Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cat People: some of them are a pretty special breed

   

Last night my sister Shawn emailed me & said that they adopted a kitten for Sophia, and that my little niece here named him Flynn.  (They were led to believe he was half-Siamese, but when they took him to the vet to get his shots, was told he was just a regular tabby cat.)  I have a feeling that so-called regular cat is going to have quite the life! 

Anyway, when I read her email you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.  Y’see, my sister has never been what you would call a “cat person” and I never dreamed there’d be one in her home.  She doesn’t hate ‘em, but there’s no love lost either.  Growing up, we had various cats in our lives & Shawn pretty much left them alone & they reacted in kind.  “We get it sister, we have our space, you have yours.”  

Meanwhile, I couldn’t get enough of the critters.  I had three of my own growing up & still have the scars on my scalp to prove it—in the early ‘70s, my cat Popsi often used the top of my head for a scratching post!

 

Popsi & me, 1973;  I can still remember my mom laughing when she grabbed her camera & took this picture

This reminds me of a true story from all those years ago.  Back in those days when I had Popsi, he had this habit of jumping up onto the kitchen table at dinnertime, to see what the rest of us were having.  Of course, this bothered our dad to no end:  “The next time I see that cat on the table, he’s GONE.” 

 

(And then the next night come supper, Popsi would be jumping up on that table again; Dad there’s your cue!)

So one Sunday afternoon I arrived home after spending the weekend at my best friend Dan’s house and called for Popsi, but he was nowhere to be seen.  My mom said “Doug… I don’t know how to tell you this, but you know how much your dad hates Popsi on the table when we’re eating.  Well, last night we had some old friends over, and when they told us how much they loved your cat, we let them have him.  They’re very nice people and have a big farm, Popsi will love it there."   I stood there in real shock.  “You gave away my CAT?!!  I didn’t even get to say goodbye?  How could you!”   My mom just shook her head and said she was sorry.  I didn’t talk to my parents for DAYS. 

Okay, jump ahead 25 years.  I’m home for the holidays and we’re sitting around reminiscing about our years at the farmhouse, and I say “Mom, remember that time Dad got fed up with Popsi & gave him away?  I was so mad at you guys!”  Mom said “Wait, what??  Doug you really thought we gave Popsi away?”  I said “Uh, hello!  That’s exactly what you did!”  Mom said “Oh honey, no.  That weekend you were away, Popsi was hit by a car.  We knew it would kill you, so we swore the other kids to secrecy and said he went to live on a farm.  Jesus, I can’t believe this bunch of mouths never told you!”   Shawn said “Well mom, you told us to keep it a secret.”   Mom said “I know, but 25 years?”   I said “omigosh Mom, you should’ve told me back then—I don’t think you know how angry I was over that” and she said “Oh yes we did, I told your dad you were probably going to club us in our sleep!  The anger I could take, I just couldn’t bear to see you heartbroken.” 

Well, if that isn’t a mother’s love, I don’t know what is; and I’m sure my niece will be just as good a mom to little Flynn.

Mom (who’s birthday is tomorrow) & the love of her life Mimi,1971Mom & Mimi in the backyard

4 comments:

  1. Hi Doug - Over and over you have a way of summing up Mom so clearly, in just a few words. So funny, and protective of us kids (when she wasn't ready to kill one of us). And Mimi! She's part of the reason I agreed to take Flynn, because he reminded me of her. As long as he stays off my lap.....

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  2. Haha--thanks for the kind words Shawn, and you just summed up Mom better than I ever did :) Well, I really am glad you allowed Sophia to have a cat, that surprised me more than anyone I bet!

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  3. Dunno know why, Doug, but whenever you talk about your ma, it makes me think of mine...that picture of your ma is also very reminiscent of how I remember my ma when we'd go out before I started school (in 1971!)

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  4. Thanks for sharing that Andrew, I'm not sure why but I appreciated hearing that. Well, we were both close to our moms, and lost them only a couple years apart. (And they both went too young too, dammit.)

    '71... a very good year :)

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