Eulogy for a Wonderful Friend

Ten years ago, on April 25, 2009, Wanda, our grandson, Jason (who lived with us then), and I went to a local pet store to look at fish supplies.  This store had a Humane Society adoption center and, while Wanda and I looked for what I needed, Jason looked to see what animals were available for adoption.  It wasn’t long a handsome tuxedo cat came out and he and Jason began playing with each other through the glass separating them.  The next day, when a representative from the humane society was on duty, we returned and Avery became a member of our family.

Avery Demen

Avery’s favorite spot to lay was my keyboard.  In the online, virtual world of Second Life, he became well known to friends there as he would sit on my keyboard, sending strings of random characters into chat until I chased him off.  Each time, those in-world replied, “Hello, Avery!”  Several times, his leaning against the power button of my computer caused me to be kicked out of Second Life as the machine powered off.  I’d reboot and return in-world to the questions: “Avery again?  LOL!”  Eventually, I created an avatar for him on Second Life: Avery Demen.

Second Life was not the only place he caused trouble.  While writing, if I forgot to click out of a Word document, I often would return from the kitchen or bathroom to find he had added several paragraphs or pages of text by sitting on the keyboard.  During the final editing of Making Dull the Thorns, I found five blank pages added to a chapter thanks to a rear paw on the space bar.  It resulted in my posting a humorous Foreword by Avery, which I’ll include below.

When we lost Wanda, Avery kept me sane with his antics – even those that were exasperating.  As a result, I began looking the other way when he jumped on the kitchen table so he could look out the kitchen window, or the counter as I prepared dinner, or when he used the sofa as a scratching post (it was in bad shape anyhow).  The bedroom door, once always closed to him while we slept, was left open so he could join me.  His gentle purring was a wonderful sound to fall asleep to, now that Wanda’s gentle, sleepy breathing were gone.

He wasn’t just a pet or an animal.  He was a friend, an ally, and someone who made home Home.

Last weekend, Avery took ill with a blocked urinary tract, and, Monday, June 17, I had to make the sad decision I didn’t want to make.  That evening, Avery crossed the rainbow bridge as I petted him, telling him repeatedly how much I loved him – when sobs allowed me to speak.  I brought him home yesterday, his urn sits on a shelf in front of the bedroom window where he would sit to watch the world outside.

I miss you, Avery.

– Billie


Foreword
By Avery the Cat

The book is finished.  Billie readies it for publication.  But I wish to convey the sacrifices made so zie may publish Making Dull the Thorns for your enjoyment.

Computer keyboards were meant to be laid upon, the many keys depressing comfortably fit the fat . . . umm . . . curves of my body compared to the cardboard box containing hir personal things that I chose to use as a bed after zie filled it.

It is frustrating to be removed from my comfortable throne and returned to the cardboard box so Billie can type, hir fingers transferring to it the smell of everything zie touched in the course of hir job during the day – the smell that nauseates me when zie leaves and I reclaim my royal seat!

There!  I just left a fifty-four character run-on sentence for hir editing software, Editor, to complain of!  Hah!

And as you read Making Dull the Thorns, know that a Basement Cat lies in a cardboard box of old cassette tapes and other odds-and-ends, heartbroken, knowing he will soon die from malnutrition at any moment!  Hungry because Billie hasn’t yet taken hir royalties – I unselfishly allowed to happen by letting hir have the keyboard – and bought me the finest in cat food to turn my nose up to!

Oh!  Once zie fed me Friskies – putting half the can on a plate for me to ignore!  But now zie has moved on to Fancy Feast, from which I get one third of the can!  How humiliating to go from turning my nose up at one-eighth of a cup of food to one tablespoon of fine cuisine zie spent fifty percent more of my . . . hir pay on?

I have gone from a mere pittance to a pit!

As you read Making Dull the Thorns, know that I look toward death from lack of food, well aware that Billie has been too busy writing it for your pleasure to dutifully build the massive pyramid I should have for my burial and will probably end up ashes in a box – if they have enough of me left to burn!

Hah!  Sixty character run-on sentence!  Crash, Editor, Crash!

I should add some “but then” and “and then” to this, but I tire from hunger.

Enjoy – Avery the Cat.

(Please note: “zie” and “hir” refer to Billie)
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