L-R: President-Elect Chris Boylan and Lisa Graham.

Lisa Graham was a recent guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Clermont.  Lisa is a 5th generation native of South Lake County and a graduate of Groveland High School, Lake Sumter State College and the University of Florida.  She had been a recipient of a Kiwanis Scholarship which she said contributed to her college education.

After a 20 year career with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, where she supported the United States Army and Airforce, she retired to pursue a hobby of photography and writing.  Lisa spoke to Kiwanis about her latest publication in Chicken Soup for the Soul entitled “Blue Eyes & Elbows”, a story focusing on a cat named Cleo (a Siamese-Hemingway mix cat born with misaligned legs resulting in her walking on her elbows instead of her feet). The character is based on Lisa’s cat, Mitzi.

The connection between Lisa and “Cleo” is the theme of the story.  Cleo had a pair of captivating blue eyes that Lisa became fascinated with when she saw her posted on the Pet Finder Website. Not knowing if this rescue cat was available for adoption, Lisa contacted Petco and was told that the cat was available but had a few physical peculiarities. Cleo was a rescue cat that was very petite; looked like a Siamese cat and had extra toes like a Hemingway cat.  She also had a misaligned front leg so she was unable to walk on her toes but was self-sufficient and had learned to walk on her elbows.

Lisa and her husband decided to adopt the cat and the next day, Lisa and her mother drove to Petco-Tampa. When Lisa approached Cleo she knew that she wanted to take her home.  The adoption of Cleo was completed and Mitzi’s story began.  It was Lisa’s experience and her own emotions while pursuing this blue-eyed Hemingway mix/Siamese cat that made the narrative so intriguing.

At the completion of the narrative, President-Elect Chris Boylan presented Lisa with a commemorative Club pin.