Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Molly, Picasso's Cat

In 1970 we took jobs as teachers on the island territory of Guam. Every new teacher had an assigned sponsor to help get settled in a house and find their way around. We were no exception. We also had a sponsor.

Our sponsors had a female cat who had given birth to a litter of kittens just a few weeks before our arrival. Lucky for us, huh? We agreed to take a kitten and dropped by to make our choice. Joanne picked up each kitten in one hand and held her up over her head. Most of the kittens whined and complained, all except one. This very small specimen of feline attacked Joanne’s nearest finger and began to play with it. She, we decided, was the keeper.

We took her home when she was old enough to leave her mother and named her Molly. For no real reason. However, when we got her home we noticed that she was the strangest looking thing in the shape of mortal cat. Her ears were too large for the rest of her body and she seemed to be nothing but bones and joints, loosely held together by calico fur. She looked like Picasso’s cat.

Molly feared nothing and attacked everything. She snagged her sharp little kitten claws caught in chair cushions, curtains or clothes. Shaking her loose from my shorts while trying to put them on became a morning ritual.

She moved to Agana with us when we left Sinajana. She really related to the entire three-bedroom second-story apartment. She loved it there. There was room for a cat to PLAY! She used to sit in the center of a small throw rug and attack anyone who was foolhardy enough to step on it. Our daughter, Pat, would stomp at the cat with her bare feet while the Molly assaulted her toes. Sometimes our son, Eric, would chase Molly around the house and the cat’s claws would dig up ringlets of wood as she rounded the corners full bore. Then Molly would turn on Eric and chase him around the house. At least Eric’s toenails never dug up ringlets of wood.

We spoiled her. We had pets all of our childhood days and all of our married lives. There was always a cat, a dog, a goat, a burro, someone. When we first got married and living in an el cheapo apartment in Hollywood, we trapped a mouse, Poquito. Poor thing got caught in our frying pan, filtered down through the stove and stunned himself on the wall when he missed the doorway trying to escape. But now, all of a sudden, we had only this one, small, imperious cat and she basked in our collective affection and esteem. She deserved it, of course. She knew that. She was a goddess.

But even for goddesses live is imperfect. More later on.

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