Last night we ordered an appetizer of calamari. I got a bucket of snow crab with corn and new potatoes and Troy ordered a seafood platter (breaded scallops and shrimp, fish, french fries and cole slaw). But we split all of it amongst the three of us. Our son, who is not quite two, ate a bunch of scallops, french fries, calamari and part of one of the octopi that came with the squid appetizer. He also had a banana and some Gushers. But I'm not even kidding that he ate octopus. And squid. And scallops. I'm so proud of that boy.
I've mentioned Evie the feral cat on this blog before but never really told the story in detail. I won't even go into now because it would take forever and to tell it would be to tell about Smeagol, Gollum, Dodger, Raider, Sterling, Musetta, Jiriki, Strider and Molly, her kittens that began the chapter of our life with that cat. (Smeagol, Gollum, Dodger and Raider started off extremely nasty so they got naughty names.) To tell it would be to talk about how she earned the name Evil because when Oliver was quite tiny she stole his food and bullied him. Later, when she purred more and hissed less we changed her name to Evie. We eventually caught her and had her spayed. We fed her for a couple of years before moving to Utah. Every night we tried to tame her by moving closer to her while she ate, moving her food pile closer to our house, reaching out and petting her with a stick, and finally, petting her with our own hands. I almost cried the first time she purred while I was petting her. We evacuated her along with our own cat and dog the night of the The Great Vomiting Evacuation Excursion. That was the first time I picked her up, by the scruff, and dropped her into a cat carrier. When we moved here she and Oliver lived in our basement for the cold winter months. Unable to run away from us, she warmed up fairly quickly. Anytime that her and Ollie were piled on top of each other in his cat box, she would let us pet her without freaking out, even though there was no where for her to run. She began to play with toys or hands like any kitten would play, she just failed to retract her claws so we referred to it as mean playing. When it got warmer, we let the cats out. They were very tentative at first but slowly, Oliver began to explore. Evie was mostly content just to sit close to the house. Every afternoon she napped in the cat box and every evening she came back inside for dinner. I came back from San Diego last Thursday night and on Friday, I went down into the basement. Oliver was no where to be seen but Evie was sleeping in the cat box. I crouched down and pet her side. She looked at me slightly skeptically but didn't hiss, a surprise since she hadn't seen me in eight days. I went upstairs. That night when I called the cats, Oliver came running for his dinner. Evie never came. I left a pile of food for her in the window bay. The next morning, that cat food was still there. We haven't seen her. I don't know if she died or not. She was an extremely smart cat so I find it hard to believe that she ran in front of a car. At the same time, she was a homeless orphan for so long that I know she wouldn't just relocate leaving her handouts behind. I'd like to believe that one day she woke up a little homesick for the warmth of Southern California. I hold on to a sliver of hope that she'll follow the 15 all the way back. Stranger things have happened. But my experience and my gut feeling is that something devastating happened to that poor scavenger. And I miss her. I miss her because I loved her even though she never loved me, never fully trusted me.
I think when it comes to God, we're a lot like that fluffy gray cat with the one tooth that just would not stay inside of her mouth. He tells us to follow him. He promises that if we do he'll feed us and keep us warm and let us curl up in his lap when we're tired or in need of love. But instead, we hiss and occasionally swat at him. We hide behind an entertainment unit and bite the hand that reaches in to pull us out, the hand that is offering a life better than what can be found tangled in a bunch of cords and cables. We climb up into a chimney and refuse to come out for a day and a half simply because we're exercising our independence. But God loves us anyway. Even when we don't love him back and even when we don't trust him.
We invested a great deal of time and energy in that cat--and I vowed to tell the whole story once I could accompany it with a picture of her snuggled in my lap. I believed that one day it would happen. I am letting go of that hope--it just wouldn't be like that cat to leave for a week. And with each day that passes I become more and more convinced that that Friday afternoon back scratch was the last I will know of my Evie.