By Houston standards it’s very cold and blustery tonight, again. A lot of people will be trying to feel warm and safe against more than the usual odds. I’m saying a prayer for everybody for whom a warm safe night is in doubt. I feel thankful for every kind of comfort be it predictable or unexpected, but especially the latter. Here’s a conversation after church last Sunday with a fellow parishioner, Louise, who has a disability such that she uses a wheelchair much of the time.
Me: “Did you get through the cold snap OK?”
Louise, with a big smile: ” Sure, I just put on more clothes. One of the rats curled up behind my neck and the other one snuggled under my knees.”
Me: “Ah, did you say rats?”
Louise: “Yes, when (mutual friend) moved to California, I took in her rats.”
Me: “I guess it would be awkward to go through security and tell TSA that a box contains two rats.”
Louise: “They were supposed to be food for her snake, but the snake wasn’t hungry and she didn’t want to drive to California with the snake and the rats both in the car. It would have scared the rats all the way. So I took them. I’ve found them to be wonderful pets.”
Me: “I’ve heard that from other rat owners, that they’re really smart, fun pets.”
Louise: “Are they ever. Mine like to ride around on my shoulders. I’ll say, ‘Come on, girls, road trip!’ and they’ll both climb up and each of them takes a shoulder.”
Thank goodness for a two-rat night, a two-cat night, a multiple-dog night, a house-full-of-assorted-pets night, for an everybody-made-it-home-safe-night, and even for a fourteen-plant night. All over town, garages are stuffed with potted plants. Garageless plant owners have dragged the prized tropicals and ordinary foliage and leftover poinsettias into the shower or the living room.
The green contingent takes up rather a lot of prime domestic real estate. My aloe happens to be about a yard across and is a VERY prickly entity to share a writing desk with! Nonetheless, it feels right, responsible, and comforting to have them all safe indoors. The aloe, by the way, having been brought into the nice warm house before the cold wave a week ago, seems to have decided that spring is at hand. It has put up a flower stalk about four inches tall as of today.