Saturday, October 31, 2009


Before going to St Louis to play in the St Louis Open at the oppulent new St Louis Chess Club & Scholastic Center, I stopped to visit a friend, and former Georgia chess champion, MPD, whom I'd not seen since 2002. He has several cats inside, and a few outside. One of the outside cats, gray and white, took and instant liking to me, and the feeling was mutual. She reminded me of one of the cats outside the abode of the Legendary Georgia Ironman, a cat I called 'lady'. This particular cat remeinded me of a cat I adopted while living in Hendersonville, NC, at a cottage on a mountain. The cat, called 'Shady Lady' by my landlords, was most affectionate; the kind of cat that, when one strokes her from head to tail, she immediately turns around so you will do it again!
After playing in the Ga State Championship and Tennessee Senior, I came to stay with MPD. I named the cat 'Meredith' because I had watched several episodes of Grey's Anatomy with my cousin, with whom I stayed after she suffered a stroke. Upon my return, I found Meredith pregnant...
I spent a great deal of time on the back porch reading, and was there when Meredith began to produce kittens. Like an excited child, I ran inside to inform MPD. I counted as each one entered the world, all five of them. I stayed up late that night, and got up early the next morning, to be informed that there were now SIX kittens!
Since I never married and never had any children, the experience of being with Meredith while she 'did her thing' was something special. I was with my two sisters when they delivered my three nephews, but on the outside, if you know what I mean!
I kept my distance while still spending time out on the back porch, keeping the other cats, opposums and raccoons away. It was not long before Meredith came over to me, and began going over to the other side to eat, leaving me 'in charge' of the kittens. MPD simply could not believe it...
Meredith would get up on my lap, or, especially after eating, hop up on the table next to me and cat-nap. Although an outdoor cat, she had the disposition of an indoor cat, being gentle and sweet. Some of the kittens took to me, especially a black and white one I called 'chess'. MPD called it 'Skunk' because it looked like a skunk, and it stuck. The three gray & white ones were somewhat indifferent, but the white one with brown splotches with black streaks I call 'BB', and the totally black cat I called 'Little Blackie', because that's what the Ironman called his black cat, where more feral. The Ironman's lady friend, Miss Pat, is an animal lover, and had informed me that most outdoor cats would not take to a human, although a few would, for some unknown reason. MPD said the same thing, telling me not all of the kittens would warm up to me... It took a long time before BB would approach me, and even longer before little blackie warmed up to me, but eventually, they all did, I'm proud to report!
I got a gig at the Kentucky state fair and had to stand all day. I was bone tired upon arriving home, but always looked forward to going outside and spending time with my 'family'.
When the kittens were ready, a lady came from Alley Cats to take Meredith and the father, Daddy-O, to be fixed. I spent much time with the kittens during the time Meredith was away...Some time after, she returned to take all the kittens to be fixed. It was my job to round-up the kittens. The first one was not difficult, lulling me into a sense of false security. The second cat, Skunk, I took through the house to the cage awaiting on the front porch turned on me, scratching me, bringing blood, before running back to the back porch. The lady from alley cats told me I needed to grab them by the scruff of the neck, which I did, having no problems with all of them. Until, that is, I nabbed Little Blackie. I could not get a good grip on him, and, as I put my left hand up to stabilize him, he turned with a look of fear, hissing, as he lashed out, ripping the flesh from my left index finger, causing blood to spurt. As if that weren't enough, he then sank his teeth into my right hand, causing much pain. Somehow I managed to not let go, and managed to get a grip on the little black devil, and put him into the cage. My hands were not completely healed by the time they were returned, and it took a full week for them to heal...I told MPD I wished to change the name from Little Blackie to Ninja Assassin, but he preferred 'Black the Ripper'!
Upon their return, all warmed up to me, especially Skunk, and BB, but not The Ripper. I noticed Meredith was acting different upon their return, but MPD told me it was natural; that mother cats want their young to be independent. Meredith took to staying on the front porch, in lieu of the back porch with the 'family'.
This morning, MPD mentioned that he had not seen Meredith that morning when he fed the family, asking me when I saw her last. I told him I had seen her on the front porch yesterday afternoon as I was leaving, recalling that I had bent down to pat her on the head as I left. I took MPD to the grocery store and Feeders Supply, for cat food. After returning, our next door neighbor came to the door, asking MPD to come outside. He came back in, calling for me. He told me CJ had seen a dead cat on the other side of the street and thought it may have been one of ours. We live on a curve, and the cars come around at too high a rate of speed. MPD could not go, so I walked over, finding the lifeless body, twisted and mangled, of my precious Meredith.
MPD gave me a trash bag, into which I had to lift and put the body, which I then took into the back yard. I used a shovel in the dismal, overcast, gray chill, to break the soft ground, where I buried the carcass, tears streaming down my face, trying the best I could to hold back the sobs. Watching me, MPD was overcome himself.
I've not been able to do much of anything today, this Halloween of 2009. I've welled up with tears for no reason, and am crying like a little baby as I sit here punchin' & pokin'...
The children are at the door and I hear laughter. I promised MPD I would come down and 'watch his back', but I really don't feel like it. My heart is not into it because it is broken. Oh, how I miss my cat!

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