I’m reading a letter written by eight-year-old Bentley, from South Carolina. The letter is written with superb penmanship:
“My mom said to ask you if I can have a cat,” says Bentley. “...I’m nice to animals and they all like me… And my mom says they are work and please tell my mom I can have a cat!”
Bentley, thank you for the letter. We had a cat once. Her name was Rascal Lovebug Sassy Martin Dietrich. She had white and gray fur, green eyes, and the disposition of a cynical rattlesnake.
Long ago, my wife found her as a kitten on the side of the road. The thing was small enough to fit in someone’s palm.
Rascal took a long time to warm up to humans. In fact, she used to hide beneath our bed during the daylight hours like any normal, domestic vampire.
She'd hiss at those walking by and attempt to draw blood from anything entering her line of vision.
Finally, she'd traipse out of the bedroom around suppertime. Then, she'd sit on our dining
table and stare at our dinner plates.
I would feel sorry for her. So, I'd offer her food. She'd thumb her nose at it, prance into the bedroom, and relieve herself on my pillow.
So we can see cats are unpredictable. In fact, for a long time, I wondered whether Rascal liked me. I know she did.
She was not a bad cat. She was merely a unique creature.
Eventually, Rascal became my friend. She’d even watch football games with me. She’d sit on the sofa. When I’d scream at the TV, she’d whip her tail along with my hollering.
And, each morning when I'd write at my desk, she’d sleep on my lap, curled tight. I came to love that.
I loved it so much, I found it hard to write without her.
Rascal lived for twenty years. That’s a long…