Friday, June 24, 2005

June 24

When I was in Grade 8 on June 24th our cat December had five kittens. These kittens weren't very healthy, and when my mom took us kids to visit my Gramma for two weeks that July, she told my dad to "take care of the kittens," which had negative connotations.

We were delighted upon our return to find there were still two kittens left (well, I think just me and my siblings were delighted, my mother would probably use another word to describe her feelings). We named the male Gizmo and the female Sooty. Gizmo was black and white, while Sooty was greys and browns with an orange patch over her eye. They booth had cloudy eyes due to the infections they had had in early kittenhood, Sootie more so than Gizmo, but they both didn't seem to notice.

It didn't take long, much to my mother's chagrin, for the kittens to become inside cats rather than outside cats. Gizmo and Sootie had a great fondness for each other, and spent most of their time together. Sootie adopted a Lego plastic evergreen tree as her favourite toy and carried it everywhere, most often up and down the stairs. Gizmo, on the other hand, found a hairspray bottle top (you know, the sqeezy thing that goes on top that has the straw thingy on it), and would carry this around up and down the stairs and under the couch and chew on it and bat it under the china cupboard and then stare under there until someone fished it out for him.

Sootie unfortunately passed on at the young age of ten months. Gizmo missed her, but later adopted his younger sister Blackberry as his replacement buddy.

Gizmo somehow decided that the best place to get a drink was from the bathroom sink, and would jump up on the counter and wait for someone to come and fill it for him. Some days, we would find him curled up in the sink sleeping, after waiting too long for someone to appear. And, just in case you were wondering, he didn't react too well to being woken up by water cascading down on him! :)

My mom always called Gizmo "Fathead" and told him he was too fat pretty much every day. I used to always carry him with his front paws on my right shoulder and take him over to my mom to say goodnight, and he would pretty much always attempt to wallop her. I always told her this was because she called him fat. She always thought it was because his one eye wiggled all the time trying to get in focus so he wanted her to stop wiggling. Whatever the reason, it was hilarious.

My mom is a fanatical tea drinker. And whenever the kettle boiled, Gizmo would run over to the fridge, because he knew that when the kettle boiled the fridge would open. My mom would open the fridge to get the cream out, and Gizmo would put his front paws up on the first shelf and sniff around in the fridge, and every time my mom would kick him slightly and say "Get out Fathead" and he would say "Aaack!" and run off.

Secretly, Gizmo and my mother had a great fondness for each other. When Gizmo was about 4 or 5, my mom and dad left for several days to go to a family funeral and my younger siblings and the pets and various animals were left alone. For some reason during one of the latter days of this time, my younger sister put my mom's slippers on and went downstairs. When she came upstairs, Gizmo came running out of nowhere, because he assume the distinct slipper shuffle up the stairs meant Mom was finally home. He was extremely disappointed when my sister came around the top of the stairs!

The first two summers my parents lived in Alberta I spent with them, between being at college during the school year. I used to always take Gizmo and our other cats to the pond down the road every day. Usually on the way back he would end up dawdling and lounging in the grass and I'd have to carry the big galoot home.

Unfortunately, Gizmo disappeared that last summer I was home. But, usually when my family is all together, somehow we end up telling Gizmo stories. He's one of those funny little pets whose personality lives on and whose memory will last at least as long as mine does.

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