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Home on a Saturday Night

Yes, it sounds like a Sam Cooke song.

I don't mind that it does because Sam Cooke has been one of my idols since I realized who he was.

"Here it is another Saturday Night
and I aint got nobody.
I got some money cause I just got paid.
Oh how I wish I had someone to talk to,
I'm in an awful way."

One of the ways that I have felt companionship through many lonely nights in my past has been by the wonderful and, dare I say, blessed company of a four legged friend. I often speak about genealogy, biological and historical, and most always I am referring to the human kind. How many of us, however, remember dearly the family members we have cherished in our lives who could not sing us happy birthday, drive us to the store, lend us money to pay a bill, but helped us endure ever so sincerely, when ever these occasions arose?

I remember my first dog was named Peanut Sally Haley. I was 5. She lived until I was 19 years old when she suddenly fell ill with stomach cancer and passed away within a week. I still treasure the calendar we had made the last year of her life with her picture posted above the months. We swore that Peanut smiled when our family would return from a vacation to pick her up from the vet or even when we would walk through the door from a 30 minute trip to the store. She would wag her tail frantically, pee, and crack the widest canine grin you could imagine. We couldn't have loved her more.

Since that time my family and I on my own have adopted and shared our lives with Chestnut, Star, Tiger Lily, Ticket Cabaret, WC, Penney, Capezio Jazz, DJ and Alice Destinee. I bring this up because today I read the tragic story of an actor who committed suicide after the loss of a beloved four year old pet he had to have euthanized after being unable to find him a home-his apartment building having banned pit bulls from residing in their units. There were likely other events in his life that added to the fatal depression he could not avoid, but the article expressed a sense by those closest to him that this was a loss too deep to overcome.

Ticket Cabaret

Perhaps it was fate then that made me search random piles of papers and retrieve an old 4x6 notepad on which I had written a poem about the first friend I ever adopted as an independent adult, Ticket Cabaret, who lived from 1985 to 2005. I wrote this poem in 1999 after coming home from the vet who had just diagnosed that Ticket's sudden depression and moments of confusion was due to the fact that she was now 14 and almost totally blind.

Provide me company
Become my reason for going on.
In the worst of times
There came always the question
"Who's going to take care of Ticket?"
So the worst of reasons, of situations,
Of fates, faded
In the small,
Coal, snow and silver
Stare of a feline baby-
A kitten, a cat,
A companion, a friend,
A littlegirl, myfamily, mydaughter
My Ticket.
Ticket Cabaret
Who drove me crazy
When she was two
Scratching and racing
From my floor mattress bed,
Bounding the pile of dirty clothes
Built high to thwart her play.
Raising her back,
Circling, stalking and attacking
My legs to keep me on my toes.
Losing her playful ways only
When I brought in other cats
To fill her lonely days
Activate her inactive nights,
Not understanding
She only wanted me
Only me
Whenever I might appear.
"Meow meooooooooooooow"
(Only you, Daddy,
I only want you. I
Don't want these
Other cats. I only want
You to see me, only me.
I only want to see you."
And now, after 14
Hectic, multi-traveled,
Loving years
Where she was my one,
My nearest, dearest constant,
She can not see me.
She can not see other cats.
She can not see.
And it's eating me alive
Because I cannot see
How my beloved companion,
My friend, my littlegirl,
Yes, my 98 year old baby baby
Can be fated to suffer so...
Can lose those
Beautiful, bold brown eyes
To obscene round globes of
Hollow sea green
Waters so thick
They prevent the brain
Of my littlegirl
From seeing through.
I know behind those spheres
She still sees me
Because she purrs
At my touch and lifts her head
At my footfall.
I know she sees me
When I say her name
When I pucker and smack my lips
And she bobs her nose
And we kiss-
Just like we did before
Like we always have done
Like we will forever do...
I love you
I love you
Don't leave me
Don't leave me
Daddy knows
You're looking
Daddy knows
And Daddy sees
Only you.

Ticket And Me

I dedicate this to Nick Santino and his beloved friend, Rocco. Let's all be open to remembering and cherishing our pets when we talk about our family trees and our genealogies. What would our lives be without them?

Chris Haley - 2/26/2012 12:50 AM

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