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Sunday, October 18, 2015

It’s one of those weeks when my attention seems to be fractured into a million different pieces. So that’s the kind of column you’re getting.


There is snow in the forecast this weekend.

Snow. I just typed that and stared at it in horror. After a lifetime spent in Western New York, you’d think I’d be a little more at peace with the notion that cold weather starts early here and snow is not unusual in October. We survived the 2006 October storm (and eight days without power) with a not-quite-2-year-old. I grew up in Cattaraugus County knowing that Halloween costumes had to be capable of co-existing with a snowsuit.

Still. There’s a shudder that runs down my spine when I see that word. But not so much because I hate the cold (I do), but because it’s a precursor to winter – and long days, weeks and months stuck in the house with two active young boys.

We try to get out. We really do. But while one kid likes to sled and build snowmen from time to time, the other hates cold enough to want no part of it. And they’re usually a package deal.

Even with the occasional excursion to some sort of indoor play place, that leaves us in the house a lot. There are toys, and games, and all the usual distractions, but at some point, it gets to be a bit too much.

And then they are, literally, bouncing off the walls.

Yes, that’s the correct use of the word “literally.” I have watched epic wrestling matches in which the living room wall was used as a springboard. And gymnastics in which the ceiling comes into play. And as mentioned a few weeks back, I have uttered the immortal words, “Why did you try to hurtle your brother?”

So if I’m disgusted with the idea of snow this weekend, I have good reason to be. Here’s hoping this winter isn’t as long or as brutal as last year’s.


And on that note, your Samism of the week:

We were talking about the snow in the forecast and the idea of a white-out – not being able to see because of so much snow in the air -- came up.

Sam: “I know what a black-out is.”

Me: “Oh? What is it?”

Sam: “It’s when your air conditioners don’t work.”


The boys and I visited a local pet store not long ago, stopping in on our way from one place to another just because they both love animals. As so many stores do now, only very small pets were for sale, but there was a section for cats up for adoption through a local rescue organization.

There were about a dozen there. We scratched ears for those who were interested, read the stories on their information cards and wished that my husband weren’t so darned allergic. Sam in particular adores cats.

On the end was Tom.

Tom was a black cat, considerably beat up from a life on the streets, his ears chewed and his face scarred. He crouched in his cage quietly, eyes closed. Sam hunkered down next to him and, when there was no fear or anger, offered his fingers for sniffing. That was all the reaction he got.

But for all the lovely adoptable cats in that room, Tom is all he can talk about.

“He had a rough life, didn’t he, Mom?”

“Do you think he has a home now, Mom? Do you think he’s still there?”

“Is there anything we can do to help, Mom?”

We put some money in the donation jar when we left, but my boy still wonders what will become of Tom. He wonders about all of them. He cares.

If anyone has any suggestions for ways a soft-hearted 7-year-old (with his mom) can help out with the never-ending role of animal rescue in the area, please let me know. Most organizations require volunteers to be much older, but perhaps there is something he can do.

+Jill Keppeler  is proud to be raising a “softy.” Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at

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