After a year in the army I decided to move off base with the man I was soon to marry. I was strolling the Seattle mall one day and noticed a little black kitten in a pet shop window. I went in and saw the most well-mannered kitten sitting on the register counter all alone. I asked the lady “what is the story with this lonely little kitten”?
How could anyone adopt everyone but him, the well behaved Vinniy ( aka Fat/Barbarini/Vanduci). I ran to the nearest ATM and got $20 dollars to buy him since my man was hesitant and broke. I drove to the nearest Arbys and got him some roast beef for his first meal. I got back to the army barracks and my job as a supply specialist, only to hear of complaints from the other girls next door that a little cat kept meowing all day long. I got an apartment off base with Matt just to keep my cat, it was so much fun coming home to Vinny every day. We took baths together and spent our mornings on the toilet together, he was the light of my life.
Eventually, Matt and I got discharged from the army and decided to head to the Hamptons for the summer to save up some money for our move to Florida. The Hamptons is “the” place to work the summer and make enough money that anyone could live off of for a while. I had to get another cat to keep Vinny company so I went to the local ARF and found a little calico kitten frightened in the corner of a cage.
Ripple ended up being my everything, she was my baby (aka Wossy/Woos) and Vinny’s girlfriend for the next 14 years of my life. These two cats were a witness to every aspect of my life and when I lost them both in the same year, I was devastated. Now I dream about them on a weekly basis and have immortalized them in photos and paintings I made in their honor. Life has not been the same and I did try to adopt a little kitten to fill my void but it didn’t turn out as planned.
Recently, at work I have found refuge in a cat that is the mirror image to the deceased old family member, Joey. It is remarkable how two living things can look exactly the same. I asked the camp maintenance man about the fuzzy black cat and I was told that he lives under the school house, which is one of our many buildings on the property. I found a cat cage someone donated for our yearly benefit event and set it up in a shady spot along with a bowl of water and dry food. I started buying cat food to feed the few strays around my house and in town. Who knew behind the Chinese take-out on Newtown Lane in East Hampton there is a man-made wooden box that houses a family of strays. I heard behind King Kullen in Bridgehampton there are a lot of these boxes lined up in the field of the back parking lot, which was an old drive-in movies location now turned cat sanctuary.
So anyway, I honor my cats memories by offerings, that is a tradition in my family. My new friend under the school house is a little ghost from the past and I call him my cat. He may even belong to a house down Barkers Island Road but I like to think he’s there to make me feel at home. He greets me, follows me and makes me feel happy. THE END
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