Five and a half years ago, during Labor Day weekend we had some of our most favorite people come stay with us. Jim and Emily are more than just friends, though. They have become family. And guess how we met? Through blogging! While I have not blogged here at Strait-Jacket Mama for long, I blogged for several years on Blogger, and through Blogger I met Emily. Blogging truly bettered my life, and my husband’s life. I never imagined that Josh would find his BFF this way, but I’m sure glad he did!
So, Jim and Emily and their four children came to stay with us for a weekend of food, laughter, boating, and some more food and laughter. The kids were outside playing before we left for our boating adventure, when Jaylee (my then five year old) comes racing into the house and exclaims there is a kitten in our tree! Of course Daddy to save the day. Josh rescues the kitten from the tree, she is a tiny ball of white and grey fur and the girls are immediately ooohing and ahhhing over her.
As much as I loved that a new kitty was at our house, it was time for us to pack up and head out for our day on the river.
None of the five girls were very happy that I said we’d just leave the kitty on the porch and if she were there when we got back, great, but load up, children we need to leave. Each girl wanted to stick her in their life jacket, I’m just sure of it.
But we got back from that day of boating, that day of boating where I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard in my whole life, and found that furball waiting for us on the porch.
The girls wanted to name her Rootbeer Marshmallow.
And so Rootbeer Marshmallow, became Ruby, and Ruby became our cat. Ruby never, not once, used a litter box. She would always meow and meow and meow that she needed to go outside. When Ruby was hungry she let you know that, too. She loved being outdoors and was by far the best mouser we’ve had. She would sit for hours in our pasture and watch gopher holes, and then I’d see her traipsing up the driveway with her catch. Head up, tail swishing back and forth. Proud girl, she was.
But when Ruby was ready to come inside, there was no sweet little meow. Instead, every.single.time. she wanted inside she would climb the door.
Do you see that mess? That’s from Ruby. We’ve never painted it because why bother? She has ripped the crap out of it. And the weather stripping too. That’s the second one we’ve bought. She would sometimes climb to the very top of that, meowing the entire time to be let in.
Once inside, she was quite demanding of food. And she ate like a bulldozer. Pushing her food away, then pulling it back and eating it.
Ruby loved all of us, and anyone who visited too (well, except that time Jim was staying with us and Ruby wigged out and attacked him. but that’s Jim’s story…) She was so very affectionate, and was quite content to hang out in a lap. Though she loved us all, Jaylee was her person of choice. She slept with Jaylee most nights and if all of us were on the couch, it was Jaylee she chose to sit with.
Cats choose us, you know. It’s not the other way around.
I’m sure you can tell where I’m headed with this post.
And it breaks my heart. On Sunday Josh was taking the girls to his parent’s house to watch a Christmas movie. Shortly after leaving our driveway he saw Ruby laying on the side of the road. He came home and told me, and together we walked down the driveway and up the road a ways to where she was. I had taken a box with me and Josh picked her up and placed her inside. It was miserable. And still doesn’t seem possible. We walked up the driveway, Josh holding the box in one hand, the other he had on my back.
“I’m sorry, Sarie.” I was sorry too, but not for me. For my big girl who would soon learn this awful news.
Josh dug a hole for Ruby in our backyard, and we considered burying her then, but decided to wait for the girls to get home, and have them be part of it.
We sat them down and told them we had some bad news, they both asked if they were in trouble. I wish they had been.
Josh broke the news and in that moment I watched my normally stoic 10 year old slump over and bawl. It was miserable. The girls and I cried and Josh comforted us all. We walked outside and stood there as Josh buried Jaylee’s kitty.
“She was a great pal to me.” Jaylee told me as we walked inside the house after saying our goodbyes to Ruby. And she really was. She was fabulous.
And we miss her so.
I wish I had a picture of Ruby, but my laptop did something really bad several days ago, and I’ve just realized I lost everything.