Archive for May, 2012

Poos on the Table Top

Sidewalk Art by Sparkle Girl

This column first appeared in the April 2012 issue of Forsyth Family magazine:

At our house, Rule No. 7 is “When you get up from the kitchen table, push in the chair.” This rule was established, one, to make for a more orderly kitchen, and, two, to keep Poos the cat off the kitchen table. If a chair wasn’t pushed in, the wily connoisseur of milk, cheese and bacon would jump from the floor onto the seat of the chair. From there, it was an easy stretch to the table top and its promise of gastronomic delights.

When it comes to pushing in the chair after getting up, Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins have an unblemished record. My own record is, shall we say, spotty. So, from time to time as I went about my business in the rest of the house, I would hear Doobins, upon entering the kitchen, shout, “Poos!” I knew what that meant. When I went into the kitchen, I would find a scene that varied only in the particulars. One time, Poos might have his head in Doobin’s milk glass, licking that last dash in the bottom. Another time, he might be at Sparkle Girl’s plate, eating a morsel of bacon left because it was too crisp for her taste.

A simple request to do the right thing meant nothing to Poos. Unfazed by commands to get off the table, he might look up with a “surely, you jest” expression before returning to the savory task at hand. So, I would pick him up, plunk him down on the floor and slide in the chair. Sometimes, Doobins might thoughtfully point out that the culprit chair – the weak link in our defenses that enabled Poos to mount his assault – was the very one that I sat in while drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper.

Garnet got Poos – Poos Maloos was his full name – before Sparkle Girl and Doobins came into the world. So, for them, he had always been there. When I came along, Poos was in the prime of life. When I was fixing his breakfast, he might glide around my feet in his excitement. But I never I had to worry about stepping on him because I knew he would slip away before my foot touched the floor. At night, he liked to go out into the darkness and bring back presents that he would lay on the front porch for us to admire in the morning light.

Time, as is its custom, extracted daily tolls from Poos, and, in recent days, he had become less nimble. More than once, I accidentally stepped on a tail I didn’t realize was there when fixing his food. And he became less interested in adventuring and took to devoting more of his time to stretching out in the spot of sun on the back of the couch. Eventually, strident health problems arose, and the day came when it was time to take Poos to the vet’s office for the final time.

Since Poos has been gone, holes have opened up in the house. One is on the back of the couch. Another is under the spigot in the bathtub where he liked to get a drip-by-drip drink of water. I think about him when I come home at night and open the door. From habit, I still open it just a crack at first to make sure he’s not on the other side, ready to shoot out into the night. And then I remember. With Poos’ loss, even the maddening things he once did now seem endearing. As Doobins said, “I miss yelling at Poos for getting on the table.”