For the past month or so, like most Januarys, I feel like I’ve been in a cave. I haven’t been connecting with friends, making plans for dinners or beers, and I certainly haven’t been doing any writing at all. Usually I blame it on holiday overload and “people-sick”, but this year I have a much better excuse – Mrs. Brackett herself. It’s because of her brilliance at Christmas this year that I’ve been checking myself out of the world around me and either immersing myself in my new Macbook Pro (and all of the PC-to-Mac conversion fun that comes with “The Switch”) or immersing myself in Skyrim (for those not familiar, it’s a huge videogame that sucks up hours and hours of a person’s life). As if delivering me a brand new son to play with wasn’t enough! Suffice it to say, with two little ones demanding all my attention free time is at a premium like never before, and I’ve been a very selfish boy with mine lately.
It would take an event of great magnitude to pull me from my self-indulgence.
Karen and I always talked about how the cats were at such a good age. At eleven and twelve years old, they were old enough to have lost their rambunctious unpredictability as kittens, yet were still young enough to be poked and prodded and chased by toddlers who were just learning about animals and the world around them. On top of that, our two ladies were perfectly poised to teach Nyana and Fred their first lessons in life and death right when they would be in their first years at school. Unfortunately fate had other plans for our little fambly, as we lost Hollywood this week after a two week battle with a clot in her aorta.
She was the best cat I’ve ever known, as mellow as you please and very protective. Hollywood North, given as a birthday present back in 2000 from a dear friend whom I had moved out here with. Holly loved to be up high on ledges and shelves if she could get up there, and was a bigtime people watcher. She liked her heights so much she was even found a few times sleeping on the V of an open bi-fold closet door. She’s the only cat I’ve ever known that gave a human a black eye (me) (long story, maybe someday). It took her a little while to get used to all of Nyana’s beeps and hisses, but she eventually came around and became a staunch protector of Ny’s bedroom door and often would hang out in there for hours as she slept. She was just warming up to Fred when we noticed the first signs of her deterioration; she would watch over him from her perch above his spot on the couch each night.
So far, Ny seems to understand (or at least, know) that Holly won’t be living with us anymore, that she went away because she was sick, but that’s about it. Pretty good for a two-year old, and maybe it’s for the best that it stops there. I always knew I’d be a bit of a mess myself when it was time to say goodbye, so handling a grieving toddler is not really something I had a whole lot left in the tank for. But if she loved Holly even half as much as she loved that Dora puzzle we were forced to recycle, I know there are still going to be some questions to answer for her down the road.
Until then, let’s take a moment to think of our dear friend Holly. Hollywood, Hollis, Hollister, Holly-Bo-Bolly. My buddy and fuzzy companion for the last 12 years. We’re going to miss you, crazy lady. Wherever you are, I hope there’s an endless supply of catnip and salmon.