Lost and found

It was late November and one of the coldest stretches of winter Michigan had experienced in years. Night after night the thermometer dipped into the single digits. A blanket of snow covered the frozen ground by a foot or more and crunched under foot as I walked. Day after day of gray sky. So cold!

I only caught a glimpse of her as she ran seeking shelter under our deck from the snow and ice. It wasn’t uncommon. Our country homes’ large deck was often host to wildlife. Rabbits and chipmunks were frequent guests. But a cat was new and different. I remember thinking the chances of a ferrel cat surviving this bitter cold winter were slim. Weeks, then months would pass and only frozen tracks in the snow gave evidence to her presence there. Surely she had moved on.

It was a rare sunny February afternoon when I happen to glance out a frosty window and there she was, huddled against our sliding glass door trying to gather what little heat she could. Some how she had survived. Susan put a little tuna fish in a bowl and set it close to her which she immediately devoured. “Don’t let that cat in the house” I protested! “That cat is ferrel and will never be friendly.” It was at that point Susan extended her hand through the slightly opened door and made a friend for life. I was so wrong.

Her fur was matted and dirty, her ears bitten by frost, her body a mere six pounds, eight pounds under normal for a cat her size. She had no collar or tags but had been spayed. It was clear she had been abandoned by an uncaring individual or had gotten lost. As far as the cat was concerned, she was home. We named her ” Snickers”.

For the last five years she has been our constant companion. She never tried to escape and in fact wanted nothing to do with the outdoors. She transitioned from living in our home to our motorhome and traveled with us across this country. She was always at the door to greet us even though it sometimes meant disturbing her mid day nap! Snickers had become part of our family and we loved her dearly.

A year ago she was diagnosed with Hyperactive Thyroidism, a condition that is treatable albeit for the rest of her life. As the months passed, her condition complicated by what we, and the vets thought, were allergies. She struggled to breath and medication did little to nothing to help. Time passed. She continued to get worse. A blood test showed her thyroidism out of control in-spite of the med and getting worse. An x-ray revealed a tumor growing on her heart and was causing her difficult breathing. She fought to survive the freezing cold….this fight she would loose.

Its been five days since she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We mourn her loss and feel a void in our hearts left by her absence. She brought us so much joy and in her own way showed us an abundance of affection. We miss her deeply. Snickers may not have been here for the rest of our lives but we were there for hers. We were blessed to have had her.

Sometimes life lessons present themselves in strange ways. In Snickers’ passing, I’m reminded of how precious life is and how so often we take it for granted. Our time with friends and loved ones on this earth is short. Each day we spend with those we love is a gift. And when they are gone, it’s forever.

Going Deep!

We’ve been to the top of Arizona. It only makes sense that we go below it, Right? About 800 feet below it!

The Queen Cooper Mine which is located in the small town of Bisbee Arizona was a major producer of copper, gold, precious stone and silver. It remained in operation from 1915 until the 1970s. After its closure, the mine was converted to a tourist attraction offering educational tours. The mines offices were converted to a museum displaying artifacts from mining days of long ago .

Equipped with miners hard hats, safety vests and lights, we board an original crew transport and head in the mine. Entering a dark and narrow passage just wide enough for our train we make our way one quarter mile into the side of a mountain.

Not exactly GQ!

The photo on the left shows one of the many chambers that were created in the process of removing the copper ore. The photo on the right was taken as we rode the transport in to the mine. You can see just how narrow the passage in was!

Our Guide showing us the fine art of blasting
Dust created by drilling in the rock was reduced by the introduction of hydro drilling rigs.

For the miners, it was a long way back to the mens room when nature called. This was a miners version and probably the first port-a potty! If you wanted privacy….well you were out of luck!

Moving the large and very heavy carts of copper ore was done by pushing by hand or you were delegated to build you leg muscles by towing them with this!

Lavender Pit is a copper pit mine located just south of Bisbee and closed in 1970. This gigantic hole produced copper ore along with silver and”Bisbee Blue” turquoise which is touted to be the finest of all turquoise. The mine is over 900 ft deep.

The town of Bisbee is home to fabulous architecture, antique shops and art galleries. Truly a step back in time. And speaking of back in time, the abandoned downtown of Lowell just a few blocks away is staged with antique cars and original old time store fronts.

The time we spent in Arizona has been truly memorable. The RV park in Benson was a great place to stay and it made exploring the area so convenient. Its a great place to spend the winter months and we will be back! Our time here has come to an end and it’s time to move on. Next stop, Kerrville, Texas! On the road again!