Ghost Poke

1978 – One day I was sitting in the rec center at Cordell Hull Junior High, around a table in one of the four chairs.

Three of my friends were sitting in the others. One friend found a hole in the naugahyde and put his finger in. “Hahahahaha,” he said as he jammed his finger in and out of the hole. We all laughed too. Then he made one big hard jam into the hole with his finger.

The girl sitting across from him jolted almost out of the seat, like she was slipping off the naugahyde.

We all started laughing hysterically at this physical comedy that just unfolded in front of us. She laughed for about three seconds, then looked really creeped out – like something had poked her from inside the chair.

We all stopped laughing, looked around at each other, and never spoke of it again.

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Protecto-Kitty

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This is Mollie.

Crosseyed, overweight, goofy-looking and 100% declawed (by a previous owner), Mollie was a wise and big-hearted companion. She squawked like a Siamese cat when she meowed, moved like a loose sandwich bag full of flour, and left a trail of stiff white fur most everywhere she went. Combing her fur created an entire second Mollie.  As it was with her feet, the tail was tiny and outsized by her jumbo body.  All that didn’t matter, because Mollie had such a gentle friendly soul.

She regularly slept with David​ when he was a baby, to the point that we called her Protecto-Kitty.

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We don’t know if she had ever been a mother, because she was fixed by the time we got her.  But she handled herself like a Mom; always loving, always watching.  Mollie came home with us in the late 1990s; at the time we had three cats: Salvador, Callie, and Tony. When Mollie got in the door, she followed her nose and gently introduced herself to each one.  And when she was finished, she flumped down in the living room and cleaned herself.

Her probationary period in the house was over in five minutes.

Being completely declawed meant that she was quite ungainly when she walked.  Her feet were very little, and she seemed to be pained making any sort of extended movement.  Her added weight probably didn’t help matters, but she was caught in a Catch-22: weight making it hard to walk, and walking making it hard to lose weight.  So she walked as gently as possible, and treated all creatures when the same amount of gentility. Mollie got along with everyone.  She had no enemies.

Mollie was happy and kind.

With no claws, one would think Mollie would be quiet and stealth.  No such thing.  She would make a small grunting sound when she walked, a cute feature to us – but possibly an indicator of what it felt like for her to walk at all.

Around 2005 Mollie became weak.  She wasn’t moving much, and spent a lot of her time in one spot – purring and sleeping.  She became dehydrated, and the vet injected saline under her skin.  The saline never absorbed, and the injection spot wouldn’t heal.  When we took her back to the vet, we discovered that she was a lot older than we thought and that she probably had cancer.  There would have been no quality of life for her going forward, according to the doctor. Part of that message was comforting, knowing that Mollie would no longer be suffering.  Still, nothing prepares you for saying goodbye to a big-hearted friend like we had to that day.

I’m sure she’s watching out for us from where she is.