Image by Tony Hurst
Once our mighty warrior cat Mr. B had passed away, Ginchy became the unchallenged CIO (cat-in-charge). He was incontestably the cleverest feline who ever lived. Not that he was all brain and no brawn. He was an indoor/outdoor cat, after all, and we did live across the street from that legendary wilderness known as The Field.
The primary evidence of Ginchy’s “other life” (as an operative, no doubt, for a secret cat intelligence agency) was his mysterious disappearances. After one three-day absence, he showed up, leaning against the patio door. Mom scolded him for “worrying her sick!” then let him in, only to discover he’d brought an exotic foreign gift: a rare, matched set of mouse ears. My poor brother-in-paws was so famished that, despite his extreme exhaustion, he dragged himself into the kitchen and lay down with his head in his food dish. So Mom opened a can of catviar and plopped it near his mouth. For the rest of the day, Ginchy would repeatedly open his eyes, take a bite, and then fall back asleep again, never actually lifting his head from the dish.
By evening he was back in full indoor cat mode, playing hide-and-seek with me, cuddling with us in front of the TV (his favorite show was Top Cat). He was the very model of a modern mouser-general: a peace-maker who could talk the most volatile bruiser tom down, and a world-class adventurer who always made time for his family.
Other cats came and went, each learning the ropes from Ginchy: From the adorable but woefully short-lived Li’l Poot; to the sleek black Carmichael (named for political activist Stokely Carmichael); to the oddly lovable Streisand who, like his namesake Babs, had a long nose and close-together, nearly-crossed eyes (but sang far less prettily). “Stry” lived with us the longest after Ginchy.
But only Ginchy came of age with me.
After my father died, Mom moved in with her sister Aunt Tavia. And my cat-brother Ginchy came to live with me. I was the director of a tiny school of the arts at the time, and the venerable old cat became our mascot. In fact, I had to lock him out during dance classes because he’d try to rub against the ballerina’s legs while they were going up en pointe. But after class, he was always the center of attention.
Then he disappeared one final time, and never came back. I like to think my brother Ginchy is on a secret mission in that vast eternal field, and that I’ll see him again one day. Only this time, I’ll be the one…
Who comes home.