On Friday, since they were serving from 11:00-1:00, I intended to go early, but just kept hitting stuff here, so by the time I got there, the ELECTRICITY WAS OFF.
I tried to go in through the back entry, as the line was forming out of the side door closest to where I finally found parking space. The newest vet told me that door was locked, so I walked around to the front, running into people with plastic plates and foam tea/lemonade cups, finally getting into the dark interior. Angie took me back to the door to the cat infirmary section, telling me she was in the back corner top, next to the IV pole.
Instead of "seeing" my cat, I ended up "feeling" her. She was lying on her side, both front legs bandaged, one trailing an IV line to the fluid on a pole outside her cage. She curled her face into my hand and purred, (which she never does. She chirps for permission to jump into my lap, onto the chair back or bed or to announce that she's leaving right before she jumps down.) I read somewhere that cats purr out of fear. At the time, I thought "no way", but I think it was exactly that this time with her.
Coming back through the dark north hall, I bumped into Lucas, recognizing him by his voice. He gave me the update on her condition, then suggested I could go see her. When he learned that just was coming from there, he suggested I should eat, then see her again, and stay as long as I liked. He's got a very good "bedside manner".
As I entered the shelving area on the south side, lightly lit through very small front windows and the glass door, I saw one of the original owners, Dr. Harmon, one of my favorites through the years, and his wife across the table. He called out to me by name and patted the empty picnic table bench (all the usual shelves of products were elsewhere, replaced by three tables, mostly full of people, intrepid souls who thought they could safely find their mouths in the dark.) We chatted for quite a while until some of the end diners were ready to leave. I stood up as well, intending to head home. He suggested I get in the chow line when he found out I'd just been back to see my cat. I was calmer, but still not sure I could eat. We always teased, so I told him he'd always been a "good one". He popped back, "Never too good." His wife and the whole table broke up.
Going back outside, I got in line for lunch. He's still easy to talk to, and soothing, as is Lucas. (He's at his best when he has to put down an animal, saying very nice, soothing words that just seem to fit. He did that with Jess, who was the one with him when Coqet broke her leg and needed to be put down, then with me with both Debut and Omyno.)
Every time I pass the bright orange "Humeston" sign hanging under the green mileage sign for Cambria, I think of my friend whose husband is a top area sign painter, and wonder what happened to the pasture at the curve to the east of their street where she used to keep her horses, several of whom came from my herd originally. Maybe when it's time to pick up the mail box, I can stop by wherever they are and see Pandemonium Hope again.