This week we say goodbye to our last kitty.
Brownie, the runt of the bunch, survived two brothers and a sister. Leo, then Babyface and Cubbie preceded her over the bridge, as they say. Brownie beat them all by several furlongs, but suffered from diabetes and got increasingly weaker in the past few days.
The toughest decision is the one to make the call.
Brownie was one of four kittens I found while driving home from work nearly 14 years ago. They sat lined up on the sidewalk. I walked toward them and they ran away. I walked back to my car, and they came back to me, crying.
I could hear owls in the trees, and figured a big enough one could make a four-pack of snacks out of these kittens if I didn’t get them home.
They came home, and stayed. Pets teach our kids so much about responsibility and loyalty. They also teach lessons about mortality and saying goodbye. Brownie also reinforced in me the power behind a strong will and perseverance, right to the end.
We’ll miss you, Brown Brown.
1. Have you heard of hawthorn tree?
No. And I suppose the answer could end there.
That’s not what we’re all about in this post, though. Isn’t Hawthorn Tree that U2 album? Heck, no, that’s Joshua Tree. Hawthorne’s Pizza also isn’t a tree, but we have destroyed a large cheese there once or twice, am I right?
What’s not to like about a hawthorn tree? (Even if it has nothing to do with pizza.)
They grow pink and white flowers. Songbirds hang out in them because they also have delicious berries. (So it’s like a nice restaurant.) Winter King or Washington varieties of hawthorn trees are less prone to diseases common to the variety.
I’ll see if Trees Charlotte has Hawthorns next time. Twice a year, this organization gives as many as two free trees to Charlotte residents in an effort to plant half a million by 2050. We’ve gotten four gorgeous trees so far, and I wish we had more room!
2. Both feet have to be in for it to count as a catch in football?
In the pros, yes. (Unless you’re Santonio Holmes in the Super Bowl. Then one will suffice. We’re not still bitter about that, though, right Hayden? She’s the resident Cardinals fan.) In high school and college, you need just one foot in bounds for a catch.
In modern America, you’d think, with 17 camera angles, the mystery of feet-in feet-out would have gone the way of the dinosaur (and the Colts’ playoff hopes.) Normally, it is. The NFL’s catch-vs.-incomplete conundrum now revolves around 37 factors.
There’s actually a catch rule now, with sundry components. It shall be deemed a catch if a player:
secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground;
and touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands;
and maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has clearly become a runner.
Commentators like to drone on about a receiver needing to perform a “football move” with the ball in order for it to be a catch. What actually is a football move? A Heisman pose? A stutter step? A pirouette and double salchow with jazz hands?
Maybe by the time there are 500,000 trees in Charlotte, we’ll have goal-line (and sideline) technology on players’ shoes to solve the catch debate.
3. What is the B for in World B. Free?
Man, kids – you would have loved the 70s/80s. Maybe not the short short basketball shorts and The Ropers spinoff of Three’s Company (or hell, maybe even Three’s Company.) But basketball was slick and personality laden and not so much in the diva light.
We had dudes like Pistol Pete Maravich and Dr. J, Daryl Dawkins and a superstar we called The Ice Man. Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld and Alex English … those were the days. Also, we had Lloyd B. Free, who came to be known as World B. Free.
Sounds like he should play for the Harlem Globetrotters. My man played well into the 80s, too, kind of a beacon to yesteryear as the association gained popularity. He was Cleveland Cavaliers basketball before LeBron was even born.
It might disappoint you that B stands for Bernard, but it shouldn’t. A friend on a Brooklyn playground called Lloyd “world,” because the cat could hit shots around the world. The name change was a technicality – Lloyd had been World since junior high.
Once, in Dallas, the PA announcer refused to call him World. He introduced him as Lloyd B. Free. Cavaliers officials reminded him that Lloyd had changed his name legally. I’m not calling this guy World, he insisted, and he didn’t. World refused to take the court.
Until he did, and then he was pissed. Every time he played the Mavericks, he went off.
4. Are there water snakes in Lake Wylie?
Little-known fact: North Carolinians get bit by snakes more than most other states.
They don’t tell you that when you move here. Lake Wylie stretches into both Carolinas, and yes, water snakes live there. Cottonmouths live in Lake Wylie, but they’re not the venomous kind. Still, if one chomped on me, I might forget that fact in the moment.
It’s not so much water snakes that you should worry about at Lake Wylie – it’s copperheads. They, like NASCAR drivers, like to live around Lake Wylie. They’re venomous. The snakes, not the NASCAR drivers.
I stepped on one once. It felt like a tree branch with loose bark. I don’t know why he didn’t bite me. This was in Colorado. There were probably rattlesnakes around, too. I wish copperheads had some sort of warning, too. Like a ringtone.
5. If you hit a cyclist in your car, who gets in trouble in court?
Well, it depends on who is at fault – and if it goes to court at all.
Cyclists still must obey traffic rules. Motorists often forget to treat cyclists like motorists. Probably half of cyclist accidents happen in intersections, although the open road – with distracted drivers and impatient drivers – seems a pretty good peril, too.
Who is at fault in an accident? It depends on who has the right of way.
Even though a bike isn’t as much a physical threat to a car as a car is to a bike, cyclists can become liable. Cyclists should never ride against traffic, always with it. And motorists need to give a cyclist a wide berth if they pass them.
I always treat them as if they’re as big as a car.
Years ago, I had a couple of close calls with cars, and this was before everyone’s nose was attached to a smartphone. People passed me inches from my elbow. My bike riding days ended when my pedal broke just before I turned on a busy road.
I hung up the bike, and have been Eli B. Motorist ever since.
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