By Freda Rumford from the August 2012 Edition
Fairly recently, we have had additions to our family.
The first is a mostly Siamese cat whom we called Ming-tu after a similar cat who lived with us years ago, when the family still with us was both younger and larger, named Ming. Over the weeks the ‘tu’ has been dropped to Ming as he settled in beautifully, adopting our large male Golden Retriever as “Mom.”
They seem to adore each other as they curl up constantly with Ming nestling into Jasper’s very much larger body. If one goes out, they greet each other with much nose rubbing shows of affection upon returning home. They don’t really play together much but when they do it is great fun to watch the Giant and the Lilliputian adapt each to the other’s size. Jasper has to test Ming’s food to make sure he is being fed correctly while Ming checks Jasper’s and turns up his nose quite noticeably in distaste and almost shudders.
The second is a person of the human male species, who has very rapidly become a most important member of the household. The adjustments for everyone have been very much easier than expected to our mutual pleasure. Changing lifestyles as an adult, I thought would be difficult but to my astonishment it has been one of a great deal of pleasure, a huge amount of humour and very much laughter.
As a child growing up in, due to living in WWII and the resultant difficult circumstances, my parents were constantly playing host to younger siblings and their children as they sought a few weeks respite from living in embattled London.
I was the eldest of all the cousins and expected to behave more maturely and graciously. This I did for the most part but there are always exceptions and one person, with whom I really did not really get along, stayed for an inordinate amount of time. He and I fought over practically everything and the constant bickering and snide teasing drove the adults absolutely wild. Eventually, I think we settled down but it was many years before we would finally become friends.
With my uncles and aunts being younger than my parents by many years, it was easy for me to form attachments to the younger ones and they gradually became the elder brothers and sisters that I, as an only child, craved.
Again, I was teased constantly with love and no spitefulness entailed this time, which I quickly learned to reciprocate. The battles of words were so much fun and were some of the behaviours and lessons that I introduced to my own children many years later.
Ming also likes to tease. Anything hidden under the bed covers is his to attack. He goes for my toes often at very inappropriate moments, such as when I am in a sound sleep and really would prefer to remain so. Last night he got a hefty whack on the butt because he felt ignored and had pounced on me not once but twice so had to be taught a lesson. I was assured that he was only in teasing mode. but I think he was jealous that we were watching a movie and not playing with him.
Earlier, my companion made the comment that I was the only person who had ever retaliated with humour, not anger when teased by him and I was pleased that this was so. Previously I had found that many people in the later years do not know what, how or when a tease is just that and not meant to be taken seriously and I found myself in a little bit of a pickle on several occasions.
Thinking about it later when in quiet mode, I realised that I too had learned my lesson in teasing and retaliating at probably the same human years as Ming. Without being conscious of it at the time, I have been given a gift by my family. A really good one that I hope will stick around.
I now wonder how many other things I will learn about myself as well as my companion, who says he has a hidden list I may never discover.
Most knew her as Freda Rumford. Freda Anne Vickery was a founder, editor, and contributor of the Manzanillo Sun magazine. She was one of the founders and, took over being President of the Manzamigos, when her husband Nigel, died. When she first came to Manzanillo, she got a job writing for the Guadalajara Reporter and used that as a foundation for her later humanities work. Freda was born in the East side of London in 1934 but grew up in Norwich. Freda’s early life was one of overcoming things. As an example, she was born with a lisp but one of her first jobs was being a telephone operator after some extensive elocution lessons. She met and married a young military man and, like so many others, they and their children moved to Canada for his employment opportunities and she ended up working for the Hudson's Bay Company in cosmetic sales in Calgary. They moved to BC and then to Manzanillo, for her health, which flourished in the tropical weather. After Nigel died, she later married Kirby Vickery. She later became ill and finally lost the battle with cancer on the 27th of February 2016.