“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
At night after we’re done reading, I’ve been telling my kids stories from my life. It feels like a lot of work sometimes after a long day, but it also has this strange power of connecting past to present.
Some of their favorite stories are about Simon the bad cat. He was a cat that a neighbor left with me when she moved to Hawaii. Before he was my cat, he’d wait outside my house in the morning for me to take my 150 pound mastiff for a walk, jump out of the bushes, playfully smack my dog on the rump and then walk with us for 12 blocks.
Suffice it to say, he was a character perfectly made for bedtime stories. He got into all sorts of trouble – he’d break into other people’s houses, get stuck, and he fought with other cats. One time he must have ended up with a tooth or a claw stuck in the area between his shoulder blades because it abscessed and the vet had to do surgery to drain it. Simon died on the operating table and they had to do kitty CPR on him. It worked and he sprang back to his adventurous life.
There was one neighbor, Steve, who particularly hated Simon. One day when Steve was showing the new tenants of the duplex he lived in the shared basement laundry room space, he was telling them something like, “Whatever you do, close the door because there’s this terrible cat that comes in here if you don’t.” The new tenants asked what the cat looked like and as Steve described Simon, they pointed to the shelf behind Steve’s shoulder, “Oh, you mean that cat right there?” Simon had snuck in to listen to Steve’s whole speech.
When Steve worked on bicycles in his front yard, Simon would memorize where everything was laid out. And if Steve moved something or added a part, Simon would pee on it. It drove Steve crazy – but also fascinated him that the cat was that smart…and that bad.
Surprisingly, given all his dangerous antics, Simon lived to a ripe old age of 19 year old and died right after Miss O turned 3 years old. When we got the new cat, we just added an “e” to Simon so that Simone could share his Xmas stocking (always filled with coal of course). The quote for this post is a little tongue-in-cheek but I admit I felt a little relief when Simon went to Cat Heaven that I wouldn’t have to be apologizing for his antics any more.
Steve, the neighbor that hated Simon, has also moved on. He no longer lives on our block but must be in the area because I see him from time to time.
After several nights of these Simon the bad cat stories, one morning last week the kids and I were stopped at a stop sign on our drive to school when a man rode by the front of our car on a bike. It was Steve from the Simon stories! I yelled, “That’s Steve.”
We laughed all the way to school.
If you have a moment, I have another fun story from my past, a climbing story on the Heart of the Matter blog this morning, On The Way To the Top
(featured photo is mine)