A Sad Goodbye

A.K.A. "The Fuzz"
September, 1994 - October 29th, 2006

Goodbyes are sad, but this isn't meant to be a sad post. It is meant to be a celebration of the life of a good friend.

Tucker was definitely a good friend. He was the best sort of friend a person could hope for.

He wowed the guys, wooed the girls, and whitened everything in his path.

He was many things, but graceful wasn't one of them.

He was a lover, not a fighter. Definitely a shedder, but not much of a player.

He enjoyed a good book.

He enjoyed a game of cards.

He enjoyed a roaring fire.

He enjoyed his favorite show.

He enjoyed himself.

And everyone who ever met him enjoyed him as well.

Especially me.

...but maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here.

If we're going to celebrate the life of Tucker, we should start at the beginning...

...at the beginning

...at the beginning

(insert flashback sequence here)

...aaaat thuuu beeeeginnninnnnngggg...

* * * * * * * * * * * *

One evening in the fall of 1994, an old fat cat came wandering around the home of the girl I was dating. Her father spotted the cat and felt bad for it, since that evening was expected to be the first hard freeze of the fall. In fact, the first hard freeze of the fall came a little early that year. He probably worried the old cat might not have had enough winter fur yet.

He decided to leave the garage door open a little to give the old fat cat a place to keep warm overnight.

An early dusting of snow in northwestern Pennsylvania isn't uncommon, nor is the kindness of country-folk towards animals.

The next morning, the kind man felt more naive than kind because the old fat cat was no longer fat.

Four kittens were squirming around the far corner of the garage. As soon as they were old enough to leave their mother, I inherited two of them.

I didn't want kittens, but... well... my girlfriend called, and the phone call went a little like this...

"Oh, ROB!!! They're so cuuuute! There's even a super fuzzy one!" I'm sure you're aware of the things men do for the women they love.

I'd never had my own pets before, so I had no clue what to do with them. When I went to bed that first night, I spread a blanket on the couch and plopped the kittens on it. "You sleep here. I'll see you in the morning." And with that, I went to bed, closing the door behind me.

...but there was a scrape, scrape, scrape at my bedroom door.

And then another.

...scrape scrape scrape.

"Oh come ON guys! I'm trying to sleep!"

...scrape scrape scrape.

I opened the door and reached down to scoop them up, but they slipped right by me. They hopped up onto the bed and curled up on my pillow. I had to admit, that was cute.

I crawled back into bed, laying my head down between them on the pillow. As I laid there in bed, with a cat pressed up against each side of my head, I said...

"Well, I guess we're a trio now."

The kittens started to purr.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It took a few weeks for me to finally name the kittens. I wanted to go with "Oscar And Felix" from the Odd Couple, because one of them was quirky and the other was rough around the edges. But the pretty-boy of the pair was also the grumpy one. Oscar can't be a pretty-boy!

I decided to name the skittish/quirky one Simon, and the smart but grumpy one Tucker. Simon was named after the playwright of The Odd Couple, Neil Simon. Tucker inherited his name because it rhymed with what a friend was already calling him, if you get my drift (and I'm sure you do).

* * * * * * * * * * * *

One of the first things I noticed about Tucker from early on was that he had a very distinct purr.

When I was a senior in high school, my neighbor Danny drove a beat up Chevy Citation. It was rusting out, often seen blowing blue smoke, and more often heard before it was seen. Tucker's purr always reminded me of that car.

Purrurr... gack... grrrg... grrrRRrrrk... kack... Kurrk... krrr... kkkkkrrrr...

Unlike Danny's car, Tucker let out those sounds to say that all was well. Also unlike Danny's car, Tucker never let out blue smoke, though he sure could stink up a litter-box in his day.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

When Tucker was a kitten, his fur was so thin and wispy. He looked like what would happen if a chihuahua mated with a dandelion.

I had a 45 gallon tall-tank at the time, and that little fuzzy poof of a kitten used to sit on the floor below and stare at it for hours. I'd swear that one of the fish was smart enough to get the better of Tuck. Maybe it was just coincidence, but it happened time and time again.

The fish was a gourami. It was shaped similar a discus, roughly three inches tall and bright gold in color. It would swim back and forth across the rear of the aquarium for nearly half an hour...

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
...and forth.

And Tucker would sit directly in front of the aquarium and watch. His little fuzzy head would pivot ever so slightly...

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
...and forth.

When the fish decided Tucker had had enough, it would make a pass across the front of the aquarium.

The fish would swim by.
Tucker would jump.
Tucker would hit the glass.
Tucker would hit the floor.
Tucker would scurry away in hopes that no one had seen him do something so incredibly stupid with a look on his poor kitty face that said "Ack! Foiled again!"

Savoring another victory, the fish would then take a break, but an hour or so later, the process would begin anew. And there was no stopping it.

The fish would swim.
Back and forth.

Tucker's little head would pivot.
Back and forth.

The fish would make a pass across the front of the tank. Tucker would leap, smacking the glass - and then the floor.

My neighbor thought this was hilarious. I'm sure the fish agreed.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Tucker's real calling in life was to perfect the art of lounging. Nothing made him happier.

...and with the lounging came the yawning. Good god could the fuzzy cat yawn!

I'll miss those yawns.

I'll miss my friend.

He was truly one of a kind.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *

When I die, I want my friends to sell everything I own, and throw a huge party. I figure that the liquidation of my assets should pay for everyone's first drink.

I'd rather people look back and feel glad they knew me rather than sad I'm no longer there.

I'm thankful for the years spent with my loving friend, and I'll do my best to look back with a smile. My life was made richer by having him in it.

Goodbye fuzz.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Well, Simon, I guess it's just you and me now."

"...I know, buddy. I miss him too. I miss him a lot."

::::: | Thursday, Nov 02 2006 at 12:05 PM
::::: |


Holly said:

Best goodbye ever.

::::: | November 2, 2006 2:27 PM

D. said:

I have to say, this is a beautiful tribute and I smile as I think of him and as I look at these pictures. The Cranky Fuzz will be missed by all who knew him.

::::: | November 2, 2006 2:58 PM

Jen said:

Look what you did. This post made me cry. Tucker was lucky to have such a great dad.

Rest in peace Tucker.

::::: | November 2, 2006 3:09 PM

Sharkbait said:

Ran across your blog while looking for a certain High Fidelity quote (thanks!). And I am saddened and moved by these current posts. I have been there and know how hard it is. You wrote a beautiful memory piece. I'm sure that was very cathartic. Tucker was a cutie. And obviously very loved.

::::: | November 2, 2006 4:39 PM

Mari said:

That was so... I can't describe it... Sad for the event, but happy atthe tribute... I bet, Tucker would have loved it if he could read...

::::: | November 3, 2006 12:28 AM

Gretchen said:

Rob - What an amazing tribute to your beloved little fur person. I am so sorry for your loss. It's funny how our pets little routines become a part of us without us even realizing it. When we lose a pet, we lose a part of ourselves. Hang in there and give Simon lots of extra hugs...

::::: | November 4, 2006 2:34 AM

chantel said:

I actually just hugged my cat. Now he's sitting here staring at my like I'm a lunatic. We don't like each other but I've had him for 11 years and now I've started hugging him.
Honey, I'm so sorry for your loss. If my new Moo Kitty wasn't so fat (and a girl) I might name her after Tucker.

I'm so very touched by this post.

::::: | November 4, 2006 11:20 AM

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