’d intended to only get Skipper but I couldn’t leave Buddy behind. “Let’s see how this one turns out,” I said. Sometimes I cursed those words – he was such a handful. The next year Ginger and MaryAnn were gone so we got Lovey. And that was the beginning of the era of the five of us: Rich, Kathy, Skipper, Buddy, and Lovey. It wasn’t just the two of us on our adventures, in the background were the three of them completing our home and family.

The Dot Com bust led us to Ohio – the 5 of us venturing out in our SportTrac to sites unseen. We were renting a townhome with a basement in Dublin, Ohio and after we returned from a trip to WDW, we noticed the basement door was not only open, but so was the utility closet. Yep, we discovered the Budster could open doors. 🙂

Skipper didn’t much like Ohio – he had urinary problems and he burnt his paws when he jumped in the hot skillet. After our year was up, we moved to Florida. In the Embassy Suites when we stayed that first night, he crawled inside the mattress so we ended up sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room.

We rented a townhouse in Palm Harbor and he ran after the pizza man – Rich grabbed him by the tail – lol! We were building a new house while living there and when we moved in, Skipper was the first on the soffit – he jumped down and decided not to go up there again. Lovey and Buddy used to chase each other up there. Buddy would join me on the loveseat while I listened to Dean Martin and waited for Rich to come home from work. He played the part of “Dino” well.

Skipper kept me company while I wrote my first published novel in my office. He was also the one to test the bath water to make sure all was well there. Lovey, bless her heart, shut the slider door on us and we were locked out. Rich had to go next door and ask the neighbors to use their phone to call a locksmith. From that point on, we made sure we have a cell phone and keys when we sit outside – lol! So many Florida memories with that threesome. Florida isn’t the same without them.

In Las Vegas, Lovey jumped from the upstairs landing to a window and when there wasn’t enough room for her to land, she launched herself over to the top of the coat closet, her heart racing – she was so scared when Rich climbed up on the ladder to rescue her. After that, we had a wall built so she couldn’t make that jump.

I also went through a lot of family issues during that time so I would often go downstairs during the night and sleep on the couch. Buddy was always there sitting on the back of the couch, keeping me company.

Lovey was the bed sleeper and she could be counted on to offer comfort night and day, opening up her tummy for pets, purring madly.

All the little things, the special moments, that sometimes you’re barely aware of. Oh, sure, I noted that some day they wouldn’t be with us anymore and I just couldn’t imagine what our life would be like then. Well, that time is now and it’s so hard, especially to be in Florida, without them. That’s what made the journey special – all five of us together.

It’s time for a new era with Shadow and Daisy. Shadow is still grieving and Daisy is still pretty young so we haven’t really discovered who she is or who we all are as a family. But I guess that’s what the next chapter is for.

Skipper, the Skipster, Skipperdoodle, Skip, Scooter, Scoot, Snootful, Snoot (the King and Book Lover)

The King and his Queen

The Brothers

Miss Lovey, Love Bug, Lovey “D****it”

Little Buddy, Buddy, Mr. Bud, the Budster, the Boobster, Dino

The Threesome

The Next Gen: Shadow (right) and Daisy (Skipper Girl) on left

About Kathy

Novelist, Poet, Songwriter/Music Producer