Our Tiny Zoo

Obligatory Cuteness from Far Away
Obligatory Cuteness from Far Away

I don’t have to explain this in detail. You get the picture: A strong-willed and intelligent 8 year old, a sometimes petulant and equally strong-willed if less articulate 19 month old (with the expected plumbing issues), a 3 month old mouth on legs fond of leaping, chewing and lapsitting (and with the same said plumbing issues) and a former Ruler of the Lair feline not happy with the runt that displaced her.

Those are the matters that have come between me and blogging, writing a deadline piece for the paper, creating bling for the book, making requisite emails for speaking gigs, and for thinking in a most general and universal way. I suffer from cogitatus interruptus.

But there are no rattlesnakes in this story, no death-defying leaps from tall buildings (or high chairs) this time around. The weather has been dead set against us, so we’ve been basically stuck on carpet for a week, and when you’re from Goose Creek, this is its own form of deprivation.

It wasn’t for a vacation that we came out here this time, but it will be a pleasure, looking back, to have watched our little family grow for a week, to have stood in as temporary surrogate parents and animal control officers.

In not so many more of these occasional visits out, one little girl will be going off to college, the other will have all her teeth and be able to say real words and look forward to coming to Grannie Annie’s and Dumpa’s and play in big sister Abby’s creek.

And so it goes.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I empathize with you. As I try to frame my thoughts each morning with a freshly learned to crawl grandson at my feet playing on the kitchen floor…Where was I…Oh yes, It is difficult to keep the words moving with the thoughts…But, then, I never had this opportunity with my own kids.

    Isn’t being a grandpa fun?