MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS
GOODBYE, SKINNY CAT!
Saying Goodbye to a Feline Friend
In 2001, Jill and I went on a beach trip. At that time, it was just the two of us and the four rescue cats Jill had before we were married. The cats were indoor/ outdoor, and, when we were on trips, they had a door that allowed them to go in and out whenever they liked. When we returned home, there was a fifth cat lying on our bed. We refused to name him because four cats were enough, and we figured he would eventually go home or someone would claim him. We just called him Skinny Cat. Before long, the whole neighborhood knew him, but, no matter who he visited, he always came back to us for meals. One day, Animal Control caught Skinny, and we were told that a little boy claimed Skinny had scratched him, but we knew this couldn’t be true. Jill stopped the Animal Control truck and asked to see Skinny and speak to the kid who made the claim. She asked the kid if Skinny had scratched him, and he said no. Jill told Animal Control we would get Skinny’s shots, and, from that day on, Skinny was an Upchurch.
it. There were no broken bones. Skinny was crooked for a while,
but he eventually straightened out.
We had 18 years of Skinny adventures. He was the best hunter of all
the cats in the neighborhood
and loved to bring us live chipmunks. Jill and I spent hours
chasing the chipmunks around the house, to the total amusement of Skinny. He also always knew when we were going on a trip and would hide in the car. Once we were halfway to North Carolina when he popped his head up.
About a year later, a neighbor called to tell us our garage door was completely shut and that Skinny was caught in it. The door had completely shut on him. He was still alive,
but he had a broken back. The vet said they would see what they could do but that he would likely need to be put down. We went home and waited for the call. When it finally came, the vet laughed and said he had never seen anything like
I spent the last 18 years watching garage doors shut and triple checking the car before we go on trips to make sure that darn cat wasn’t hiding somewhere. Finally, on June 30, Skinny died. He outlived all the other cats by years. Everyone in our neighborhood knew him, and he watched Bram grow up. He lived all nine of his lives well and probably took a few years off mine in the process.
If there is a cat heaven, Skinny is chasing chipmunks there right now. Goodbye, Skinny Cat Upchurch. Thanks for the amazing memories!
• 1 WWW.MELVIN.LISTBIRMINGHAM.COM
Published by The Newsletter Pro • www.newsletterpro.com
THE 4-LEGGED HEROES OF GROUND ZERO Honoring the Canines of 9/11
If you feel like you’ve hardly seen your kids since the school year started, you’re not alone. Americans are way too busy — from childhood onward, we’re always running hither and thither, packing in as many after-school activities, work-related meetings, and social engagements as possible. It’s a problem so pervasive that it has a name: time scarcity. Families feel time scarcity keenly after school starts in September, when children’s schedules explode with engagements. But all hope for close ties isn’t lost; there are ways to stay connected with your spouse and kids, even in an increasingly busy world. Here are some ideas from counselors, teachers, and psychologists who claim to have mastered the art. Rituals make up the backbone of individual families and society at large. Most people wouldn’t dream of abandoning their holiday traditions, so why forgo the smaller rituals that bring families together? Whether it’s eating dinner at the same table each evening, watching a movie together every Thursday night, or going on a monthly getaway, make sure these traditions aren’t canceled. If your family doesn’t have many rituals, a great way to connect is to start some. STAYING CONNECTED Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World REMEMBER YOUR RITUALS
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets to clear rubble, offer supplies, and search for survivors. It was a powerful act of resilience in a deeply trying time, and while most of the individuals helping with the disaster stood on two feet, more than 300 canines also answered the call to service. Dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, including search and rescue dogs, police dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs, were brought in to help find and care for survivors in the wake of the destruction. They worked tirelessly alongside rescue crews as they searched through the debris. Search and rescue dogs and their handlers worked 12–16-hour days, searching for survivors and victims. They worked through dangerous conditions: Many dogs burned their paws as they dug through hot rubble, and both handlers and canines inhaled toxic dust. The task was both physically and mentally exhausting for the dogs during their shifts. Some dogs that found deceased victims refused to eat or interact with other animals. Search and rescue dogs became increasingly stressed and depressed the longer they searched without any results, mirroring their handlers. It wasn’t uncommon for handlers to stage mock “findings” of survivors to keep the dogs’ spirits up.
Fortunately, the sacrifices these dogs and their handlers made did not go unnoticed. Many dog owners were inspired to earn their search and
rescue certifications after the events of 9/11, promising to aid in future disasters and hopefully lessen the impact of such catastrophes.
MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT
As cliche as it sounds, when you don’t have much time together, it’s crucial to be present for every minute of it. If you have a rare half hour at home with one of your kids, make a point to spend it in the same room and try to start a conversation. If you squeeze in a romantic dinner with your spouse, turn off your phones before the food comes. Listening to each other without distractions will strengthen your relationship.
After 9/11, various researchers conducted many studies
examining the effect this kind of work has on animals, both physically and mentally. Many of these studies wouldn’t be possible without the AKC Canine Health Foundation, so if you’re
HUG IT OUT
Physical contact is vital for closeness. When you get the chance, hug your kids, hold hands with your spouse, and do physical activities as a family, like hiking, biking, or even playing group sports. It’s been scientifically proven that physical closeness leads to emotional closeness, so if you’re low on time, take advantage of that shortcut!
looking to give back this September, visit them at their website to see how you can help: AKCCHF.org.
2 • 205-223-6192
STOP THE SPREAD Prevent Colds and the Flu With Kid-Friendly Teaching Tools
School is back in session, but your child may be bringing home more than just random facts. Germs and bacteria that spread the common cold and flu are most prevalent in schools, but while these illnesses are strong, prevention is simple. Teach your kids how to prevent the spread of bacteria this season with these helpful tips.
one sneeze. (According to research, sneezes can travel anywhere from 19–26 feet at 100 miles per hour!) For crafty kids, let
BUT MOMMY DOESN’T COVER HER NOSE!
them decorate tissue boxes or hand sanitizer
Kids learn more by watching what you do rather than listening to what you tell them to do. Get in the habit of covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and then wash your hands. Make hand sanitizer and facial tissues readily available in your home and be sure to wash your hands before every meal. In addition, stick to healthy habits when you do feel sick. Drink fluids, get plenty of rest, and seek medical attention when it’s warranted. If your children see you taking care of yourself, they will be more likely to do the same for themselves in the future.
containers to give hygiene some flair. Soon enough, you’ll find them being smarter about their health.
AHH ... AHH ... ACHOO!
As kids pack into classrooms this fall, germs will fly faster than this past summer did. Prevent
Hand washing and nose blowing are about as fun as …well, just that. It’s no wonder children don’t want to take time out of their busy play schedules to combat nasty germs. Instead of making these important steps a chore, make basic hygiene fun. Use fun songs to teach the proper way to cover a sneeze, or do a science experiment to teach your children about the germs that are spread through just
the spread of the common cold and flu by learning more tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online at CDC.gov.
CACIO E PEPE
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by Bon Appétit
6 oz pasta, ideally spaghetti or bucatini
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and divided
1/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste
1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stopping 2 minutes short of desired doneness. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add pepper and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. 3. Transfer pasta and remaining butter to pan and reduce heat to low. Add Parmesan cheese and cook until melted, tossing pasta throughout. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino, continuing to toss until cheese is melted and sauce coats pasta. 4. Transfer to bowls and serve.
Solution on Page 4
• 3 WWW.MELVIN.LISTBIRMINGHAM.COM
205-223-6192 WWW.MELVIN.LISTBIRMINGHAM.COM 300 UNION HILL DR., STE. 200 BIRMINGHAM, AL 35209
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
INSIDE 1 Saying Goodbye to a Feline Friend
Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World Honoring the Canines of 9/11
Teach Your Kids Flu Prevention Cacio e Pepe
The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks
THE BEST NATIONAL PARKS TO VISIT THIS FALL
Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a Boston fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn
colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many scenic lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park wherever you like and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and cedars change before your eyes. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming While the West might typically be associated with evergreen pines, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!
leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the
changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing.
Acadia National Park, Maine While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the
4 • 205-223-6192
Published by The Newsletter Pro • www.newsletterpro.comPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online