10 February 2009
What About Love? Some/thing Old
I am joining the Blog Carnival, hosted by The Other Mother, celebrating Freedom to Marry Week and the old wedding traditions: old, new, borrowed, blue.
Two of the oldest things I have are two of my most cherished: my cat Mookie and Mr. Bear.
Mr. Bear came into my Life when I was in kindergarten. I was a brief Navy brat, traveling base to base from ages 2 - 6, when in the middle of my first year of school my mother, sister and I moved back to upstate NY and in with my paternal grandparents and uncle while my father finished his tour.
It was a hard adjustment - new state, new home, new school, new friends. I was sharing a small room with my sister, and a bathroom with five other people. Although, the bathroom was also my parents' room, so they shared even more.
During this time I discovered an old small storage ottoman in the living room, filled with various toys that survived two boys using them: lots of green army men, cars, and an old stuffed bear. No eyes, no real fur and fully jointed, he became my best friend. I have taken him everywhere with me, and he still sits in my window now.
Mookie came into my Life when I moved off campus for my senior year in 1992. I had always wanted a cat of my own. I had parakeets and a hamster, but as you get older they don't seem as real. They cannot cuddle with you on the bed, wind around your ankles or trade on the mutual love and affection that a cat would.
As you see, I was living in my own fantasy world about having a cat.
So, before heading back to college I went to the local shelter. I knew exactly what I wanted: a small, female cat, preferably a kitten, but maybe a few months old. I wanted a black cat, or maybe a calico. I wandered through the kittens area, which they had a few, and then down to the lower levels where some of the others were kept.
There, in the midst of short haired stripes and solid browns, sat a large two-year old male cat with long grey fur and huge golden eyes. The shelter employee took a look and said, "Oh, you don't want him. He bites. He's been pretty unfriendly to the people here."
We stared at each other: me judging everything I had desired to this point, and the words given to me - I opened the cage and took him in my arms.. He judged everything he'd been through the last six months at the shelter - and began to purr.
I told him on the ride home I was changing his name. Cause Mookie was very silly, I didn't know how his previous owner came up with Mookie anyway and I didn't really like the name Mookie. And he talked back every time I said his name. I gave up that notion by the end of the drive home.
So, needless to say, this has been the dynamic in our sixteen-year relationship. I talk, he does whatever he wants. It has gotten us through moves cross-country, marriage and divorce, addition of another cat and two kids to the family. He deigns to give us all affection, and knows he deserves it in return. I expect him to outlive us all.