The Dead Cat Christmas

Christmas, 2017

I didn’t know if we were going to observe Christmas or exchange gifts. We never talked about it, but I bought her a few things anyway.

And then the cat died. The week before Christmas. He’d gone out that Friday night and didn’t come home. Saturday morning, she got out of bed early and went out to look for him.

And then she stormed angrily back into the bedroom while I was still asleep. She screamed at me: “Get up!”

Half awake, I muttered: “What’s going on?”

And she screamed at me again: “He’s DEAD!”

When she’d first brought him home several years prior, Ann was determined that Wonkie was going to be an indoor cat.  Wonkie never got the memo. At night he’d sleep between us in our bed, but in the morning he pawed at the windows and pounded on the pet door we’d nailed shut. He was a predator. He needed to go outside and kill things. That was Wonkie’s buddha-cat nature, but she was determined that he would be what she wanted him to be. Buddha be damned.

She eventually relented and we started letting him outdoors . He’d hide under the pine tree in the back yard, jump out and pounce on birds and chipmunks, then scatter their feathers and bloody entrails around the house.

But giving Wonkie more time in the prison yard came with an unspoken price: if ever he didn’t come home, that was gonna be my fault.

He’d be a little slow to come back to the house some nights before we went to bed, but we had a rattle – cat treats in a sealed glass jar – and we’d call him and rattle that jar and eventually he’d show up and then we could close the door and he’d come upstairs with us.

*

In the summer of 2016, Ann decided she needed to be closer to her two grown sons and only granddaughter. After nearly 20 years together in the same house, she packed up her SUV and  moved to Portland, Oregon in what was understood at the time to be a one-way trip. She left the pets (two cats, one dog) behind. There was no indication that she was ever coming back for them.  They were my concern now.  Since I was rarely home, I had to foster the dog, and eventually sent her out to Oregon.  The cats I kept.

The second cat was a recluse.  She just hid in the basement.  Wonkie was a companion.

The man and wife substitute

At night, Wonkie often perched on the pillow over my shoulder – in the place where Ann’s head was supposed to be.

Eight months later – when things in Oregon didn’t work out like she’d expected them to – Ann came back to Tennessee.  Much as the decision to depart had been unilateral, so was the decision to return – but she really didn’t come back to the marriage.  She came back to the house.  There  was no amount of counseling or therapy could close that disparity.

And then it finally happened. Wonkie and I had been fine, alone together or all those months. But that Friday night, a week before Christmas, Wonkie went out and didn’t come home. Ann got up the next morning and found him frozen in the ivy bed at the end of the driveway – like somebody had hit him with a car and placed him there.

…and I, like some morbid Weegee (Google it), took a picture… RIP Wonkie, December 17, 2017

She found him and came back into the bedroom where I was still sleeping and she screamed at me “He’s DEAD!” Like I’d gone out while she was asleep and run him over with my own car.

Like penance, I was compelled to dig a hole under the pine tree in the back hard and bury him in the frozen ground.

The following week, come Christmas morning, there were gifts waiting for her. But there was nothing for me.

Not even the lump of coal I surely deserved for killing her cat.

Woodstock +50

Cut to the chase: click here.

As long as everybody else is reminiscing about Woodstock….

Was it really fifty years ago today??  Am I really that old??

Why, yes, I am.  I will be 69 years old in November.

And I have survived – somehow, and despite my valiant efforts to the contrary.

The other good news is that my faculties are still (largely?) intact.

OK, I don’t exactly have photographic memory of everything that happened in 1969 – that is, after all, the year that the drugs kicked in, and I basically stayed stoned for the next two decades – but I made notes!

For almost all of 1969 and ’70, I kept a journal, and in that journal are the notes I recorded immediately after returning from Woodstock, which are compiled into three installments posted to Medium.com:

Whatever Happened to The Age of Aquarius? 

There is also a somewhat abridged, 10-minute podcast edition of the story that you can listen to directly here:

… or download into the Podcast app on your gizmo here.

 

**** Wisdom From A Typewriter No. 54** .

I’ve been reading a book called “Sex At Dawn – The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality” and found this on page 149, at the end of the chapter that entitled “Jealousy.”

I keep knocking on the door of esoteric topics like Forbidden Technologies (forbidden by ‘who’, exactly??) and Human Destiny, because, of course, these are the things I think about… Do what you will with that information… .

Who knew…

…that a squirrel could be a Spirit Animal? I always thought it had to be exotic animals like Giant Stags or White Wolves or Buffalo. But when I found this little guy on the back deck this morning – patiently waiting for as long as it took me to focus and get a picture – I Googled the possibility: .
.
“The squirrel spirit animal highlights the importance of communication and showing respect to the people around you through your words, actions, and behaviors. It encourages you to respect your differences and find a way to work harmoniously together.”
.
.
No wonder that dog in the movie kept chasing squirrels. He knew a good thing when it went zipping by. .

“Free Breathing Restored”

(That’s as line from an old antihistamine commercial, for those too young to recall…)

I do realize that it is totally shallow and materialistic to admit this, but my daily driver – the 2016 Mustang Convertible that I picked up in January –  has been in the shop all week and I have sorely missed it. The Kia Soul that the insurance company arranged for me got me where I needed to go, but

#LifeISBetterWithTheTopDown