Topic: "The Italian Stallion"
There is something about new construction that attracts Frodo. It was a spring day, 21 years ago, when Frodo and his faithful canine companions, Prissy and Gumbo, went walking through a subdivision being built near the Shire. While watching workmen install a roof, we saw out of the corners of our collective eye a kitten rise over a dirt mound in stalk of we interlopers. While Prissy and Gumbo alerted the world to the threat, Frodo alerted the workmen to the precarious position of their cat. "He ain't ours Mister, he's been hanging around here for days, and we been feedin' him french fries." It should here be noted that Sam was out of town on business.
Prissy was clearly offended that Frodo would be carrying this mortal enemy and interrupting her walk. She liked it even less that Frodo then dared bring this creature into her house. Gumbo, on the other hand, thought this was kind of cool, at least, she must have thought, "I am no longer the smallest and the weakest."
The next morning, before Frodo traveled to Mount Doom, he constructed a makeshift litter box, au natural from the garden, and placed it and the kitten in a bathroom, with the door shut. Knowing that Sam would return before he would, he taped a message, "Open Door Slowly," on the door as he left for his daily tasks.
Frodo expected the telephone call. After explaining what exactly in the hell this was, he noted that Gumbo seemed to like the kitten. "I know," said Sam,"they are taking turns chasing each other from one end of the house to the other." After the long discourse about never having a cat, and not knowing how to take care of one, there was silence on the telephone. And so Rocky came to be a member of the pack and a resident of the Shire.
How strange that over the years, Rocky and Prissy became so close. The grief that struck him upon her death was both visible and moving. So very strange.
Now, more than two decades later, after outliving three dogs, one other cat, a cockatiel, and about $50 worth of freshwater fish, time is taking its' toll. A couple of months ago, Frodo spent two nights with Rocky when he drifted into an apparent lethargic end. Miraculously, Rocky raised himself off the canvas, and deemed the need to once again tangle with Apollo Creed.
Frodo and Sam must now travel to the far end of the Shire. Mick, Fiona, and Georgia are at Camp Kennel, where they salute the flag every morning, drink "bug juice," and add to Frodo's indebtedness. Sydney, the cockatiel and Rocky will be visited by "Miss Ellyn," every day. This time, "Miss Ellyn" has special instructions about what to do if the time comes and Frodo is not there. It would give Frodo great pain not to be in the eye of his friend when the light goes out.
One evening not long ago, Rocky crawled up onto Sam's lap, and that long and distinctive purr was heard around the Shire. Sam picked him up, and Sam looked into those magical eyes, and began to sing, "I wouldn't have missed it for the World. . ."
So very strange.