A Goodbye

This is very personal. We share because you’ll understand.

This past Friday, the 13th, one of our elder cats, Blackington Dancing Bear, left us. From his memorable entrance into our lives to his exit, he was one cool, wise, calming presence. He was the epitome of catdom.

Blackington Dancing Bear

Our paths first crossed fourteen years ago. Hurrying between midday dog walks, I took a quick run into the Marshall post office. In, out, back to the car. But, what was this sad dark object moving towards me in the parking lot? He plopped down. The effort was too much. An emaciated, flea bitten black kitty. First thought – “Norm’s going to kill me” (we had a lot of cats). Second thought – “Maybe he lives in the neighborhood. But, look at him”. Third thought – “I can’t leave him here”.

So, whisked him up and off to the Middleburg Animal Hospital. “Carole, we need a name for him to start a record”.
Me, frazzled and late. “Let’s just go with Blackie for right now”.

This was before the advent of the ubiquitous cell phone. A smart phone would have been even better.

Returned home early evening to a greeting from Norman. “You need to call the animal hospital – they made a mistake and left a message about some cat named ‘Blackie'”.

Oops. You’ve got some ‘xplaining to do.

Our vet friend warned me not to get too attached. He estimated him at 8 years old. His kidneys values weren’t so good and he’d led a rough and tumble life.

A couple months after Blackie adopted us, we found out that he’d been living with a family over a mile away from our home. Two miles and a busy highway away from the post office. They called him Halloween as they found him on that night one year, with two injured rear legs. They nursed him back to health. They never had him neutered and he was allowed to roam. And roam he did. He apparently had quite a territory. They didn’t seem to care. We offered for them to come visit him anytime. They never did.

Blackie quickly became Norm’s cat. He loved men and Norman, especially. The gravitational force to the nook of Norm’s arm was intense – Norm couldn’t sit down without him jumping up and cradling, like a baby. At night, he’d make his way up to the bed and lay on his chest. Even his last night on this earth.

It was not until later years that we discovered Blackie was FIV+. He never fought or bothered with the other cats.

He loved his food. A chorus of little, kind of high pitched mrrreows would accompany mealtime preparation.
“Heeere I am!”
“Don’t forget MEEEE!”
“Hurrrrrry up!”
And then the mad dash to his established eating spot.

He loved his sunbathing and had perfected his approach over the years.
Morning – find the tiniest spot as the sun rose.
Rest of the day – follow the sun throughout the house.
Cold months – establish perch in front of the wood stove.
Warm months – spend the day in the warmest spot on the sun porch. The hotter, the better.

He left us on Friday the 13th. Blackington Dancing Bear, you were one memorable cat. We buried you in what has become the Circle of Love site on our rural property. Shortly after, a black butterfly flitted by. Then a jet overhead, with two perfectly formed plumes forming behind against a flawless blue sky. Warm and gorgeous.

Just the kind of day you loved.

Goodbye, Blackington Dancing Bear. 1991 (?) – 2012. Run free, far and wide.

Blackie enjoying one of his favorite things

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