29 March 2010
Saying good-by to an old friend
A few weeks ago, Ruby passed away. He was the most awesome house cat ever. He lived with Devi Mamak and her family in my favorite place, the Blue Mountains, Australia.
I met Ruby several years ago when I began my Aussie odyssey. Already an old man, he ruled the house with a velvet paw. He held court in his basket in the living room. Everyone that walked through was drawn to "make puja", stoop down to pet him before going on to the next task. He took all of this in stride, never lording it over us. He had a special physical characteristic, a missing a canine, so that his lip would often hook on his gum as if he were sneering, Elvis style.
I especially loved mornings. Each day Anthony, Devi's husband, the "man of the house" would make porridge for all of us. During this process Ruby would take the opportunity to make his needs known. He would stretch his arms up and "Meow" for his breakfast. Anthony would fill his bowl, but ever the optimist Ruby would continue to "Meow" for another morsel. Anthony would conclude this session with, "That's it Rubes, no more." At which point Ruby would counter with an "Ack!" and finally walk away.
But perhaps the best episode was one evening when Anthony elected to take the kids, Kalon and Dea, to their Yaya's house so we three teachers could have the night to ourselves after a long workshop weekend.
Moments after they left we heard a "thump' at the back door. When we opened the door we were treated to a dead rat. Including the tail the rodent was larger than the one-canine Ruby.
It was as if he were saying, "Ladies, the man of the house may have left but I am here to protect you. Here is a rat as proof."
I have never felt so cared for and protected. I will miss my friend, Ruby. May he rest in peace and always have the warmest bed and the most breakfast treats.