Exactly one month before my husband and I got married, which by the way was 21 years ago today, I called Mr. W and asked, "Can you pick me up from work, today? I have something to show you." I did indeed have something to show him - the person with whom I would soon be sharing a life and home, the person with whom I needed to be most honest, the person who I knew didn't like inside cats and was a tad bit allergic.
When he arrived, I took him through the waiting room of the animal hospital in which I worked, through the exam rooms, past the surgery, and into the hospital. I opened the door to a cage, picked up a tiny kitten, put it on his chest at which point the kitten attached himself, then said, "Dr. S is going to kill this kitten if I don't take it home today." He took the kitten home.
The kitten apparently mewled loudly once the lights were turned off for the evening until it found its way into the bedroom and climbed into bed with Mr. W, who doesn't like inside cats and is somewhat allergic. After finding a comfortable place on his pillow the kitten fell asleep for a few hours, after which time he got sick with an upset stomach in the bed of the man who doesn't particularly like cats.
After a tenuous beginning, Gridley, named for the circular stripes on his sides that made him look as if he had just jumped from the barbecue, quickly scratched out a place in our lives. He slept in our bed, entertained our friends with card tricks, and amused us with his peculiar ways. He was patient when the children picked him up by the head. He was patient when we were late with the victuals. He was patient when life made his position in the home sink to levels to which he was unaccustomed. He was patient when his litter box was a little dirtier than he liked. He was patient when someone was sitting in his favorite sun spot.
A few years ago, Gridley died of complications of old age, but every anniversary I think of him and also think about how lucky I was to find a man who is patient in a lot of the ways Gridley was.