Sometimes the ideas flood my head and i'm left almost inert trying to figure out how to take all these separate threads and weave them into something coherent... some have floated around for years or months and sometimes it's just days but they are there occupying my thoughts while i scrub the bathtub or sweep the floor, shop for the affluent or elderly, at times they roll like gentle waves, the words just spilling onto the canvas in my head... sometimes.
Which brings us back to a post about a tall man and a small cat. I could be accused of reading too much philosophy but then again what does that even mean? there is a strip of four or five stores that i usually roam when i'm working and they just so happen to be along a stretch where LBK aka Syd and i spent our last day together. I pass the vet where i first took her on that morning to hear those dreaded words, "we see this mass and want to send her to the emergency/ surgery center asap." We were in the front room, the room that looks out onto the street and i can remember Syd climbing on the table, poking her head through the shade to see the outside world, a world she was never all that fond of, she liked her house, her rooms, her human, i remember her sitting on my lap as i scratched her head and told her i hoped everything was gonna be alright and how much i loved her. There are times driving by that place where i realize i'm wiping the tears out of my eyes, almost eight months later and her loss still hits me even though i try to remember the time i had with her.
There's a band called Strand of Oaks, basically the project of a guy named Tim Showalter and back in 2014 he released and record called Heal. I had heard the single on the radio and it just sorta caught me, good old rock n' roll, and so i sought out a few more tracks and read a couple of interviews about how this record came about. It stemmed from the mess that his marriage was in at the time and it resonated heavily with someone who had intimate knowledge of just that sort of situation. When he toured his band played a tiny little club on the South Side, it was one of those gorgeous August nights, a Tuesday so the South Side, usually teeming with drunken muppets every weekend, was mellow and laid back, i could even park relatively close to the club. At one point i had gone outside to get stoned, hitting the old pen and taking in the weird and wonderful architecture of the building across the street (strange angelic stone statues perched on various corners of the building) when who should come walking up but the man himself, Tim.
As he walked up i said hey and he was then stopped by a couple of people who told him they were looking forward to the show, the place he was playing maybe held 100 people, maybe 150 if you really crammed them in, a small room. When he was finished he turned and i said can i tell you something, he smiled and said sure man and so i relayed this story to him about my past, about how this album hit me so hard and how it helped me work things out in my head, basically to help heal wounds that had festered for so long and how our stories were so similar it was eerie. What happened next was a 30 minute conversation where we talked about all kinds of shit, life and how to live it in a way, philosophical musings, music, it was a brilliant conversation and he was a fucking really nice guy. As we wrapped it up and i actually apologized for taking up so much of his time he laughed and said what are you talking about? this was fucking awesome man! that was a deep and heavy conversation and i really dug it. Then i laughed gave the dude a hug and said could i get a picture? he replied Fuck Yeah!
So what does this have to do with my cat? Seems Tim is a cat/animal guy too... and while he was writing songs for his last album his beloved cat Stan passed away. He posted a picture of Stan and himself, Stan being a big old Maine Coon who reminded me of my boy Louie, the cat who passed and led me to Syd. While i've always had multiple cats every relationship is different and certain cats will favor certain people more. Louie, as i like to say, was the first cat who chose me, reaching out as i walked by his cage at the rescue center where i was actually thinking about a different cat, but Louie was persistent, when he got my attention he kept it and i looked at the BW and said, he's the one. And he was. It was after he passed that i got Syd. When Stan died Tim had posted a few things about him and stated there would be a song on his next album about his cat... there was a reason i liked this guy. And so when his record came out i grabbed myself a copy and sat back and listened, the song was called Jimi and Stan, a song about Jimi Hendrix and his cat Stan meeting up in the next world and being friends, some might call it corny but i call it cool... and while i'm not one to believe in this "heaven" thing i do understand the energy goes somewhere and why not comfort oneself thinking that maybe shit like this can happen. The chorus "Jimi and Stan in heaven/ making friends and going to shows/ in my dreams i just hope they're having a blast..." i've changed the lyrics, substituting Jimi and Stan for Sydney and Pops, and yeah it gets me every time but i fucking love singing it.
It took me some time before i could be persuaded to get another cat (though we still had three) but when i finally came around to the idea we went to the shelter and once again there was this cat that kept pawing at me. Once again there was another cat that the boyos felt was the one but then some people came in and were interested in her, a little kitten, and i explained that it would be better if two cats went home today rather than one. Besides, this black and brown tabby was telling me to get him out of there and so Fat Paco had a home. Granted he wasn't fat when he got here and it's something we're now working on but he's a lover boy who likes his humans and it seems i'm the one he likes most. Some nights when we're crashed on the couch i call a bed i'll tell him stories about Syd, yes i may be crazy but that's okay with me, i tell him how they would have been friends, how she was sweet like him, how she made me laugh and smile just like he does. He's a a vocal cat and it cracks me up when i say his name as he has a number of different responses and though i still miss my Baby Kitty i tell him how much he helps.
So now i have a new buddy, a friend just like my girl Syd, who comes trotting in when i call, who hangs out with me and purrs away when the rest of the world is pissed at me or pissing me off, when i'm being dumped on by the BW or dealing with a petulant boyo or boyos, someone who is just happy to see me and is content to lay about and do nothing, someone who may bring me a string or torn up toy mouse for me to toss so they can fetch it and bring it back. Unconditional love is a rare thing. Animals have a great capacity for just that and though some people would argue that's not true those people don't know what the fuck they're talking about. I've even seen the bastard known as the POSA change due to the love of a cat. They bring joy, they bring peace, they don't judge, they just are and though i miss the one's i've lost it was an honor to have been in their lives because they have made mine all the better for it.