It was just another writing assignment until Sister Rosaleen Dickes – who hosted an 80th birthday luncheon for Phyllis at Sacred Heart Monastery – regaled us with stories about Lenny and Garfield, a loveable pair of felines who �own� the nursing home where she works.
Lenny is a l-o-o-n-n-g gray cat, and Garfield is a dead-ringer for the comic strip Garfield. They know who likes them and who doesn�t, and they only visit rooms where they are welcome.
Sister says she is one of those whom the cats dislike because she throws them out of the chapel during Mass. (And then she does a fine impression of Garfield hissing at her!)
But she captivated all of us with the serious talk of how the cats know when death comes to a resident of the home.
On one occasion the cats came noiselessly into a room where a lady lay dying. They sat quietly by the wall as though they were in deep mourning.
When the lady died, they padded out of the room as unobstrusively as they�d come. It was a show of affection for one who liked them!
Sister said the family would never forget them � and neither would we who heard about Lenny and Garfield�s devotion.
There are many other cat stories I could tell: like Misty, the vagabond mouser who came and went in and out of our farm lives.
And our neighbor�s black-and-white tabby named Kidley. They rescued the poor starving kitten after it was thrown into a ditch by someone who had no compassion for cats. Now Kidley has found a nice home and is well groomed, nothing like he was when they retrieved him.
Or there was daughter Jan�s kitten, which came running up to her on a Sunday after I had given up hope for finding one for her on her birthday.
Me? I�m ho hum about cats; I can take them or leave them alone. I agree with Mary Bly who says:
�Dogs come when they are called. Cats take a message and say I�ll get back to you ��if I feel like it!�
Phyllis wonders why her Baxter and Bailey don�t sit on my lap. They know instinctively that I don�t care for them one way or another, so they avoid me every chance they get.
Phyllis tells me to call them by name and they�ll like me. But I prefer to keep them at a distance. I don�t want friends that tell me �I�ll get back to you ��if I feel like it.�
Maybe I�m a little like Sister Rosaleen, who wouldn�t let Lenny and Garfield stay in the chapel. Only I won�t allow Baxter and Bailey to work their way into my cat-free life!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz