This has not been a good month at Good Fortune Farm Refuge. A few weeks ago, I lost Dick Cheney. It was terrible. He had another impaction and the vet felt the probability of a good outcome wasn’t there. He was a fierce and loving cat. Last week, I lost Eudora Welty (massive tumor on her spleen) and Pistol Pete. Pete had a heart murmur and I believe he had a stroke. Eudora died March 7 and Pete March 8. This hits me hard. Animal lovers know what a loss this is. These pets are my family of choice, and it has been a tough year, beginning with the loss of Dick Cheney and Puss, who died peacefully in her sleep the first of the year. And I have lost so many of my human friends.
I have to look back on my decision to make all of these animals part of my family. I must have been nuts—because the pain of losing them is so great. The only comfort is that I gave them the best life I could, and so many of them were tagged for a crueler death. While they were with me, they had the best medical care, food, and love that I could provide. But my heart is taking a real beating here.
On a happier front, I was privileged to be part of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame induction ceremony for 2023. Several of my writer friends were acknowledged, but especially Eugene Walter. Mobile novelist, poet, lyricist, translator, coffin painter, and a good friend to me. Eugene wrote many things. His novel, THE UNTIDY PILGRIM, won the Lippincott Award in England. He was 26. He helped found the PARIS REVIEW, and he worked on films with Fellini. For all of his literary and artistic accomplishments, the most important thing to me was his kindness, generosity, and the genuine joy he showed whenever we were together. Eugene lived in the moment. When he was dying, I didn’t know for a long time. He never spoke of his illness and he never complained.
We had a terrific time at the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.
When I moved to Mobile from Ocean Springs, MS, Eugene took me under his wing. He could make any moment a great memory because he believed in being “enchanted.” That is a rare and remarkable quality.
Rebecca Barrett and I did a collection of memories about Eugene and published them several years back. MOMENTS WITH EUGENE is our tribute to him. I’ve giving away 3 copies of this out-of-print book—so please read the directions so you can enter the contest properly. There is a special e-mail to enter.
Eugene was a fabulous chef and a remarkable gardener. He went to battle to save Mobile trees against the evil-doers who want to cut the beautiful trees that make Mobile unique. He did a Time Life cookbook on Southern cooking. So here’s the contest question. What is your favorite recipe for real Southern food? The winners will have to give up their secret recipes! But you’ll get a book in return. Please post your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will randomly pick 3 winners and I will mail the book out to them. It has photos and wonderful memories. The winners will be requested to post their favorite Southern recipes on my FB page.
I’ve finished the first draft of JAWS BONES. I’m having fun. And Mandy Haynes (she is my illegitimate daughter who never learned to spell our name correctly) and I have worked out a synopsis for our thriller. We’ll see if we can sell it to a publisher.
This isn’t a great deal of news. I’m kind of low, missing Eudora, Pete, Puss, and Dick. They required the most effort and love due to their illnesses, and they leave a huge hole in the fabric of my life. Eudora and Dick fought so valiantly to live, even though they were old and in pain. Here’s a tune for you: ANGEL. It’s hard for me to hear this song at this time—but it is so lovely.
You guys take care. See you in April. And then in May, TELL-TALE BONES will be on sale. You can preorder here: TELL-TALE BONES
Kiss your pets,
From Carolyn and the critters.