CLOUDY GRAY: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT [HUNTER GRAY, OCTOBER 2, 2006]  WITH MANY FINE COMMENTS  -- AND, OUR GOOD WOOLY [MARCH 28 2008]

OUR LAIR OF HUNTERBEAR WEBSITE IS DEDICATED TO CLOUDY GRAY  --  "To the end of her life, she took care of Dad." [Maria Kateri Gray]            

AND SEE ALSO,  http://hunterbear.org/sky_gray_comes_home.htm

 

 

CLOUDY GRAY

 

TO CLOUDY AND WOOLY:

"Wherever you are, I am always with you - always

And wherever I am, you are always with me

And we're always together

Now and Forever

Forever and Ever are we always together

Good girls!  Good girls!

And Everything will be all right.

H.

 

WOOLY HEATH SALTER

 

HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]:

Fall has just now enveloped Eastern Idaho with a vengeance:  very cool temperatures, cold rain and some snow, falling leaves.  It well fits my somber and grimly reflective mood.
 
We left the very modern, state-of-the-art small animal veterinarian clinic in Pocatello last Friday morning -- Eldri and I had gone there with Cloudy -- and only Eldri and I returned. I, who drove, was later completely unable to recall the specific route of several miles through town that I'd taken on our return route.  "You were in shock, real shock," Eldri told me.  And by then several of the outward signs of my potentially lethal version of systemic lupus had materialized:  red rash on my upper chest, gnarled hands, our imported Teton water tasted strange, no appetite.  By evening, these had passed but the omni-present fatigue characterizing the disease continued -- now laced with the very deepest rivers of sadness.
 
I am no stranger to bodily death -- in various times and contexts.  I have not really cried since I was a small child.  My outward stolidity -- which has nothing to do with ethnicity or culture -- conceals my deep and sometimes turbulent grief. The closest that I came to crying since those very long ago days was almost thirty years ago, when my father was struck unexpectedly by two quickly concurrent massive strokes which presaged his death.  Choking up badly in front of several of my organizing staff members at Rochester, New York, I regained my composure, traveled by air twice to Arizona to take over matters which I handled systematically and efficiently.  Months later, with our family then on the Navajo Nation, several tribal elders -- including the late Carl Gorman, a great artist and Code Talker leader, who had known Dad -- quietly and in subtle fashion  effectively helped me gain perspective.
 
Now I sit, pokerfaced, with tobacco pipe and coffee cup, sometimes watching in an oddly detached fashion the inevitable collapse of the regime of this country and, concurrently, the slippage and fall of various individuals -- some now genuinely pathetic.
 
Sometimes I watch only an empty screen.  And I have been very close indeed to crying.
 
In addition to our family humans, I am frequently surrounded by our furry friends -- cats and dogs -- who now sometimes cluster together in my room while I work on my computer.  They, too, are lost and extremely sad.  I and Eldri have given continual encouragement and bolstering -- and hope -- to many of our family members, here and far away, who, badly shaken, cried, sometimes at length, upon hearing our report on Cloudy.  I tell them, "Everything is going to be all right.  Everything.  She is still very much around us.  And -- some day -- another strange cat will come around, put forth her paw, look deeply into my eyes, and we will know very profoundly inside ourselves, as we take her into our family, that Cloudy has finally returned."
 
 Coudy was a Personage. She was ours and we hers. But she came to have a special impact on many others. We are grateful, I say early on, for the e-mail messages and phone calls of condolence and for the supportive thoughts of many.  The written messages will be posted soon on our special website page:  Cloudy Gray:  Everything Is Going To Be All Right.
 
She came to us in a strange way, a little more than ten years ago at our then home on the far outskirts of Grand Forks, North Dakota -- ten months before we made our long trek, with several family members [including all animals and a turtle], into the rugged mountains of Idaho.  About a year old when we joined forces, she was not particularly large -- a complex blend physically and emotionally of Bobcat and housecat.  Her tallish fluted ears were each peaked by black arrow-head pointed tufts, her feet were tufted, and whiskers long. Her fur was heavy, covering a closely knitted second layer of hair.  Her ruff was impressive, especially with winter growth, and her sharp and canny eyes were green.  Her body was long, strong, and her back legs especially were powerful. Her furry tail waved with frequency.  On the occasions, increasingly rare [for her safety] when she was outside, she ran in great bounds and could, with one jump, leap high onto a tree.
 
Early on, we became aware that she was psychic -- often responding to our thoughts even before we articulated them or physically moved.
 
When she and I initially met, our eyes immediately locked -- and she jumped up onto my chest, clinging.  From that point on, as I took her home, we were totally bonded -- and I was always her special person.  We never had her spayed -- we thought it could somehow compromise her health -- and, although she may have had one in her very early period, she never had a litter with us.  But she had us -- her very devoted and adoring family -- and, all the way through, she gave all of us her unending devotion and love and service.
 
In addition to her congenial relations with everyone here -- humans and animals alike -- she often played the peacemaker with humans.  If anyone, even myself, became overly acrimonious or audibly troubled, she rushed to their side obviously imploring cool-down. 
 
But, again, I was her special person -- and her focus on me was fervent.  And then that increased -- and increased.  In the summer of 2003, struck by the most serious version of SLE, genetic and incurable, I was virtually incapacitated for months, hospitalized near death several times.  At night -- and the nights were long and desperate -- we never knew if I would be around for the coming morn.  Cloudy and I had always been virtually inseparable -- she always slept in my bedroom -- she now remained in there all night, sleeping consistently in such a fashion that she faced me from the computer counter or chair.  Often she came over, "taking care" of me, kneading my chest, purring her very deep and gravelly purr, licking my face. [And her face and glittering eyes could be, up close and at night, very very Bobcat indeed.]  She was always a major, critical component of my tie to Life.
 
This continued all the way through -- even after the peaks [or depths] of my medical crises had finally eased a bit.
 
And then, suddenly, several weeks ago she increased even more her nighttime ministry -- leaping on me at night, cuddling frenetically.  Around that same time, I began having a series of strange and deeply troubling dreams in which Cloudy was lost and I was desperately seeking her.  Eldri, assimilating all of this and recognizing Cloudy's strongly empathetic perceptions, wondered if something especially negative medically was going on within me.  But I had noted no especially alarming changes -- and my doctor saw nothing particularly unusual when he checked me carefully last Monday -- a week ago. But he did remind me that we could take absolutely nothing for granted save that SLE would be with me until I died.
 
In those final days before she herself -- never ill a day in her life --  came visibly down with her own terminal illness, Cloudy faithfully followed her normal schedule. But in those last nights she was never more than a few inches from me. 
 
Last Wednesday, she seemed completely OK in all respects.  As usual, she sat on the table with me sharing my breakfast fish which I placed on a piece of newspaper for her -- then went into my room for a nap.  Later she played with another cat, had midday treats ["Cloudy meat" -- i.e., sliced smoked turkey which we give to all our animal friends] and, in the early evening, came as usual  to our living room where she lay down encouraging me to go in to bed.  And she, as always, took care of me that night.
 
But the next day she missed breakfast.  Since that had happened now and then we were not alarmed.  She seemed to sleep that morning -- on my bed -- but I noticed her head was held strangely up and her eyes tended to be open in slitted fashion.  Around noon, she slipped into another room -- a secondary favorite of hers -- and went under a dresser where she occasionally slept. 
 
Late that afternoon, I suddenly became alarmed.  We immediately tapped a treat can -- which always brought her from wherever she was -- but this time to no avail.  Looking under the dresser where Cloudy had last been seen hours before, Maria became immediately concerned.  Cloudy was hunched, her eyes were strange, she was drooling.  When even the opened and proffered treat can failed to bring her out, we gently brought her forth.  As we happened to touch her stomach area, she began to cry out in a terrible fashion which we had never heard before.  She wanted neither food nor water and Eldri rightly worried about developing dehydration.
 
Then, pulling away, Cloudy went into my room.  This was someone who had never been sick.  We wondered about hairballs -- something of an occasional problem for her.  But then, in the early evening, I began having feelings of dread.  She spent that night on my bed where I took only two hours of sleep at most -- and tried to gently check her constantly.  She was occasionally shifting on the bed for comfort's sake.
 
When I awoke at one point, she was gone.  I went to the living room and found her -- as per her normal schedule -- lying on the floor, waiting for me. As usual, I petted her and she responded but, even then, I saw no improvement.  When I sat down in my chair with pipe and coffee, she jumped as usual in the adjoining one.  But her eyes were now always open and even more strangely narrowed. The drooling continued.  When we tried at several points to hold her, she cried.  Even though the chair is fairly new and soft, she was now almost constantly shifting her position on it. 
 
And then she looked directly at me with eyes wide open.  There was almost an infinite sense of depth to them -- and a kind of desperation.  But there was also a strong sense of poignant yearning.  And I could sense a question.
 
"Everything is going to be all right, little girl," I said quietly.  "We are all going to be all right. All of us."  Her head relaxed slightly.
 
I said again, "Everything is going to be all right."
 
And then she tried to sleep.
 
As soon it was feasible, not long after daybreak, we arranged for an immediate emergency appointment with the top-flight vet. Driving fast through the early morning Pocatello traffic, something I'd not done since Lupus struck, we all entered the suite of offices.  Coming out immediately, the vet and her staff checked Cloudy in preliminary fashion.  We had indicated her pain in the general stomach region and, pressing that  locale slightly, the doctor found the immediate area involved -- but could see and feel nothing unusual from the outside.
 
"This all points to an obstruction," she said.  "We may be able to handle it with surgery."  We certainly agreed.  She gently carried Cloudy in for a somewhat more probing exam.  She returned to indicate X rays were in order.  And when she returned again, within bare minutes, the vet's face was somber as she placed the photos on screen.  There was a very large tumor inside Cloudy -- a growing tumor which was obviously affecting several organs.  Her powerful strength and commitment and love had kept her going -- full ahead and steadily along -- right to the end.
 
And so the great but quiet epic Sun which had begun slightly more than ten years before passed under the rim of the western horizon.  We went into an adjoining room to say farewell.  Cloudy was stretched out on a small table.  She was, of course, heavily sedated.  One of the attendants had carefully brushed her somewhat unruly fur. Eldri and I each said Goodbye -- and I stroked her several times.  "Good girl," I told her.  "Everything will be all right.  It will all be all right."
 
And then, with the doctor and the attendants standing there, I stroked Cloudy one final time. "We will see one another again.  Again."
 
Back in the doctor's room, I signed the necessary papers -- among other things providing for Cloudy's ashes to be sent to us.  I then noticed that my signature was precisely the same garbled and almost indecipherable thing I had scrawled so many times three years or so before from my hospital beds.
 
So now things are very lonely indeed.  The nights and early mornings are desolate.  Wooly, a small black cat older than Cloudy -- the two were sometimes openly jealous of me -- is now, almost hesitatingly yet steadily, assuming for me some of Cloudy's good works.  We welcome this -- as we know Cloudy does.  We have Cloudy's collar with its little bell and a few other things.  Very importantly, we have the calendar containing twelve photos of her in typical poses that Maria took and prepared -- almost intuitively -- for a gift last Christmas. [One shows Thomas on our couch with Cloudy atop; another depicts her in my arms while I slept in my chair.]  All of the photos themselves are safely within special covering sheets in our large scrapbook containing the most precious family documents.
 
So, as I have told myself and our now large and geographically disparate family, we "Keep on, keeping on."  And I continue to tell our folks that "Everything will be all right.  Everything .  For all of us."
 
We always Keep Fighting.
 
And now and then, I talk to the seemingly vacant chair next to mine in the living room, on my bed, and to her space on the table where we always had our breakfast together.  And I say all of the things I know Cloudy wants to hear.  Little Cloudy -- always and forever our beloved Na´shdo´i´ba´i´ .
 
 
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]  Pocatello, Idaho -- Monday, October 2,  2006

_______________________________________

VERY SPECIAL NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR   MARCH 28 2008:  OUR GOOD WOOLY

Our great little black cat, Wooly, named in the above narrative as almost immediately assuming Cloudy's good works, died late this afternoon in my bedroom / office.  [This had always been Cloudy's room and hers.]  Born at Grand Forks, N.D. early in September 1993, I had held her when she was less than one day old.  Always very supportive of me and other family members, Wooly "took care" of me -- increasing this upon Cloudy's passing -- as her top priority. Thus Wooly truly "came into her own." She continued her fine and full service for 18 months -- right up until today.  We faithfully ministered to her during a debilitating and worsening illness.  Maria and I and Eldri were with her when she moved on to join Cloudy -- out and far beyond. And Josie arrived from work very soon thereafter. And we know we all shall see them again  -- Cloudy and Wooly -- in full form, somehow, some day.   Hunter Gray / Hunter Bear

[FOR SOME KIND COMMENTS ON BEHALF OF WOOLY, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN

 
________________________________________
 
 

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari

 
 
COMMENTS:

From Maria Kateri Gray    September 29,  2006:

 

Cloudy died this morning. She had to be put to sleep. It turned out she had
a very large tumor that created all kinds of other situations. She was
active and herself until yesterday, when she began acting sick. They took
her to the vet early this morning. Dad will be getting her ashes.  Until the
end of her life she took care of dad.
Maria

_____

Our condolences, we know how important she was to Dad.  -- John Salter [Beba]

_____
 

We are very sorry to hear of your loss out West. We know that Cloudy was
 very loved.

 Peter, Dawn, and boys with Lena  [Peter Gray Salter and Family]

_______


I am sorry to hear of your loss.
Cloudy was clearly a great spirit who will find many friends awaiting her on
the other side of the rainbow bridge.

blessed be Cloudy Gray


norla  [Norla Antinoro]

_____

I'm sorry for her, and really sorry for all of you. She was a real
online presence, first online cat friend. Maybe that can continue.
 

Theresa  [Theresa Alt]

_______

That is terribly sad news.  Cloudy was a truly wonderful cat.

best,
sam  [Sam Friedman]

_____

Let me send my condolences to Hunter.  Having just gone through this myself,
I know
what a loss this is. I also had my companion cremated and have the ashes. It
is good
that Cloudy was herself and active until the end.

Peace,
David McReynolds

_____

Sad indeed and condolences for sure.  I sometimes, too often, think about
how sad I'll be when our cat, Chicago, leaves us. She takes care of me,
often at the computer.

- Reber Boult

_____

for a cat I never got to meet, that's really bad news. my best to the
life of the one-half bobcat.

Macdonald Stainsby  [Canada]

_____

Hunter:

Of course condolences from Minnesota. You know we were recently faced with the loss of our last cat from the Mama Cat line, Chickie, that odd little product of exuberant incest with a feeble brain but sweet disposition. And years after Boo Boo died, we still can't open a cupboard without half-expecting to find him inside. Etc. Everyone knows how loyally Cloudy has ridden with you through on the entire Lupus trail with its accompanying squalls and bandits and cliffs, and how lonely that trail will now be.

JS  [John Salter]

_____

It always amazes me how subtly yet powerfully animals weave themselves
into our lives. Like others , I have gained a sense of how much a source
of joy and strength Cloudy was to Hunter and the family and so I send my
condolences and thoughts of strength to you all.    

 Best,  Stephen Harvey  [Canada]

_____

Hi Eldri,

    Joyce Ladner here.  So good to hear from you even though your news about Cloudy is bad.  I hope her spirit continues to watch over you and John.  Joan visited me a couple of years ago here in Sarasota and we were talking about you and your quiet strength.  She said you work with your loom no matter where the family moves to.  I told her it is always good to have something you can call your own.  I paint (acrylic on canvas --abstract expressionist sort of) and make jewelry from semi-precious stones.  I always knew there was a life after sociology (smile).  I love your son's book.  Am reading it slowly.  Will visit Dorie in DC next week. 
 
All the best to you, 
Joyce [Joyce Ladner]

_____

 Dear Hunter Gray,
We are very sorry to hear about Cloudy Gray.  She was obviously a good spirit - and still is.
Condolences from Jyri and family
 

Jyri and family  [Jyri Kokonnen - Finland]

_____

 
I am so sorry for your loss.  The strength of her personality & 
spirit made her a presence in all our lives, too.  We will miss 
hearing about her.  I know what  a profound loss it will be to miss 
her in life.
 

Sheila Michaels

_____

 
Sorry to hear this John, sorry sorry... I know how close it is possible
to connect with a pet and I know you did.

Dale [Dale Jacobson]

_____

COMMENTS ON THE CLOUDY REFLECTION:
 

Cloudy was fortunate indeed to have you and Eldri as family, loved and cared for and loving and caring for you in return.  You speak of her with such love, it shares the beauty of that relationship and of your caring in the world.
 
I'm sorry at your loss.  Though it doesn't lessen the loss, it is wonderful that you had that loving care for those ten years.
 
And hoping everything will be all right with you and your wonderful family.
 
In the struggle,
 

Heather  [Heather Booth]

Hunter writes to Heather:

Dear Heather:
 
Thanks so very much for your good words regarding our family and especially Cloudy.  That fine and obviously carefully selected card came today -- good timing indeed.  We are most appreciative of your warm thoughtfulness.  We shall keep fighting.
 
Take care and our very best to you and your family!
 
In Solidarity - H
 
Heather writes:
 
Often thinking of you and sending you my best.
Tonight [Larry] Guyot and I were on a panel talking about what we can do to build the power to take this country back.  It combined the old spirit and values and the new force (largely young folks--punk activists!).  Keeping up the struggle on our end also.
 
warmly,
Heather  [Heather Booth]

_____

 
Hunter,
In a time of grief, I sometimes find some little bit of solace by writing poetry about it.  You seem to use your powerful prose.  May it help you!

For what it is worth--and maybe it will give you a sense of shared companionship in grief--I am attaching some poems I wrote when some of our cats were dying or after they had passed.

Solidarity,
sam  [Sam Friedman]

_____
 

That's very touching. The mourning is palpable even in this, our electronic meeting place.

And I'm not trying to make light of the situation, but your tribute to Cloudy is much longer and more tender than the tribute I've drafted for you upon your own trip to the other side.

What I'm saying is, she really was a true and loyal companion, the sort that comes around only rarely, and not to everyone.

JS [John Salter]

______
 

John, Eldri, Maria -- I am soooooo sorry to hear about Cloudy. Your
loss/grief/sadness is very real. Deep gratitude that Cloudy was part of your family
is also evident. Yes, everything will be alright/IS allright. You are in
my thoughts.

tu amigo, clyde [Clyde Appleton]

_____
 

Dear Eldri, Hunter & Maria,

Cloudy's eulogy was wonderful--perfect for the wild creature who choose your
home and hearts. Please accept my condolences and sympathy over the loss of
your Protector, psychic companion and unconditional lover.

The night I had to leave my lifeless little black cat--Paha Sapa--in the
veterinarian's hospital, I, too, drove home in a type of stupor and cried myself
to sleep. Sometime in the early morning hours, I felt her purring right under
my heart! She had graced my life for eighteen and a half very hard, sad yet
good years. Her ashes are in my living room. Somehow I knew that she'd come
again--in her own time--just like you said, in so many words, about Cloudy.

Two years later, Merry Christmas--another black cat--showed up in Gales Ferry
at my office on Stoddards Wharf Road by the Thames (Pequot) River. It is
quite a rural place for being part of megalopolis--lots of fragmented woods,
steep ledge-rock walls and brambly undergrowth. She's the only cat I've ever had
who believes she belongs on top of our dinner table...and that what is ours is
also her's--including the grandchildren's milk and cookies after school.

Animals are having a very hard time here in the St. Louis area. Last week a
double-decker truck with forty-five horses and a mule--bound for a slaughter
house near DeKalb, Illinois, flipped over, killing all the horses except for
twenty-five and the mule. Area ranches and veterinarians are caring for the
survivors while the legal issues of ownership and animal abuse are sorted out.

Thank you for a superb piece of writing, Hunter--and for sharing Cloudy's
extraordinary life and special talents with us. Indeed--everything will be
okay. Cloudy lives on in her own inimitable way.

I just had to show you a picture of Paha Sapa. It's attached.

Love,
Alice

Alice M. Azure


_____________________________

 

Hunter,
 
Thanks for your story. I'm sorry to hear of the passing of Cloudy. She certainly was a unique animal.
 
As you have noted, you are probably much more stoic in your demeanor than most.
 
Personally, I am given to emotionalism at such times.
 
 Give my best to Cloudy as her spirit visits and my kind regards to you and your family.
 
Jake [Jake Al Reum]

_____________


 
Hunter,
 
I'd already sent my condolences when I learned of Cloudy's death. Your post conveys feelings which I felt very deeply so recently when
Gandalf left. I did break down once the vet had left - and I have so rarely broken down, I wished there was someone who could offer
comfort or understand but it is a tribute to those "other creatures" who are truly special that there is no swift comfort.
 
So I understand too well and am glad you found the time to put your thoughts down in more detail.
 
Peace,
David  [David McReynolds]

___________________

Dear Hunter and Eldri,
 
     I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious cat, Cloudy.  You wrote a wonderful tribute to her.  It is so difficult when we have to end the lives of our dying pets who are cherished members of the family.
     I am writing to you from my son and daughter-in-law's home in Atlanta, Georgia.  My son, Trafton and I are visiting them for a few days.  They are expecting their first child in March.  From here I will fly to Florida to visit an old friend and will return home early next week.
     It was nice to hear from you again.
 
In sympathy,
 
Kathy  [Kathy Marden]

____________________________

 

Hi Hunter,

 
Sorry to hear about Cloudy. 
 
Brian Rice  [Canada]

_____________

Michael Marino writes from Socialist Party of Oregon:

This section of my own archives is very nearly
complete so far as the checklist of "thoroughly
unfinished" goes, but there is a new entry, one which
might see the light of day when I have it looking more
organized...

http://www.thesocialistparty.org/spo/archive/history/people/index.html

Does Cloudy Gray belong in the same directory as
Norman Thomas and Frank Zeidler? Well, I think so...

-Michael

P.S.: Maybe I should change the title to "People I
never met, personally, but about whom I read much and
thought they sounded like great folks."

[Hunter Bear responds:

Dear Michael: 

Cloudy Gray feels quite honored indeed to be in the same Archive as Norman Thomas and Frank Zeidler. She, like they, always kept fighting in the face of great adversity -- and I am very sure they continue to do so beyond the Curtain of Fog.

Thanks, Michael.  [Michael Marino]

In Solidarity - H

_______________________

 

Hey there, Sir John,    I am honored that you shared with me.   I feel.   I don't feel your pain.    I chose to not agree with Bill Clinton with that particular message (but I did agree with others), as I disagree with those folks who want to share my occasional grief by starting out with "I know exactly how you feel...".   Well, they don't, no more than I know exactly how you feel.   I just haven't tread where you've trod, my fellow son.      Never-the-less, I feel.  . . .Your message reminded me to "feel", and I've done so, as I'm doing now.   And, it is good.  And, thanks again for sharing.   I know from your former messages the nature of the friendship that has departed from your shadow.   Be well, my friend, and I care. . .
   
I'll leave you until next time.     May your tomorrow show you new ray of sunshine on a least expected surface, and I hope that you can grin.     Take care   

'ol Ron [Ronald Chambers]

_____________

Your piece brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the deaths of my own sole mates in animal disguise (dogs and cats).  In all cases but one, I had to make the horrible decision – I owed them that. 

Claire (O’Connor)

___________________________

 

Thanks Hunter. We have two cats, one almost 17, the other 12. The 17-year-old is definitely at the tail end of her life, and it's sad to watch her hobble around, sometimes yowl when she thinks there's no one around that she can get next to and generally struggle through her days. Your connection and love for Cloudy is admirable and touching.
 
Ted [Ted Glick]

________________________

 

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.  Thinking of you.

 
Your Comrade,
 
Loki  [Loki Mulholland]

________________________________

 

Hi Mr. Salter,

My deepest condolences  to you and your family on the death of Cloudy . Sounds like you two enjoyed a special bond/relationship .
I hope that you are relatively well and I frequently think about you, Mrs. Salter and the ole Tougaloo days.
I still haven't purchased a new comuter yet but periodically check my e-mail here @ work.
We had a few snow flurries this A.M. but they stopped in less than an hr. and now the sun is out although it's quite chilly . Remember the old saying, if you don't like the weather in Chicago, just wait a minute, it'll change (smile).
Take care . Will continue to send up prayers for you and yours.
WWW
With Love,
Mary Ann [Mary Ann Hall Winters]

__________________________________________

 

From David McReynolds [October 24  2006]
 
Hunter,
 
Hope this finds your mood and health as good as one can expect, with autumn coming on (and in my case, old age - hit 77 today, how did that happen).
 
I'm glad you put up a website page for Cloudy. I don't even have a website, so you are far more technically advanced than me, but then you are younger!
 
I'm sending this note to say, in reference to feline companions gone from our midst, that as I sorted lots of snaps and photos tonight

I came on several of Gandalf and started to tear up all over again. So long live Cloudy!

 
Peace,
David  [David McReynolds]
 
 
Response from Hunter:
 
David:
 
Thanks very much indeed for your kind and upbeat words.  Came at a good time for me -- it's well past midnight here -- and I have had a little trouble sleeping tonight.  As I have for some time now, it's one day at a time -- but I do always eventually greet the Sun.
 
There was a time I thought 77 was "old" -- but no longer.  In any event, you are certainly younger in thought and spirit than many  half your age!  At 72, I, too, still attempt to see new horizons. [Any computer "expertise" I may have can be attributed to the teaching and oversight of my offspring [and several of their offspring!]
 
I have a large photo of Cloudy on the wall of my little office.  And I do talk with her.
 
I know you were never lonely with Gandalf.  Nor was I ever lonely with Cloudy at hand.
 
They certainly live on -- and always will.
 
Again, many thanks for your thoughtful and very well-timed letter.  Take care.  Like you, I keep on fighting.
 
Our very best, amigo.   Hunter

_____________________________________________________________________

FROM MARTHA TURE:

I am certain that Cloudy is present.  I don't know how it works, but I know it does work.
 
Best to you all,
 
Martha
 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

FROM JUDI HILLS:
 
Dear Professor Salter-Gray:
 
I am in the process of writing my final undergrad paper on the Civil Rights Movement . . . .I read your tribute to Cloudy Gray.  She sounded as though she was a wonderful companion.  Isn't it interesting that animals so often understand what humans often forget -- how to treat one another with kindness and dignity.
 
Best wishes and thank you for your remarkable contribution to history.
 
Judi Hills

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

FROM LINDA GALASETTI-SIMMONS:

Thank you for sharing the information with us.

We read and enjoyed everything that you wrote.
 
We live on a farm in North Carolina
 
My sons, Wesley and Wayne love the outdoors and are learning
alot about animals and life.
 
Maybe someday we can visit .
You seem to have such love, and knowledge of the land and animals.
We could benefit from you and your culture.
 
Linda Galasetti-Simmons

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

FROM SHEEN:

 
 
Hunter Bear,
 
Came to see how you are today.
 

I am Potowatomi, my lineage the Chief of Potowatomi Peace Party.

 

When 19 years old I was diagnosed with lupus -- 35 years ago.

 

Thank you for your website.

 

Cloudy loves you.

 
Sincerely, Sheen

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

FROM MARY:

. . . . I was so moved by your beautiful tribute to Cloudy Gray...I haven't cried that hard in a long time and I have suffered many losses in the last 3 years.  You have such great gifts...of prose and power. Too great for SE Idaho folks to grasp perhaps. 
I deeply appreciate your view and am heartened to know that people of such compassion are here.
Mary

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FROM CAROLYN:

I have always been surrounded by felines and can fully empathize and sympathize with your loss of Cloudy, such a beautiful animal.  My Loki is with me always, has a way of looking at me as if reading my thoughts and knows my routine before I do.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 
 
FROM MARIA BEATRIZ SACCANI:  [ARGENTINA]
 

Surfing the web, looking for another things, I found you and your Cloudy. I'm very far from you, in Argentina, but I've read your words about your cat, and I knew that your relationship was wonderful. I live in Buenos Aires, in a flat, but I have a shecat (Copito) and a dog (Lennon) and I know, I do know how it is to feel the love. God bless you. Beatriz

 

______________________________________________________________

 

FURTHER COMMENT FROM HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]   OCTOBER 13 2006:

Friends:

This is simply a short, off-list communication -- to those friends of many eras and epochs who so very kindly sent notes of condolence on behalf of Cloudy Gray and our family, and to those who telephoned their regret and support. [There are many others, we know, who thought -- and who continue to think -- comparably good and powerful thoughts.]

All of these are extremely appreciated.  The past several months especially have, for us, seen crises of significance on several fronts.  Cloudy's transition was a tremendous shock -- certainly very much for me -- and the kind words of all of you have been beyond any mortal calculation.

I have posted the written comments on our Cloudy Gray website page.  It is at:

http://hunterbear.org/cloudy_gray.htm

[And that has "risen," I might add, to the top of at least some Google listings:

http://gppgle.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Cloudy+Gray&btnG=Search

Cloudy's unique contributions have been many, many indeed.  Among other things, she has been with me at every point in the development of our massive social justice website, Lair of Hunterbear:  www.hunterbear.org  Thus it is only fitting that we dedicate our Site to her -- and that is duly noted at several salient points, including the very first [cover] page which early on states:

" This website is based on fifty years of direct, grassroots activist community organizing: Native rights, union labor, civil rights, civil liberties.  The site is now 7 years old, draws 1,000 visitors each day.  Please scroll down to directory/index.

Dedicated To Our Enduring And Immortal Cloudy Gray [ Na´shdo´i´ba´i´ ]

_____________

Cloudy Gray lives on and we frequently feel her all about us.  We know that we shall see her again in full form.

I fight on -- as do we all and always will.

And, as we do so, we look up and see the Sun and Sky and Listen to the Wind.

And we feel the Power of the Creator, the Spirits, and Humanity flowing together forever -- as great rivulets -- into a Mighty Stream.

Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]

 ____________________________

 

COMMENTS:  OUR GOOD WOOLY

 
 
SAM FRIEDMAN:
 
I feel deeply for you, Eldri, Maria, Josie and the rest of your family--and for Wooly.  I hope you are right and that Wooly and Cloudy have the opportunity to meet Kimi, Jerry, Player, Squawker, Beast, Pandora and the other cats whose lives I have been privileged to share.

very best,
sam
____________________________________
 
 
PETER GRAY SALTER:
 
Sorry Pop. Really. Not everybody understands how fully you bring them into our family, but I do.
 
This is kind of strange -- your e-mail arrived here at 4:30. And my brother e-mailed me about something else at 4:31. The thought of two John Salters at their computers at the same time, but a half-country apart, e-mailing me is something.
 
Later  [Peter]
 
____________________________________
 
ALICE AZURE:
 
And...adding to Hunter's and Sam's fine array of furry cat-friends---Skinny, Archie, Paha Sapa, Mehitabel, Groucho (who as a kitten came from John & Eldri's home in Iowa City) and Frisky--they will indeed all be wherever it is we get together after passing from here.

Alice M. Azure
Maryville, IL 62062
_____________________________________
 
DALE JACOBSON:
 
Hunter, Eldri and all,

Sorry to hear of your loss and I know what you mean when you say
you held her in your hand from day one, the same with Shadow (whose
full name is actually Shadow Boxer). She does well for twenty.

It is an odd universe, always, it seems to me, but these gifts
of connection we know, from cats of whatever variety, also seem
to be its essence. As odd as the place is, this core of things makes
sense to me. Cats of the universe unite. I know she was a devoted
companion, whose devotion was true. Cats can read people, as
the ancient Egyptians knew.  Dale
 
___________________________________________
 

SHEILA MICHAELS:

My condolences.  I'm sure she died content, knowing you were there to support her passing.
 
S h e i l a

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LOIS CHAFFEE:

Don't forget Mickey.  He was a bit of a loner, and he never forgave me for bring a pesky DOG into his home, but his intelligence and great classic beauty would be impossible to miss, even in heaven.  Finding each other would put them all in very good company.  My sympathy for the rest of you who must wait for the good company to resume.
Regards, Lois

___________________________________________________

JOHN SALTER:

 

Very sorry about Wooly.  Good, long, meaningful life.

J.S.

_______________________________________________________________________

 

DAVID MCREYNOLDS:

 
Hunter, condolences on the loss of your feline supporter. This is Rustie,
the cat at the War Resisters League office.
 
Peace,
David [photo of Rustie attached.]
 
My response:
 
I like that Kitty, David.  There's a [non-violently] fierce and intensive quality emanating from that fine little face.  A Radical Cat!  Thanks much for your good words and for the very encouraging photo.
 
All the best, H
 

DAVID WRITES AGAIN:

 
Not sure how nonviolent he is. He loves me (I feed him on the weekends) but he can, sometimes, give a sudden bite. And a good mouser.
 
David
 
AND MY RESPONSE:
 
Well, there's always a point where one's genetic heritage sometimes trumps even the finest philosophical and tactical commitments.  Cloudy on rare occasions scratched.  She once took a tangible, though very surface, swipe at Sam Friedman -- probably because he was sitting too close to her luncheon spot up on our dining room table. Sam, of course, being a Cat Person, took it in stride. 
 
 All best, H
 

AGAIN FROM DAVID MCREYNOLDS:

 
Shaman, at a quiet moment. [Photo attached.]
 
Hunter, this is the cat I got after my beloved Gandalf died. Full of energy, tends to leap from the floor
to my shoulders, which can catch me off guard. Loving, extreme energy (except when he falls asleep,
when he is like a baby, deep deep sleep).
 
Each cat, as you know, is a person in his or her own right. Some rather boring. Some very complex.
This one is complex, and his favorite game is bringing a stick to me so that I can throw it and he
can bring it back.
 
That, however, won't show up in a snap shot!
 
David
 
RESPONSE BY ME:
 
That's indeed a very fine Cat, David -- and an excellent photo.  You are very fortunate and so is Shaman.  With Wooly in transition, and Cloudy having passed eighteen months ago, we will probably have at least one and very possibly two more Cats in due course.  At this point, any little "stray" that winds up on our doorstep will  be taken in -- and, if in time, that doesn't gel, we will find at least one and probably another as well in the local animal shelter.  On matters of this kind -- supremely important in nature -- I wait for my intuition to give me appropriate direction.  You and Gandalf were most fortunate, and obviously you and Shaman are a great duo.  Rustie will give WRL additional life and vigor.  Again, thanks very much for these fine photos and kindred thoughts.
 
As Ever, H

__________________________________________________________________

AND DALE JACOBSON ADDS THIS FURTHER NOTE:

Among my best friends have been the cats I've known.
The 18th century poet, Christopher Smart, has a long lovely poem in praise of his cat.

Dale

____________________________________________________________________

 

AND DAVID MCREYNOLDS SENDS THIS -- ATTACHING MUCH OF THE FOREGOING CORRESPONDENCE --

TO THE CAT DISCUSSION LIST:

Clearly this should go on to the cat list. The account of an elderly
radical, Native American,
in the mountains of  Idaho and the loss of his friend, Wooly.

_________________________________________________________

 

CYNDI  [HYBRID CATS DISCUSSION LIST]:

I’d like to comment on your webpage for Cloudy – I read it completely and ended with tears in my eyes over the loss of such a wonderful companion – I’m so sorry for you and then to lose your other one this year – it hardly seems fair.  You wrote a beautiful and very touching tribute to Cloudy.  I’m so happy that she has returned to you in the newer form of Sky.    We had quite a discussion a while back on the intuitive abilities of our cats – your description of Cloudy and Sky is just another point in it’s confirmation of their psychic abilities.

_________________________________________________________

PLEASE CONTINUE TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR SKY GRAY COMES HOME!

 
 
 

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

 
Check out our massive social justice website:  www.hunterbear.org
 
Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native
Writers and Storytellers:
http://www.hunterbear.org/elder_recognition_award_for_2005.htm
 
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

 

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