8. Winter and how to survive it

A concerned TiggerI returned from my appointment for a biopsy of a ‘thing' on my cheek. They had taken a small core from my cheek and put two stitches in the opening and placed a small bandage over it. After lunch I settled in my easy chair and Tigger bounded into my lap for the usual petting and small talk before he would take a nap in my lap or on my chest. He was startling to stretch out and get comfortable, kneading my chest with his paws, when all of a sudden he sat back and looked at the bandage on my cheek.

"Whoa! What's that on your face?" he asked as he checked out the bandage with his nose and gently patted it with his paw.

"Oh, didn't I tell you I was going to the doctor today?" I responded, touched by his concern. The biopsy site did hurt quite a bit.

"Yes, you did... but you didn't say what the doctor was going to do to you. What did he do to you?"

"Well, he stuck this thing into my cheek and took out a little sample of my skin to be tested. Then he put two stitches in to close up the hole and a bandage to cover it up. It really wasn't much of a big deal." I said trying to ease his mind about it. "You go to the vet all the time you know. It isn't a big deal, right?"

He patted the bandage tenderly again. "Sure, I go to the vet but she never did anything like that to me. The worst she ever did was stick thing up my.... never mind. I don't particularly like the shots but they only hurt for a little while. Actually the people at the clinic are pretty neat."

I continued to rub him as he continued to look at the bandage with a worried look in his eyes. He always looks goofy when I rub his head and cheeks. It makes his hair smooth down and gives his face a triangular look and makes his eyes look bigger. Now, with his concern over my little bandage, his eyes really looked funny. I figured this wasn't a good time to bring up the operation he would be getting in February.

We settled down for a short nap with Tigger nestled on my chest. After awhile he woke up and went to the screen in the dining room to see what was happening in the back yard. He spent a lot of time watching the yard... it's a cat... thing. When he leapt off my chest he woke me up.

After watching the yard for awhile he ran back to me and jumped back up on my chest.

Mr Woodchuck"That woodchuck is in the yard again. He is out there almost all the time now. Have you noticed?" he asked.

"As a matter of fact, I have noticed. They always do that this time of year you know. They eat a lot more this time of year." I explained. Tigger seemed awfully interested in the woodchucks.... and birds for that matter.

"Why?" he asked.

"Well, they are getting ready for winter. They sleep all winter and have to eat a lot before they go to sleep for the winter."

"They sleep all winter? Uh.... what's a winter?"

"That's right, you haven't seen a winter yet. Well, winter is a part of the year, like summer. You have been around for a whole summer. Winter is about that long. Now do you understand why they eat a lot? What if you didn't eat for as long as you

are old? You would be pretty hungry wouldn't you?" They eat a lot so they can go a long time without eating again. Of course they sleep pretty much all of that time."

"I like to sleep but that would be too long. The hummers are eating a lot now too. Are they going to sleep all winter?"

Hummers"No, but they are eating a lot to prepare for something else. They are going to fly south before long and they need all that food to be strong enough to fly for a very long distance."

"They don't like it here anymore?"

Once again I marveled at the way our conversations developed... in crazy directions. "Well, it isn't that they don't like it here anymore. They just want to go south where it is warmer for the winter. Not many flowers around in the winter so they go where it is warm enough for the flowers to still grow. It think it is pretty smart of them, don't you?"

"I guess. Are we going to sleep for the winter or are we going south.?"

"Actually, neither. We will stay right here for the winter and do pretty much like we do now. We are lucky because we can make the house warm in the winter and don't have to have flowers around to eat them. I just go to the grocery store down the road and buy what we need to eat, you know."

"Oh.", he said as he patted my stomach with his paw, "I just thought maybe you were getting ready to sleep all winter or to fly a long distance..."

"Now cut that out....."

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