Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a poem for Garfield

You, my dear cat & friend, Garfield Blaze Heathwaite;

You, who seemed to love humans way too much to have any love left for other cats;

You, who made yrself at home on every lap that came into our house;

You, who would attack me completely unprovoked, one time biting my nose as I lay reclined on th floor, talking to a friend on th phone (I screamed into th receiver);

You, who would always land on yr feet (usually after I tossed you);

You, who once disappeared for two weeks w/o a trace, then waltzed back in a little dirty & hungry, but otherwise unfazed;

You, who as a kitten once climbed to th top of th maple tree in our backyard before learning how to climb down (a heroic stranger rescued you by climbing up there w/ a pillowcase to carry you down in);

You, who I once took as th reincarnation of my father, who died of lung cancer shortly before yr birth (I found out later that my mom had th same fantasy - no doubt it helped make our sad little home a little brighter);

You, who gave my mom good company when I would leave for college or Chicago or wherever (nowadays, she has a man around for that job, so you picked a decent time to check out);

You, who'd leave us th sweetest little treats in th most thoughtful places (like th head of a mouse in my bed);

You, who seemed to win most of th catfights you'd pick (& you'd pick a lot of them);

You, who we never would have gotten if you didn't have th right coat-color for us to name you after my then-favorite cartoon character (I've always liked redheads);

You, who somehow managed to bag a chipmunk well after we all figured you too old for hunting (I figured you worked out a deal w/ an equally geriatric chipmunk who wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, no pun on yr middle name intended);

You, who never meowed much, but would coo like a pigeon instead, or simply lip-sync a silent meow when you wanted us to feed you;

You, who, like my grandfather, couldn't see me very well at th end, but seemed to enjoy my company anyway;

You, who lived a good 18 years, but not quite long enough to vote for Obama (but come to think of it - you thought you ruled th world & you liked to pick on creatures too small to defend themselves - so perhaps you would have voted Republican!);

You, who got away w/ everything & never learned not to do a single thing we tried to teach you not to do;

You I will remember.

Garfield passed away two days ago. He weighed a mere six pounds, half his weight a few years ago. He couldn't get nourishment from food anymore, as it would go right thru him. He couldn't see very well, had trouble moving around & let his hair get all matted. His time had come. My mom stayed w/ him when they put him to sleep - first a sedative to relax him, then th poison. She said it happened very fast. I feel like I've said my goodbyes to him several times; every time I would leave town, I figured I might not see him again. Now I won't for sure. I've had him around for well over half my life so far. I'll surely miss him.

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