His name was Chetbaker, or to those of us who hung in his circle, simply Chettie.
Chetbaker was a hunk of a male, muscular and powerful, sporting long, silky black fur with big old soul yellow eyes. At the height of his powers, Chettie feared nothing, was sweet as cake if he liked you and took no prisioners.
|CHETBAKER 1992 - 2011|
Years ago I visited Chetbaker when he lived in Hoboken, and made the "mistake" of falling asleep on a corner of the couch he called his, and only his. Kachunk, nearly 20 pounds of thump and I woke to see those yellow eyes staring at me with a mix of derision and wry amusement.
"I'm allowing you to stay here, you know, I could have swatted at you while you were sleeping and made mincemeat. But it's okay, I'll let you stay on my bed. Capisce?"
I sat bolt upright, rearranged myself so that I took up only two-thirds of the couch. He settled into his spot with a loud harrumph and then snored blissfully. I stayed awake the rest of the night, in a semi-fetal position.
Those of us who have been "owned" by a four-legged creature understand the sadness of such a day, when that being departs our lives with a wrenching kick to the gut, and soul.
I've been fortunate in my four-footed friendships.
First, the current feline denizens of my household, Merlin and Morgan. And in my heart is my dog Rufus, eleven pounds of champagne colored fuzz and love and brown eyes.
And there were those who lived with my human friends: Rajah, a tall, strapping greyhound, the David Niven of dogs; Bucca, the golden retriever with the soulful brown eyes who loved to play with her sister, Kerry, a Jack Russell with a gargantuan spirit. There was Heather, a sweet beauty who reminded me of Lady in Lady and the Tramp, and Damien, who enjoyed long runs on the beach as the sun brought out the red glints in his deep, dark fur. Not to mention Kitty Putters, blue eyed with cashmere white fur that she sported even though she lived in the tropics. Or Nicholas and Alexandra, two cool cats whose royal marriage lasted years, and of course, Frodo and Bouncer -- the original feline Odd Couple.
Chettie passed on with his usual dignity and was laid to rest with the jazz that was his due.
I pray that Chetbaker runs amok with the rest of this amazing pack in the Great Beyond, chasing whatever, climbing to the highest peaks and swatting at anything that gets in his way.
Amen, and pass the tuna juice.