The Gift That Keeps On Giving
by LISA McCLELLAN

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It all began one October evening several years ago when my husband, Terry, was surfing the internet in search of a new kitten. He found a website and he simply could not resist contacting the breeder. After having a lengthy conversation and sharing bits and pieces about ourselves, we had dibs on not one, but TWO precious brown tabby and white Persian babies. Two months later, Emma and Oliver traveled from Canada to their new home in Minnesota. One year later we decided they needed a “sibling” so we contacted their breeder again and Emma and Oliver chose a handsome red tabby Exotic brother and we named him Chili. They are a PURRFECT trio and each day we are reminded of the gift our cat breeder provided us. . . our bundles of purring joy and love!

Our breeder had some pretty stringent rules we had to abide by before she agreed to send the kitties to us, one of which was that we were “required” to keep her informed on the kittens’ progress and send her annual updates and photos on how they were doing. She could not have known what she was about to get herself into : -)))

Keep in mind, I LOVE to talk plus we had just put our 20-year-old cat to sleep and she was not the most active cat in her old age so we were not accustomed to the festivities that came along with THREE young kittens! We were enjoying them immensely and I simply could not resist sending her play-by-play emails . . . I bet she just LOVES buyers like me who write her EVERY time their kitten does something cute that she has seen a million times : -))).

We have grown to be good friends over the years, often chatting on the phone, almost daily emails, and of course exchanging gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

We both enjoyed choosing rather unique (silly) gifts. One of the cats' favorite was a pair of slippers she gave my hubby, Terry. They were in the shape of huge reindeer faces and when you pressed an ear,they played “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. I think the cats thought they were two new playmates... :-) . Although the slippers were my husbands, I loved to wear them too...

I was cooking breakfast one Sunday morning in early December, still dressed in my pajamas with the Rudolph twins on my feet, when I realized I could hear a high pitched hum. It sounded like an alarm of sorts but not real loud. I can be a bit of a whack when it comes to alarms. I rarely remain calm but instead jump out of my skin and my first instinct is to grab the cats and head for the nearest shelter.

It didn't help my nerves that when the humming first began the cats transformed from cool and collected felines into Charger Chili, Elliptical Emma, and Oscillating Oliver - but my husband sat in front of the computer, like a bump on a log, not the slightest bit phased by the high pitched humming reverberating throughout the entire house. The scene went something like this. . .

Lisa: What is that noise?

Terry: What noise?

Lisa ( walking into the office): Can’t you hear that hum?

Terry: No.

Lisa: I can’t believe you can’t hear that noise, you can’t hear that humming?

By this time, the bacon was smoking on the stove as I paced from room to room trying to locate the humming noise. The scene continues . . .

Terry: I can hear it a little.

Lisa: A little? You didn’t have your hearing checked like I told you to, did you?

Terry: Will you calm down?

Lisa: I can’t believe you can’t hear that!

Terry: Will you stop nagging!

About this time, I gave Terry his slippers that I had been wearing so he could go down into the basement to look for the problem. As soon as we descended into the basement, he thought it sounded louder in the basement. He changed the furnace filter but the humming didn’t stop.

While he was in the basement, I changed out of my pajamas and into my clothes. I was getting ready to check into our local Motel 6 until the mystery of the humming was solved! Terry came back upstairs, and entered our master bedroom to also change his clothes, when he paused . . .

Lisa: I think it is something that you did in the attic with the insulation.

Terry: I doubt it.

Lisa: Can you hear it?

Terry: Kind of.

Lisa (here we go again) : I can’t believe you can’t hear that humming! It's even louder in here than it was before...

Terry: Will you please be quiet!

Lisa: I just can’t believe that you can’t hear that. You really need to get your hearing checked.

Terry (looking at the ceiling) : I am going to Home Depot.

Lisa: Well if that humming goes on much longer, the cats and I are going to a hotel.

Terry left for Home Depot. I shut the bedroom door to drown out the noise and continued to mutter to myself, “I can’t believe he can’t hear that.”

Three hours later the humming was still going strong, Terry was still shopping (trying to avoid my nagging?) and I was loudly playing music to drown out the hum when I decided to email my trusty friend, the cat breeder. After explaining our humming problem, she mentioned once she has spent an hour searching her house trying to find a faint pinging sound that turned out to be an old travel alarm clock in the back of a desk drawer... and a light bulb went off in my head!

I began to tear the closet apart in the bedroom searching for a battery operated clock, a handheld game, an extra alarm clock, or a battery operated "something" that may be going off. It sounded louder, like it was coming from the closet, but I STILL couldn't find where that annoying humming was coming from.

Frustrated, I stopped looking and began instead to tidy up my husband's scattered clothes... then, as I picked up the his slippers from the floor, the hum was LOUD and CLEAR.

It was coming from the Reindeer slippers!

The slippers that the cat breeder had given Terry for Christmas . . . the slippers that when you pressed an ear, they played “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” . . . the same slippers I had been wearing as I paced the house. I realized the reason Terry could not hear the noise as I was walking away from him was because I was wearing the slippers... and the noise went with me!

The mechanism that played the musical tune had broken. Now instead of musical notes, it just hummed. I started laughing so hard the cats came running to find out what they were missing.

So I apologized to my husband about my comments concerning his hearing. Now, as the holiday season returns, we still take turns wearing those ridiculous Reindeer slippers, though with no music . . . and we smile as we are reminded of our cat's breeder . . . our friend . . .and her gifts . . . both those that purr and those that hum . . . the gifts that just keep on giving . . .


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