Fred, Bobbie & Me

Missing Cat!

His name is Fred.

He’s all orange, weighs about 18 pounds, his right ear has multiple stiches from a recent surgery.  He lives in 8C. If you have seen him, if you have rescued or fed him, if you can be of any help in reuniting him with us, please knock on or door or phone us.

Thank you.


That was the poster I taped up in our building’s lobby and mail room at about 11:15 last night.  Fred had been missing all day, something that didn’t concern me at all.  I have  firm belief in the viability and mischievousness of cats.  Growing up with some input from the world of folk music, at times like these I remembered:
The cat came back the very next day
We thought he was a goner
But the kitty came back
‘Cause he wouldn’t stay away.

Bobbie, my beloved RN and soon to be FNP, wasn’t raised that way.  Late afternoon when I biked back from visiting friends in Brooklyn, she informed me that

1. The  UConn women had won in their first round NCAA appearance, and
2. (as mentioned above) Fred was nowhere to be seen all day.
3. She had searched the apartment more than once and, yes, no Fred.
4. We must find Fred.  He’d been operated on for an aural hematoma.  He’d wriggled free of the collar he’d been given to prevent scratching and, without Nurse Bobbie and my monitoring, might scratch the wounds open.  Furthermore, he was in need of various medicines and cleansing ear drops and let’s not forget his daily dose of heart medication.

OK, so the evening search began.  More than once every conceivable inch of our 3.5 room palace eight floors above Amsterdam Avenue was scoured.  Furniture was moved.  Things were crawled under and peered over.  Through all this Bobbie kept drilling me and my faulty memory:

* When did you  last see Fred?
Ans: I don’t remember.

* When you took in the newspapers (we get two on         Sundays) could he have gotten out?
Ans: No.
* When you emptied the litter–you did empty the litter?–could he have gone out into         the back hall?
Ans. No dammit!…Well maybe he did!

Here’s where I knew better than to argue or even get cute.  Especially since I didn’t remember the tune to “The Cat Came Back.”   And so began:

The Hunt: Phase II

•    First the back hallway.  Walk down from 8 to the ground, peering behind every bit of discarded trash, every bag of garbage, every bicycle and baby carriage.
•     Then the elevator to the penthouse and down from there another eight stories to our floor.
•    Back to the elevator, back to the penthouse and down the center staircase, stopping to inspect each floor before proceeding down the 17 steps to the next floor.
•    A talk with Americo, our doorman, who hadn’t seen Fred but would be on the lookout.  “And don’t worry,” he told me.  Other tenants had come to him with concerns about missing cats, and they–the cats, that is–always turned  up in the apartment.  I didn’t remind him of Seti, my cat before Fred, who spent a full week lost in the apartment 2 floors below me, a place so filled with possessions that if Fred hadn’t eaten their dog’s food, scared their mynah to death and pissed on a couch they never would have known he was there.
•    Anyhow back to the penthouse and the final set of sixteen flights back to earth.  No Fred.

I returned to the apartment, leg weary yet confident that by now Fred had turned up and Bobbie was past the “Thank God” phase and well into the “You scared the shit out of us!” phase.


When I made my report and started for the computer to distract myself–actually turning down a slice of freshly made lemon meringue pie–mmm, lemon melange pie–Bobbie went to the couch and began to cry.  Bobbie loves Fred in a way and to a depth I’ll never experience or understand.  No soothing was going to work, so I joined her and suggested another search of the apartment.  She agreed and we went to it, looking on top of, along side of, and under everything that could be so treated.  We moved the bed to look under it.  We crawled around the closets moving things with names we’d long forgotten.  More than once we found ourselves face-to-face with enough abandoned cat hair to build a new, if gray, Fred.  No Fred.

“Aha,” I began as if I actually had made a discovery of note.  “Aha, I’ll bet someone found him in the building and took him in.  I’ll make a posters, put them in the lobby and mail room, and before you know it he’ll be there at the door.”  She agreed, and the poster above was made and taped up.

I returned–not at all believing that someone had found him and having no doubt that he was not in the apartment and not wanting to not believe.  I began putting away the laundry she’d done earlier when I heard an “Unh!” from the living room.  Not a “Eureka!” unh, just an unh.



Yes, upon entering the living room there was my beloved and, in her arms, her beloved.

“I looked in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen,” she says, “and there he was!”

Wherever he had been, there he was.

The Happy End


Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 5:01 am  Comments (14)  

Thaw Shucks!

Let’s start off with a picture:

Thaws occur in two places, external and internal.  External, as depicted above, are caused by GOD or Nature or The Nature of Things.  However  you look at it, it is deserving of capital letters.  That edge of pond water appearing in the photo above between shore and ice is a true delight right about now.  Our winter, for the first time in quite a while, has been truly authentic.  Cold, snows, clear, crisp light and all the usual man-on-the-street reactions to it.

Internal thawing, in my particular case, has been caused by this man, Lew Brown (seen here with my beloved, Bobbie.)

You’ll notice they’re laughing.  You’ll also notice a feeling of genuine love between them.  You’ll also also notice that it must have been something he said.  You see, Lew Brown says things, and, quiet as it’s kept, if he’s saying them to you (or me, as in the case about to be related) you’d (I’d) better listen.  This time he wrote it in response to a blog entry about 3 back in which I expressed my terror at the idea of writing a book about my home-away-from-home from 1968-1985, the All State Cafe. What he wrote was this:

W.M. Tweed’s/ All State Cafe..listen my Brother now I understand.  Dig “Goldie”, it had too be happening if you hung there like any spot or universe  graced by your presents.  “It won’t be televised”.  Write the book.

The first two sentences–especially “my Brother” are here designed to soften me up.

  • “Dig,” he uses to create historical intimacy.  We do go back to 1956
  • and “Goldie,” my New York street name, which folks back home in Hartford have never used in addressing me to bring that intimacy up to date.
  • Note the “too,” a subtle form of emphasis rather like putting 3 or 4 o’s in good or half a dozen a’s in bad to stress the affirmative
  • and then the pun on presence, the kind of thing I did in the title of this piece and in several others as well.
  • Finally for those of you all old enough to remember Gil Scott-Heron, “It won’t be televised”  refers to the revolution which also, if we are to believe Mr. Scott-Heron, will not be available for viewing TIVO notwithstanding.

Is this man sly or what?

OK, so  here I am reading this and smiling and feeling loved and at ease and then


right straight out of left field without even an exclamation point (call it New England understatement):

Write the book.


OK, so I spent the entire afternoon working on the All State book.  I wrote some notes on organization and expanded my blog entry into what might serve as a first chapter.  I reread the NY Times article on the bar when it closed and another about an alcoholic clarinetist or maybe flutist who drank there.  I thought about the possibility of including some drawings like this one:

or maybe some photos like this one:

I thought about calling Steve Resnick, the owner (I still can’t say former owner) and Glenn Johnson, the All State’s eternal customer, to tell them of what I accomplished.  Then I thought about just throwing it up on the blog to tell my small corner of the world.  Instead I’ve opted for a short tequila and, in a few moments, the next episode of  The Simpsons.


Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm  Comments (5)  

Here I am playing the part of a…drunk!

Let me guess! Lower middle class…Ivy League on a scholarship…graduated–No! Dropped out…No! Went to grad school then dropped out.  Wrote poetry…picked up a marketable skill, a wife: the whole package…Dropped all that…drugs…almost joined a cult…Now you’re working your way back into things and need someone fresh and eager to share it all with.  Am I right or am I right?!!

Ever sit at a bar and wonder what you looked like?

Ya got a comment?  Leave a comment.  Yeah, go ahead, leave a damn’ comment!

Published in: on March 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Comments (4)