Our Friend and Neighbor Marie
Our neighbor Marie was a wonderful person, so full of warmth and laughter. She was always happy to see me and I was always happy to see her too. She had the kind of smile that warmed your heart the moment you saw her. You always felt better after chatting with Marie. Years ago when I started up the bakery part of the business, she was the first to buy a loaf of English Muffin bread. I have a photo somewhere, but that was before digital images. Marie was super excited about The Tiniest Tiger.
She held the book close to her and said she would cherish her copy. And I know she meant that too.
Marie loved her cat Maggie. You might remember on occasion, I would go with Marie to get Maggie’s nails trimmed at the veterinarian’s office. Maggie, like a lot of cats, didn’t like being put into her carrier. It took a lot of maneuvering to get Maggie rounded up and ready to go. She yowled like a wild cat the entire drive but once she was in the doctor’s office she was quiet and sweet as sugar. While Maggie stood calmly allowing her nails to be trimmed the shock on Marie’s face was priceless, as she would tell the Doctor, “Maggie was mad as a March hare and now look at her!” We would laugh the whole drive home.
I knew Marie my whole life. Her husband Ellsworth too. I have a fond memory of talking to him about Canada Geese. I know that seems random, but I used to carve decoy ducks. Yes, you read that right, decoy ducks. One night when I was walking home, he was out in their front yard looking up at a Canada Geese flight formation and listening to their calls. I stopped to talk to him about the geese and then ducks until it was dark. He said it was an unexpected pleasure to get to speak with me about birds that night. And I felt the same way.
I remember stopping by to say hello to Marie and her friends at a local restaurant a few years ago. Marie told me about a fender bender car accident that had happened earlier that night. When she said, “Isn’t that awful. Just a little old lady on her way to church and she gets into an accident.” I said, ” That is too bad. Who was the old lady?” And the entire table burst into laughter when Marie said,”Me, I am the little old lady.” I replied, “Oh! I didn’t think it could be you because you said it was a little old lady.” The other ladies had tears in their eyes from laughing because they said I was so serious. And I was serious because Marie was so full of life and fun it never occurred to me that she could be speaking about herself.
Last summer before I left for Namibia, Marie asked me why I had to go so far away. That was a good question. I said, I didn’t know, but I have always liked to travel and loved what I was learning in my zoology program. I was excited to get to spend time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. When I said, “I will be back. ” I remember a look of sadness in her expression when she said, “I hope so.” It tugged at my heart. Marie knew both of my parents and since they have been gone time with her was even more precious. I hugged her and walked away so she wouldn’t see I had tears in my eyes.
On the last trip to take Maggie to get her nails trimmed, Marie said she wasn’t worried about much at this point in her life, but she did worry about what would happen to Maggie. She worried if she would find a good home. I didn’t hesitate when I said, “Marie, we will take Maggie if something happens.” She smiled and said, “You will?” And I said,”Sure.” Marie smiled and said “Thank you.”
Not long after we lost Gracey, we lost Marie too.
Welcome Maggie. Our hearts will heal together.
We opened our hearts and home and welcomed Maggie. Annie and Eddie were just settling in so we arranged for Maggie to have her own space in the master bedroom to acclimate and adjust to the new surroundings, new humans and new kittens. When she first came, she looked so sad, her little heart was broken. We understood. We told her our hearts were broken too and that we would try our best to heal together.