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Old Friends

by David Rorer, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA


I stopped to visit two old friends the other day
By the house where we used to live
Under the old elm tree where we used to play
You would have seen me standing there alone
But, I could see Marmalade’s little orange body, running through the grass
Tail held high, as glad to see me, as I was to see her
Podly Bear lying under a bush, regal in his grey and white
Lord of all he surveyed

I remembered Marmalade leaping into my arms to lick my face
While I hugged her and called her my pretty girl
Her fur on my face and how she would purr as I held her

The sheer delight on Podly’s face as he stalked something in the grass
How proud he was the day he actually caught a mouse
Putting his paw on my knee to show me his trophy

Pretty damn good for a cat with no front claws
Who never went outside until he was eight
I told him he was a good boy
He was too, the best

We talked; or rather I did, about losing Kitty
It was summer before last, Cancer, the vet thought
But I reckoned she was with them,
Somewhere in heaven and they already knew

I told them Tommy was doing well
He had gotten a bit pudgy and been in a fight with another cat
Who gave him a bad scratch on his ear
But he still insists on going outside every day

Told them about Inky, the black kitten, my sweetheart
Who came to live with us three years ago.
How grown up and handsome she is
With her shiny black fur and pale yellow-green eyes

Her brother Freddy lives with us now
A charcoal tiger with gold eyes a really sweet boy.
He would like to be a lap kitty, but is just a bit nervous about being picked up
Eventually he’ll come around

I told them about the new kittens, who came last spring
We named them Tiger and Lillie, but call them Trouble & More Trouble
Always looking to see if they can help
Or just to be the center of attention

I described the new house, how much larger it is
With so many rooms to play in, stairs to run up and down
Windows just at kitty height
Lots of squirrels and birds, even ducks in the back yard

At last there was no more to say
And standing there in the December sunshine
I reflected on promises made and promises kept
And memories of the little friends who had shared my life

So many memories in that small space, they crowded in
And piled up one on the other, all the way to heaven
Marmalade sunning on the old rail fence
Podly Bear pouncing on a Cicada
Kitty sitting on the old log

Tom lying on the old climber and
How thin he was the summer he came to live with us
Just a stray looking for a home
The nightly ritual of calling Tom and Marmy inside
Kitty’s funny little chortle as she ran

The promise made to each, to give the best care
And that final promise made so long ago, their last rest would be undisturbed
Now only I know where my little friends were laid to rest
The stones set over their graves have sunk beneath the grass
I couldn’t keep a tear from welling, I missed them so

I watched a squirrel run along the fence where Marmalade used to sit
Then bade my friends “Sleep well, forever”
Turned and walked away from the house where we used to live.

I stopped to visit two old friends the other day, to catch up and remember
The fun and good times we had
One should occasionally visit old friends
No matter how long it has been


We lost Marmalade Kitty in 1996, Podly Bear Cat in 1997.
Inky Bear came to live with us in 1999.
We moved in 2000 and adopted Inky’s brother Freddy Mac shortly thereafter.
Kitty Bear died in the summer of 2001
In spring of 2002 we were given two new kittens, Tiger and Lilly.
In December of 2002 I was in our old neighborhood and stopped for a while to visit with my old friends Marmalade and Podly. It was a bright sunny day, not cold at all, just the kind of day when Marmalade liked to sit on the fence in the sunshine.


Gopher Editor's note:

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