Farewell, Momma Bear

Jul 5 • Bruce Uncorked, Feature StoryNo Comments on Farewell, Momma Bear

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Chatham-Kent lost a really great person way before her time recently.

Andy Brush, just 46 years young, passed away last week.

I had known Andy for most of my time in Chatham-Kent, dating back to the early 2000s. I believe I first encountered her as a server at Bobby Dee’s before she moved over to Crabby Joe’s.

I will always remember her as a vibrant, loving person, who opened up her house to everyone, especially her children’s friends, or pretty much anyone in need.

Hence her nickname “Momma Bear.” There were long stretches where her house was overflowing with kids. It didn’t matter how busy the house was – she knew where the kids were and that’s what mattered.

Andy had many positive traits – being kind, compassionate, understanding, non-judgmental and, of course, motherly.

It didn’t matter if you were older than Andy, she still took care of you, sometimes without you realizing it.

If any of her friends had too many beverages while at Crabby Joe’s and had car keys in their pockets, she, like a responsible server, made sure they weren’t going to drive. But she regularly offered people rides home when her shift was done. It didn’t matter that they lived in the opposite direction as to where she was headed. It just mattered to her that they got home safe and sound.

Thanks for the rides, Momma Bear. My pickup spent a few nights in parking lots around Chatham, and I’d say about half the time it was Andy who drove me home.

Andy was the kind of person that if you had paid your bill and were about to leave, but learned she just got off work, you’d stay while she had a beverage and unwound. It was the least you could do to hang out and listen to her, for once.

Her smiles were genuine. Her comments, honest and thoughtful.

As another friend, Jeff, said recently on social media, she truly gave out the best hugs. They came from the heart, as did pretty much everything else with Andy, and really meant something to the recipient, as well as the giver.

Andy leaves behind three adult children, Taylor, Sarah and Jake.

Cat acceptance

Finn, the cat, is still working on fitting in around our house. I have to admit, I’ve taken a liking to the little maniac.

At his worst, he’s clawing furniture or trying to attack the blinds in the living room or jumping on my wife’s head (OK, knock on wood, he hasn’t done that in a while). But mostly, he’s just looking to play with anything he can get his paws on.

And for being a cat, this little dude isn’t exactly a smooth operator. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen him fall off things. He could be playing on the couch, roll over and not realize he was at the edge. Plunk.

Or he tries to jump on a table and only get one paw on it.

How about trying to clean a hard-to-reach patch of his fur while sitting on the back of the couch? Thankfully, he manages to be catlike and land on his feet.

He’s taken a liking to shoes and slippers, which shouldn’t be surprising given his interest in human feet in general. He’ll nip at our toes first thing in the morning or when he’s ramping up his chaotic evening play mode.

But he’ll play with my slippers, gnawing on the soles, or play with the laces in my sneakers. With the latter, he’ll attack those when they’re just sitting there by the door, or when I’m trying to lace them up on the way into work in the morning.

But his love of shoes extends to our shoe storage shelves beside the stairs to our basement. He’ll slip in there and just hang out for long stretches.

You’ll forget he’s there until a solitary shoe pops off the shelf and clunks its way down the stairs.

His clutzy side showed up there recently, as two shoes and a cat fell off the shelf. Only the shoes fell down the stairs, however. Finn just looked at me as if to say, “I meant to fall out, so don’t think otherwise.”

I admit it; he cracks me up at times, and is darned cute when he finally settles in the late evening and sleeps on or near me as I snooze in the recliner.

Of course, he has to head bump me repeatedly on the chin, drag his whiskers across mine, before he ultimately settles, but it has become part of the nightly ritual.

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