Friday, December 05, 2014


                                                                       [click on the title for the full post]

Today's Think Kit prompt: 


What did you say goodbye to this year? Was it a bad habit? A '94 hatchback? Or something less tangible? How did you feel the day after? The week after?
Or! What did you say hello to this year? Did it enrich your life...or detract? A new favorite possession? A tattoo? Did you decide that your life was missing something, or did you just fall into new-ness?
Share your aloha!
Back in the day I managed a coffeehouse a few blocks from my house.  We hosted about 100 singer-songwriter shows a year and most of the musicians stayed at my house. I was one of the stops on the underground railroad of touring musicians. 
It was the fall of 2002  and I had just adopted a feral kitten. The little dude was a scardy cat and the only time he left the basement was to dart up the stairs to eat. 
One evening I was getting ready for three NYC based musicians to stay at my house after their show at the coffeehouse. I was in the basement to get the air mattresses and sheets and extra towels and didn't see James anywhere. I check his food bowl and it didn't look like he'd eaten. I thought he'd escaped when the kitchen door was open. 
I hobbled outside - did I mention that I'd broken my foot the week before? - and heard meowing. I thought I saw James in the neighbors yard, separated by a chain-link fence. By the time I limped down my driveway, across the sidewalk, and up the neighbors driveway the meowing was gone. Back down the Gorden's driveway, sidewalk, and my driveway while calling James' name. Nothing. 
I traipsed through my long yard and heard meowing again. I drug my booted leg back to the depths of the yard and picked up a shivering ball of black fur. I took the kitten inside and deposited him by the food bowl and left for work.  
I stayed at a friend's house that night - mine was bursting at the seams. Felix, Jagoda, and Amy came to the coffeehouse the next morning and told me how sweet my kitten was, that he had played and snuggled with them all night. 
My James? Playful and snuggling? The kitten that had hidden in the basement for days? I was starting to feel like the cat was avoiding me. 
When I got home a cute kitten greeting me at the door, purring and following me around the house. Yay! 
I walked to the basement to do laundry and James followed me down the steps. We both spotted another black kitten sitting on the dryer. Two black kitties! 
Apparently James had been in the basement the whole time and I had scooped up another kitten. I asked around the neighborhood and second kitty didn't belong to anyone. I named him Felix Jagoda Speace after the musicians that stayed at the house. 
A neighbor wound up adopting James, I got Felix "fixed," inoculated, and chipped. He was an indoor/outdoor cat and we had a wonderful relationship. I loved having a pet in the house. It was nice to come home to something that was happy to see you and I could blame any bumps in the night on Felix. 
This year Felix went out for his usual morning stroll about the backyard and didn't return. He had wandered off for a day or two before so I didn't get especially worried when he didn't run up the driveway to meet me that evening. By the next morning I was panicked and spent a hour before work looking for him and giving flyers to the neighbors with my number and Felix's picture. 
As a week passed it became clear that Felix wasn't coming back and had probably wandered off to die. 
I miss him dearly. 

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