My cranky orange sweetie died today. Yesterday she could jump up on a chair; this morning she could barely walk. I took her to the emergency vet and there wasn’t anything to be done except to put her to sleep.
I sang “The Golden Harp*,” and I remembered the wonderful little book (a favorite of my father’s, too), The Cat and the Coffee Drinkers, by Max Steele. It’s about a rather eccentric kindergarten in South Carolina seventy or eighty years ago. “Only the five-year-old children who were sent to the kindergarten of Miss Effie Barr had any idea what they were learning in that one-room schoolhouse, and they seldom told anyone, and certainly not grown people.” Miss Effie teaches very important practical and moral lessons, and the last lesson we hear about is — well, Miss Effie says: “‘When I dismiss you, you’re to go straight down the drive and straight home. And if they want to know why you’re home early’ — she stopped and studied the ground as though she had lost there her cameo or her words — ‘tell them the only thing Miss Effie had to teach you today was how to kill a cat.'”
*From the First Ireland Convention, 2011: