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My friend Sue is a hoot..plain and simple. We work together and there's never a dull moment when she's around. Today found us doing yoga in the middle of the lab to work out the muscle spasms in my shoulder blade. Her latest make-me-snort-til-I-can't-breathe tale went something like this:

Oldest daughter Julie and her family live in East Tennessee and traveled to the western part of the state to spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the family. On Wednesday after they arrived, Julie took her Mom aside and whispered " I've got to tell you something." "Oh dear" Sue thought to herself. "What's going on?" Julie and the baby were leaving the house that day and as they pulled onto the street their cat, Pepper, spotted the car from a neighbor's yard. Pepper darted out to greet Mom and instead ended up under the wheel of the car. When she got out to investigate, Julie found her beloved Pepper dead as a doornail, and it was at her hand! Hysterically, she phoned her husband Maury at work. He left the office and rushed home to assist with the family crisis. The older kids were at school and they were due to leave for the six hour car trip to Grandma's shortly. There would not be time to tell the kids and give Pepper an appropriate burial but they couldn't leave his kitty carcass laying around for four days at 60 degrees. What to do? Always the man with the plan, Maury folded Pepper's little paws across his chest, carefully wrapped him in plastic and did what any of us would do. He put him in the freezer to chill until they got home.

"Julie!", Sue hissed. "You mean to tell me Pepper is in the damn FREEZER????" Julie reassured her Mom that there was no blood and he looked real good...not messed up at all! They continued with their preparations for Thanksgiving dinner with thoughts of frozen feline just below the surface of every conversation.

Fast forward to four days later when the tribe arrives back in East Tennessee. Maury carefully removed Pepper's stiff body from the plastic wrapper and laid him on the garage floor. There was NO WAY they could tell eleven year old Matthew, seven year old Anna and six year old Elizabeth that their Mom had hit the family pet. The story went that Pepper had been hit by a stranger and had been brought back to the house for a funeral. All three kids tiptoed into the garage to find Pepper stiff as a board and they instantly began wailing. Matthew went over to pet his kitty's fur and his first remark was " But,he's so COLD." Elizabeth and Anna were hysterical, and Anna ran off to her room sobbing uncontrollably. A few minutes later she returned...with mittens on. What better way to handle a frozen cat?

Pepper got buried with a cross and lots of memories shared by his graveside. Maury is considering a second career as an animal undertaker. Mittens will be provided for all of the bereaved in lieu of paper fans.
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