It’s been about six weeks since we bid farewell to our Annie. She was getting along in years and was showing signs that she might be wrapping things up before long, but we weren’t yet ready to say goodbye when the day arrived. There’s a cat-shaped empty space in the house now.

We’ve been trying to fill in that space with thoughts and words about our missing friend. Reader, your own experience might tell how long this will last – we don’t know. She was the only animal that’s lived with us, and likely the forerunner of many more. Although it’s almost physically painful now, I can accept it as a tribute to how much she meant to us.

Help has arrived in the form of Stuffed Animals. Allow me to introduce Nitro.

Nitro and the Resident Expert at Niagara Falls.

You wouldn’t think that Nitro would be all that helpful at a time like this, but he’s got a lot going for him. When you come home to an otherwise empty house, it’s nice to be able to have someone to greet. Crazy, you say? I can’t argue with that. So let us make the most of it. Here’s Nitro with our car companion Steve, getting ready to take off on our trip to the Eastern Sierra.

Light this candle!

Look at how excited (or agitated) he is! We’re looking to add another inanimate friend. At some point we got the idea that it would be great to have a carved wooden bear in the front yard. Coincidentally, I made up a story that’s part of our ever-growing personal mythology about a “problem bear” that has to spend the evenings with us and is returned to the wild during the day. Bear 474. We found a place near Half Moon Bay that does bear carvings in the way that I like; rough hewn, without anthropomorphic styling. There’s a good chance you will be hearing more about this in the near future.

I’ve been a Stuffed Animal man for a long time, spending the requisite 10,000 hours of practice with them as a youth. That’s really paying off now.

2 thoughts on “ The Stand-ins ”

  1. I am just tuning in. Sorry about the loss of Annie. From my experience (going on two years now), there will always be THAT cat shaped empty space. You might put stuffed animals and even other real live animals around it, but THAT cat, ANNIE, will always have her space in your hearts and in your home.

    And two years later you might just being bopping along and then WHAM! Annie memory stops you, your eyes well up, and your heart feels squeezed and you miss her so bad. Then, yeah, you realize it was because she was so awesome and meant the world to you. And you have a moment of gratitude for being so lucky to have had her. And then you go back to your bopping, but perhaps with a wet face.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I expect it will be much as you described for us as well. She was and is very special to us, and we’ll be remembering her for the rest of our days.

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