Friday, July 5, 2013

The Caper of the Pink Sapphires

Hattie holds a revered place on this blog, and most of my stories about her are happy tributes.  But she had her unpleasant quirks, like any sentient being, and this story is about one of them.

We were Hattie's third owners, the second being short-lived when Hattie and a resident cat did not get along.  Her first owner worked in an office, and that's where Hattie grew up, spending most days at work.  She apparently spent her days sniffing out and sampling office supplies, because by the time she arrived in our lives at the age of three she had a very refined palate.  If, by refined, you mean sharp metal things.

Paper clips, staples. thumbtacks, pins, needles, nails, and push pins were Hattie's particular favorites, but she wouldn't turn up her nose at a few morsels of broken glass or an errant BB pellet.  She had an uncanny ability to enter a new place and immediately find (and feast upon) the last remnant of a glass broken months if not years before.

It was almost as if she had a canine version of pica.  For all of these assaults to her digestive system, though, she was remarkably healthy.  Still, I spent much of the seven years she was in my life scouring the ground for possible hazards. 

This quirk was merely that, until it wasn't.  Until the day my beloved pink sapphire earrings went missing.  The ones I'd bought on vacation in Jamaica the year before.  The ones that perfectly matched the ring I'd bought with them.  I walked into my room to find the box open, on the floor, apparently knocked off of my dresser.  I assume the fall was accidental, but the jewelry box tissue wet with slobber was a clear giveaway. 

After a few tears and choice words, I resigned myself to sorting through excrement for the next several days.  That was a truly horrible week, for more reasons than one.  I did find one earring but not the other.  But what was even more telling was what else I found.  Have you ever seen a pushpin after it has gone through a small dog's intestinal tract?  Sadly, I have.  More than once.  Paper clips, intact.  A couple of small carpet tacks.  And who knows what else I've repressed.

I put the found earring in a glass of soapy water on the counter while I pondered what to do next.  Then, that night, it was gone.  My mother had not seen the contents of the glass and put it through the dishwasher.  After an hour digging through the intestinal tract of the dishwasher, I had an insanely clean pink sapphire earring.  It remains, to this day, a solitary one.

The sapphire earrings were not the only victim of Hattie's odd appetite.  To this day I am unable to find a black pearl pendant I had made in Tahiti.  I keep holding out hope I'll open a long-forgotten box, and there it'll be, but I think I know what really happened. 

I've gotten a few other pairs of pink sapphire earrings over the years, none of which are quite like the one I lost. 

So imagine my delight when, tonight, I opened a birthday present from my parents and found the most gorgeous pair of pink sapphire earrings.  They're not quite the same, but they may even be better.  Instead of a light pink, they're a dark, rosy, warm color with lovely sparkle.  I love them.  My parents, watching my reaction on Skype, said they've been looking for years for a replacement for Hattie's indiscretion.

I love that we can now laugh over Hattie's peculiar predilection.  I'm still a little angry - especially about the pearl - but all I can do is look forward.  And Hattie would not be Hattie without her obsession with small, sharp, metal things. 

But I can tell you one thing.  I'm hiding these from the cats.  While they've never shown any fondness for metal supplements to their diet (plastic bags unfortunately being Griffin's favorite snack), once burned, twice shy, as the adage goes.