There are friends you call when you need to move furniture. That would be my friend Houston.
And there are friends you call when you need to move a body. Apparently, that would be me.
When Houston called late one night after finding his dear sweet Callie the Calico dead (she just fell asleep on the chair and never woke up) I instructed him to wrap her up and put her in the freezer until we came up with a plan.
Initially, he wanted to try to bury her in Wright Park.
Once I convinced him of the impossibility of burying a dead frozen cat in one of the most high traffic areas in the city (not to mention well patrolled) we came up with a more fitting plan for Callie’s last resting place. It was still a bit risky, because I’m sure there are laws about where one can bury a pet.
But you know what? I’m wiling to risk getting in trouble (when it’s not hurting anyone or the environment) in order to help a friend honor the life and passing of a fur child.
I had instructed him that since this was a covert operation, that we would need shovels or spades that would fit in our daypacks, and at least one pack large enough for kitty.
When doing something covert, one doesn’t want to be seen walking into the woods with shovels and a black plastic bag. It tends to attract attention, which we did not want.
I had several “Plan B”s in the event that we were stopped or questioned. I told he and Morgain our “cover story” (we were looking for late season Chanterelles) and other stories that might be needed. I even made him park in an area that I could get kitty out of the box and into my pack with out anyone seeing that I was loading something out of a box into the pack.
When I go covert, I go covert, and it planned down to the last detail and what to do/say in every possible worst case scenario. Callie was getting a respectful and sacred burial.
My friends thought my planning and precautions were hilarious.
I supposed it was.
At one point, we all had to giggle. Here we were, I with a frozen, dead cat in my daypack (that I couldn’t fully zip because of the bulky blanket she was wrapped in) and Houston walking behind me making sure that the body didn’t fall out pretending that we were going out for a picnic. Morgain had her bright orange backpacking “poop trowel” in the side of her back, so we were giggling that we were just going out for a picnic and that Morgain has to poop a lot.
The more serious I tried to be about this, the more they giggled at me.
I decided against taking the heavily used wooded trail, and instead chose to take the shoreline to an area that is difficult to get to and not heavily traveled (especially not in the rain, as the sun was going down)
So there we were, the three of us walking down the beach at sunset to do something that we likely shouldn’t have been doing, like three naughty kids out on an adventure giggling at the absurdity of it all.
But it only got more complicated as some of the local teenagers had chosen the same isolated area to smoke pot.
They didn’t want to light up in front of the old folks and we didn’t want to bury a body (even if it was feline) in front of the kids; so we had a good, long standoff reminiscent of “The Good, Bad and the Ugly”.
Finally, the kids backed down, the tides cooperated and the rain, impending darkness and incoming tide gave us privacy.
We explored several options, and decided on what we could only describe as a “natural cathedral” overlooking the water. We looked around some more and decided that was the spot. The digging wasn’t easy considering the tools we brought had to fit in our day packs (we were after all going on a picnic and looking for late season Chanterelles; oh yeah, we were geocaching if we’d been seen digging) and we had to chip away at clay and bring rocks up from the beach. I even had a story if we were caught with the dead cat, but it was a good one, and I’m going to save it, in case I ever need to use it again. (let’s hope I don’t need it for a very long time)
So the three of us quietly laid Callie to rest in her cathedral with the beautiful view, sang amazing grace and spoke a blessing
I think anyone, human or four legged would have felt it was a fitting farewell.
We started the long trek back down the beach after the sun set and the tide started moving back in.
Rest in Peace Callie.