We took Stripe up to our property in the woods today and buried him under a wild Dogwood tree. The kids all huddled close to me and the Island King talked about what a great cat Stripe was. I'm glad he was able to do that because I couldn't have said a word without losing it. He talked about what a good pet he was and about all of the rats, snakes and birds Stripe has brought to our doorstep over the years and then ended by saying "He was a big ole bad-ass cat" LOL That seemed to break the tension and even got a snicker out of the kids. Right after we finished it started to rain - which seemed kind of appropriate. We decided to go eat lunch at a small park/boat launch down the road aways. As we were driving we came up over a hill and suddenly 5 huge buzzards that had been in the road scattered. They were eating a dead rattlesnake. The Oldest Island Boy wanted to keep the rattle but it was a baby snake and only had one button so we left it alone. We got back in the truck and waited, hoping the buzzards would come back so we could take a picture but they weren't coming anywhere near us. Island Girl did get a picture of one as it flew by. We continued on to the boat ramp and had a proper after the funeral lunch of fried chicken, potato salad and biscuits. Island Girl commented on the fact that she's never been to a funeral and not had fried chicken after. I told her that I'd never been to one that didn't have fried chicken either and we wondered if that's standard funeral fare everywhere or if it's a Southern thing. We spent a while hanging around the river bank and then came on home. It's been a long, sad past few days but I know Stripe had a good life and like Kiva said he will always live in our hearts. I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with my kids. Thank you for your kind words. My youngest said it best when he said "Isn't it nice that people we don't really even know are thinking about us?" It is indeed.