For Jack.

On Monday, my best friend died.  He was my best boy, my good sweet boy, and I miss him terribly.  No other friend, four footed or two, was as gentle, loving, or giving as he was, and everyone he met smiled just a bit more after spending time with him.  In honor of him, I offer these remembrances of his life.

I remember the first day we met.  You were the last kitten at the Alley Kat pet store at Jantzen Beach.  I watched you playing in the little display, just having a grand ole time all by yourself.  I handed over my 70 bucks to buy you.  They were out of pet carriers, so they put you in an empty cricket box, and you meowed the whole way out to the car.  Once we were in the car, I let you out because your crying was breaking my heart, it was so pathetic.  You proceeded to climb up to my left shoulder, and there is where you stayed whenever we drove anywhere, until you were too big to fit.  I wanted a unique, exotic name for you, but every time I tried to think of one, the name “Jack” would pop into my head.  “Jack?  Nah that’s too boring” I kept thinking, but no other name would come.  So Jack is what I named you.  It was the perfect name for you.

I remember you and Sam working together to raid the cat treats, which I kept in a closet 6 feet off the ground.  Now that was absolutely amazing.  I’m glad I could catch you in the act.

I remember you being a master at catching flying things.  Bugs, birds, it didn’t matter.  Your first effort, however, was a fly…and you missed.  I’m glad I got pictures of that.

I remember you hopping sideways like a little halloween cat, all bristling tail and arched back, when we would play.

I remember you climbing in between the blanket and the sheet while I was sleeping, and then pounce on my feet with your sharp little kitten claws..ouch!!

I remember you introducing me to all my neighbors, whether or not I wanted to, by inviting yourself into their houses.  I loved that about you.

I remember you patiently letting Tori pounce on your tail repeatedly while you where sleeping, and the only thing you did when you had enough is just stalk away somewhere where she wouldn’t see you.  You were the gentlest big brother I’ve ever seen.  You were gentle with all the little ones. 

I remember I could pick you up and drop you into anyone’s arms, and you’d give them a big purr, a head butt and a kiss on the nose (sometimes).  But you always had one for me. 

I remember you making the vet’s office your own, along with the hearts of everyone who worked there.

I remember you sleeping in the grass near that old barn, and all the barn swallows whose nest I caught you raiding were dive bombing your head to drive you away, and you slept right through it.

I remember the catnip play fighting you and Sam always had.  And you always won.

I remember taking you for walks around NW Portland.  With no leash.  You would just follow me whereever I went, and if you strayed behind I would just call you and you’d come running.

And lots of times you’d follow me when I didn’t want you to, like the time I was having lunch at the restaurant down the street from my house, and you nearly got hit by a car trying to cross the street when you saw me.  Everyone who was eating lunch outside at that restaurant yelled out when you stepped off the curb, it was that close.

I remember I would put a little black bowtie around your neck at parties, and you’d happily greet everyone as they came in.

I remember how you would always be there for me.  No matter what.  Ever.  You were always ready to snuggle and kiss my nose, even for 5 minutes.  Or 5 hours.  Even if you’d just finished eating.

I remember letting a 2 year old carry you around.  And you let her.  You didn’t have to.

I wish I could remember more.  I wish I could’ve taken better care of you.  I’m so sorry.  I hope you forgive me.  If anyone deserves to be in a better place now, it’s you.  You will always be in my heart.  I miss you, Jack, and I will always.

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