Last weekend I heard Kurt Vonnegut died (click here for NYTimes obit), but that isn’t what this is about. This is about Helmut.
Helmut adopted my family’s Virgina Highlands porch in 1995; he was confirmed by the vet to be about 13 years old at that time. This Sunday, on a different adopted porch (my uncle Gerald’s in Florida) he decided it was time to leave this world. So after a quarter century of rambling, fighting, sleeping, purring, hunting and eating, Helmut has gone on.
Gerald’s other cat knew to pay some respect and left a bird at his head after he died. My mother burned sage to send him on and he was laid to rest next to Critter, Messy, and Sophie under a tree near the pond. I can picture the bassets howling for him and one more animal lost. But, naturally, I’m not sad. Like Vonnegut, he outlasted hope and his life was spent doing what he did best — entertaining and ruling. I’d love to know everything that cat saw in his ramblings: the petty crimes of Atlanta streets, couples in a dogwood spring, sinister wild life of the panhandle, the habits of cows, and his removed observation of human behavior. Surely of all of those, the human behavior bored him the most.
Rest easy Helmut, you lived longer than some of the young of Virginia, you may have seen more of life than thousands dying in war and you exited with style and peace. May we all be so lucky. May all this useless violence end.