Allison Foster Hartshorne

Allison Foster Hartshorne
Allison Foster Hartshorne

I remember when my mother’s pet quail Quentin had his leg broken by a door and he went into the back of his cage on top of the refrigerator and stayed there for two weeks.

That’s how I felt when my sister-in-law died. I just couldn’t think of a reason to leave the house. Allison was such a beautiful soul inside and out. We all loved to hear her sing, but even in conversation her voice was sweet and melodic. And with her selflessness and generosity were second nature.

She was so much a part of my life that I walked around in a daze for a while. Isn’t it funny how familiar places can look so strange and different when your world is rocked by a loss of this kind?

 Rob said that in her last days Allison didn’t think it would be a good idea to have a memorial service. She didn’t think anyone would come. Well, the church was filled to the rafters. Even the coatroom was packed.

I’ve noticed that sometimes I can open up my recollections and recall what a wonderful person she was, and sometimes I can’t. It’s just too hard to take. But lately I’ve been able to open up that spigot more and more, and I guess that’s a good sign. It’s like when a bad cut starts to itch.

Quentin finally emerged triumphantly from the back of his cage and went back to marching across people’s eggs on the breakfast table and gobbling up marijuana seeds in the wee hours with the younger crowd.

The cat was able to drive  Quentin out the kitchen door one time, and we thought he was lost forever until we saw a story in the newspaper about this quail that had marched into a kindergarten class nearby and demanded attention, as he was wont to do.

Sally let them keep him until the end of the year, but after that he was back in his place of honor on top of the refrigerator.