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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

A rescued cat loses her battle

I am the streets
That is what I was told
This will not change
Even when I get old
What was I thinking,
I could not mix with the best
These were my thoughts
Until I found QUEST
Here I learned about life
About who I was
Was supported for years
with nothing but love
Today I am strong
I walk with the best
The streets don’t define me
I challenged that test.

Thank you QUEST. The support you provided me with many years ago has taken me to great places.
-- Chrissie Ann (One of our first QUESTors -- 29 years old and moving on to an outstanding life)
Seen on a huge sign outside Hamilton Elementary school:

Coffee Clutch- Mon. 7:30

I really think they mean Coffee Klatch, a meeting of women while enjoying coffee and sweets L.O.L.

Oh well. Smile and enjoy the giggle.

Two agencies -- one closed and the second teetering on the brink. Both youth sites, about 4 blocks apart. And one is accused of some serious financial pecadillos. What do our kids learn from this?

A- Cheating is fine, unless you get caught, that is.

B- Who really cares about kids? Where will we go and who will be there when we need help?

And the real issue here is I see no one really discussing this publicly. Sure there are meetings explaining the problems, but no one to really speak to the issues and failing oversights.

One agency is $280,000 in debt, a good portion of which is to the federal government. Yet a city official is claiming that this little spot “does a good job, and is well monitored.”

(Years ago) people went to the sheriff and claimed we were crooked so and so’s. Really, I am still fighting those accusations from 20 some odd years ago. We do our audits; we practice due diligence, we have only one set of books.

Lost her battle

I can put this off no longer: on Friday evening -- Saturday early morning -- Jan. 25, Zoe, a petite smoke gray cat, who was much beloved, simply died.

We had taken in this charmer about 7 months ago, and at that time our vet did not think that she would live until the next day, but she did, and she went from 3 pounds to 8 pounds and all her fur grew in, and it was long and very soft like a baby chick's, and the last part of her to blossom was her tail -- “look no more rat tail, we wondered, but a bushy racoon tail.”

And she was not just beautiful on the outside, but had a deep and passionate inner respect and joy for life. It was as if she knew time was short and she had a lot of catching up to do.

She carried her toys up and down the stairs, she ricocheted her purple mouse off the walls, she found and stole her catnip; if you locked her out of her room you’d see her little paws sliding under the doors. She would sleep on your chest, cuddled up under your chin, and she would stay there all night.

You would take her outside with you and she would race right back in the house. Any box was a hideout, especially if it had paper in it. When she used the litter box she would pester and pester until you went to see and cleaned it out. She was a tyrant and her small meow when she wanted attention or food or catnip was heart-rending. She always wanted company, she hated being alone. She loved to be carried like a baby on her back in your arms all four legs sticking up in the air.

A feral animal old and feeble but never mean or vicious. She would run to the door to greet me when I came home, and try to climb in the tub with me and follow us all around the house. She owned us all -- body and soul.

It seems she had some kind of intestinal cancer; when it flared up there was nothing we could do. We would bathe her and dry her off when she was sick on herself and she would purr, grateful always for anything and everything. A week before she died she climbed up the kitchen cabinet to find a new bag of catnip. And always playing soccer with a small ball. But she was tiring and had trouble eating. I would put baby food on the tip of my fingers and she would lick it off. I will never forget the feeling of her little raspy tongue licking it off, but medicine using an eyedropper you would think, “Ah, finally I got it down her throat,” and she would turn her head and spit it right back in your face.

She loved it all, the flea baths, the special food, the puffy cat beds, the empty boxes, the pillow on the people beds, the fresh clean water; you could dry her with a hair dryer, and she would preen herself. She was a rock star, she was a boss, she was my princess,and my wonder woman. And I will never ever forget her.

She walks through my dreams and I hear her small voice on the other side of the door. And out of the corner of my eye I see her wonderful fluffy tail waving at us. Keeping right on exploring the work as she moves on to a new journey full of wonder and surprise. Good-bye my little lovely girl, I wish you Godspeed and a safe journey; you will live in my heart always, I will carry you with me all my life.

What makes life worthwhile?

The poet Rui writes:

“Find the real work give it
endlessly away, grow rich
flinging gold to all who ask.
Live at the empty heart of paradox.
I’ll dance there with you
Cheek to cheek.”

This may seem a small thing to some of you but to me it is huge. (As the car guy says) Huugge. I went to pick up 10-year-old Natasha and her brother on Cutler Street in Mont Pleasant last week, as always running a little behind schedule. When I drove up to her house her 7-year-old brother pipes up, “I kept telling Tasha to forget about it, you weren’t coming.” and then Tasha said, “I knew you were coming cause Judy never breaks a promise.”

It’s moments like this that heal the heart and make life truly worthwhile, at least for me. Stop and think, what are the things in your life that keep you upright and moving forward? I would really like to know. Maybe you could send comments, and I could make a list, and we could stick them in a blog, and then we would know the things that are right and good and real in some folks lives and we could share a learning experience, cool huh! I think so.

From the book "Tattoos Of The Heart"

“I am asking Rigo the basic stuff about his family and his life, he is 15 and is an inmate at a county detention center.

I ask him about his father. “Oh,”,he says, he’s a heroin addict and never really been in my life. Used to always beat my ass. Fact he’s in prison right now. Barely ever lived with us.”

“I think I was in the fourth grade,” he begins, “I came home, sent home in the middle of the day. Got into some “pedo” at school. Can’t remember what. When I got home my jefito was there. My dad says, “Why they send you home?” And cuz my dad always beat me, I said, “If I tell you, promise you won’t hit me?” He just said, “I’m your father, course I’m not gonna hit you,” so I told him.”

Rigo is caught short. He begins to cry, and in moments he’s wailing and rocking back and forth, he says only, “He he beat me with a pipe...with a pipe.”

In a moment or two, I ask, “And your mom?” He points to a tiny woman standing by the gym’s entrance.
                “That’s her over there,” he pauses. “There’s no one like her,” “I’ve been locked up for more than a year and a half. She comes to see me every Sunday. You know how many buses she takes every Sunday -- to see my sorry ass?”

He goes on gasping through his tears. “Seven buses. She buses. Imagine.”

I stand outside QUEST in the parking lot and watch a mother and small child walking by. The mom is holding a handless shopping bag in one hand, and the other is holding a cell phone to her ear which she is talking on vigorously. The tot who is not too steady on his feet slips and falls on the ice right next to the road; mom doesn’t miss a beat, keeps walking and talking, kids in big trouble now, keeps slipping and can’t right himself and the traffic keeps right on whizzing by.

“Want some help,” I yell as I shuffle on down toward the street. “Mind your business you ---- whore,” comes out the mouth of this woman, and then she keeps right on purring into the phone. Chastised. I stand stock still and she continues on down State Street; the tiny boy rights himself and runs screeching after his mom, who never once acknowledges his presence.

They become men at such an early age and the training starts at birth. Both sexes become adults while the older folk never grow past puberty, but they stand mined in youthful good times and parties stopping only to give birth. “He likes it raw,” they say of their boyfriend, and pills make them fat. And the men don’t seem to care much one way or another.

Later that day there is a couple having a screaming match in our parking lot, right outside our entrance. I can’t pull my car in because they are most definitely in the way. “Don’t run me over” cautions the male, and the shouting match goes on; their 2 children are downstairs, and must live with this daily. Mom runs in the building, dad gets in the car and sulks, mom comes back out and the fight goes on.

They all live together unhappily forever after, and their 2 kids, 8 and 5, are spoiled and angry. Wearing the best in clothing and having the best in electronics and toys.

And yet, they are angry too. And the little boy is turning into a little bully hitting and beating up whomever he wants to. Last week, both children were picking on another girl who was not part of their family circle and so, of course, was not as good as they were. And so it goes into adulthood. Violence and anger growing and thriving until it travels full circle. Next week we will talk about this. The anger and violence that is not about gangs or drugs but the ownership of human beings.

A different type of slavery happening in the 21st century.

In my minds eye I hear Beth (my daughter) saying about Zoe, as she meows looking for attention, “She doesn’t want to be petted, she wants a lap.” And then she leans forward and stretches both arms as wide apart as a hug from God, “Zoe,” she says, “Come -- Come on” and in my heart forever is the image of a slim gray cat leaping eternally forward into the fading light.

“The solution of man is in love and through love.”
-- Victor Frankl

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February 8, 2014
8:21 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

oh my God, your blog needs to be on the front page. Where is the County Detention Center? What is Quest ? I not to long ago bought a house across from a boys group home. I made a point of going over and meeting who lived there. I soon had boys crossing the street to say hello to me and offer to help with yard work. Some would come alone, others in groups of 2-3- they told me I was the only neighbor who had ever talked to them. It broke my heart to hear it. So I made it point of trying to learn all their names so I could simply say Hi John, Kenny or David" - they would come over and I would simply chat for short while and get to know their personal stories. As they told me things that were difficult to hear- I would simply say "Im sorry to hear this, you don't deserve that kind of treatment" the father/mother that did that must have been personally struggling and ill. and they would reply- I guess. And I would say, just remember, there are good people out there and you are not defined by your parents actions and Im sure your parent did the best that they could - and that I can tell you are smart and can accomplish what you want and just try to hang in there (at the group home)... Sometimes it just takes one person to reach out and be a little extra nice to make a difference. So these traumatized kids can feel they are worthy.

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